How Melvin the Dog Got Unstuck

Melvin the CoonhoundMeet Melvin.

He’s our rescued Coonhound mix. We’ve had him for almost a year and a half now.

Melvin is SUCH a sweetheart. In fact, we got him because he is actually able to get along with my other dog, Jasmine, who is not too fond of other dogs (to put it mildly.)

But, he came to us as a dog with “issues.” I’ll tell you about them some day. But for now I just want to tell you about a little quirk Melvin developed.

You see, we didn’t understand him at first. We had no idea how traumatized he must have been in his former situation.

On the surface, he seemed pretty easy going in the shelter. But I’m pretty sure now he was really a major PTSD case. In fact, now that I understand him better I realize that it took him nearly a year to really start¬†to relax and trust us.

Long story short, any correction to his behavior has to be done with incredible sensitivity, great love, and NO negative emotion at all. We’re talking, you can’t just not appear to be angry. You can’t even FEEL angry when you correct him. Or even just a little annoyed.

(Even when he’s chewing up your cell phone.)

But it took us a little while to figure that out. So in the meantime he developed a weird behavior in the kitchen.

You see, the kitchen was where he would get into the most mischief. We’re pretty sure he had been starved at one point, so it’s understandable, but annoying.

So, he’d get on the counter and someone would yell at him to get off.

And then escort him out the door.

Melvin REALLY doesn’t like to be excluded. (He’s a real love hound.) After a while, he’d start to hide in the corner whenever it was time to leave the kitchen – whether anyone was annoyed with him or not. So there he would be, cowering in his corner, and not even the juiciest treat could entice him out.

In his mind, he was STUCK! No way out. (Even though the way was not only clear, he was receiving all the encouragement most any dog could ask for!)

I did eventually figure out what worked. Put a leash on him, and he’d walk away without a fuss. I guess having the leash on made him feel secure, so he could trust that things would work out OK.

We know now that we need to radiate love to him 100% of the time, so don’t worry – Melvin is doing fine! (He still gets stuck in the corner once in a while, but it’s not too hard to get him out now. All you have to do is open your arms and invite him in for a hug. Singing a lullaby doesn’t hurt, either.)

But it struck me that we all do this to ourselves.

We get into these ways of thinking where we back ourselves into a corner.

We think we are stuck. No way out.

But in reality, the way is open. We just have to trust, and get out of our own way. Or more precisely, knock out the fear that is keeping us in the corner.

Keeping us from taking the actions we need to take in order to set ourselves free.

How?

First, you have to find the fear. You don’t necessarily even have to know what caused it, but you do have to figure out where it’s hiding out. Specifically, which chakras – energy centers in the body – are most affected by it.

I have found that Spirit Animals have an uncanny knack for tracking down fears and negative energies in the chakras- just like Melvin instinctively tracks anything that has ever crossed his path.

Just for fun, I’ve decided to open up my schedule and offer a few free Spirit Animal chakra readings next week to anyone who hasn’t yet had a free reading from me. If you’ve been feeling stuck in a corner lately and don’t know why, I encourage you to book a time here: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=11463586&appointmentType=705316

I don’t know how long I’m going to keep this open, so if you are interested be sure to sign up right away! ūüôā

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

What does it mean to dream of a rabid dog?

rabid dogSomeone asked me recently: “I woke up this morning (in a dream) to a rabid dog at my door. I was able to shut the door and keep him out but it was terrifying. Any hits?”

Here is what I told her:

Dog is a real heart animal. Think unconditional love, loyalty, and selfless service. They are also protectors and guardians. They are incredibly intuitive, able to read their people effortlessly. And, they are terrific communicators. In addition to nuanced body language, they have a whole range of vocal communication.

From the rabies I’m picking up fear more so than aggression. Rabies is also called hydrophobia. Fear of water. Water = deep unconscious. It could be that something in you is afraid of your power. Or that there’s been a betrayal of some sort. Or fear of being out of control in some way.

You’re trying to let yourself out and expand your territory and this fear is keeping you in.

Focusing on it will call its attention to you and enrage it more. Stop trying. Avert your eyes. Be aware of it but don’t engage it or send it energy. I’m getting to go be quiet and meditate or go into yourself more. Focus on the positive things in you and in others. As you center into yourself the dog will eventually either go away or, more likely, transform into the positive version of itself, at which point it will be a powerful ally and guardian for you.

Do you have a question about a Totem Animal or other spirit guide in your life? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

The Importance of Dogs

Girl hugging dog

You might be wondering if your pet can be a spirit guide. And is Fido really interested in helping you along on your spiritual journey Рor does he just want a bite of your sandwich?

The answer is yes, and yes! (Well, OK, and yes to the sandwich bit, too. Dogs are such positive, optimistic souls!)

Seriously, though,¬†why grudge our dogs the occasional stolen hot dog when you consider what they do for us (when they’re not barfing on the rug)?

According to Brian Hare, author of the bestselling book The Genius of Dogs, archaeological evidence strongly suggests that we didn’t really domesticate dogs. Rather, they seem to have domesticated themselves.

They Chose Us. Jasmine dog laughing

Yes, the aroma of roasting meat around a campfire doubtless helped. But I think there is more to why dogs have chosen to cast their lot in with us than food alone. Here are just a few of the ways I have observed dogs helping people on the spiritual level:

  • Dogs are¬†our spiritual guardians.¬†A protective dog will put itself between its person and danger. They do this on the spirit level, too. Research shows that people who keep dogs are far less likely to fall prey to depression. I have also witnessed dogs absorbing negative, stressful energy in a household into their own bodies in order to protect the children.
  • Dogs teach us unconditional love. ¬†Your dog doesn’t care what you look like or how much money you have in the bank. It loves you because it loves you. It will probably also love you even if you abuse it. This can be heartbreaking, and hopefully there will come a day when animal abuse is a thing of the past, but it is a testament to the incredible heart that Dog as a spirit guide possesses.

 

  • Melvin dog funny noseDogs guide us along our spiritual paths.¬†Every dog I’ve ever had has managed to help me on my way and teach me a spiritual lesson. My first two dogs helped me raise my kids. (The picture up top is my daughter with Pavlov, a rascally little fellow with the biggest heart I’ve ever met. He still visits me in dreams.) My Jasmine (the black Lab mix pictured up there on the¬†right) came along at a time when I was ready to open up spiritually. She had been abused and can’t stand even the slightest negative energy. She¬†is teaching me to center myself and not let the negative stuff throw me off course. And our newest boy, Melvin (left) – he’s trying to teach me to chill out and have more fun. ūüôā

What spirit lessons have your dogs taught you? Please share below!

 

 Tomorrow: Earthworms!

 

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

Gunner and Russ (child/dog portrait)

Just finished this child/pet double portrait commissioned by a lovely lady in Marquette MI. The little boy, Gunner, is her first grandchild, who loves the family dog, Russ, very much. (And the feeling is obviously mutual!)

But what I loved was Gunner’s grandmother’s comment when I first emailed her the finished painting: “Oh my, the portrait of those two is just how we should spend our days…¬† ”

Gunner & Russ child/dog portrait(“Have you hugged your child/dog/lover/friend today?” may sound like a trite bumper sticker saying. But I’m going to ask it of you anyway. If you haven’t, here’s your homework for the day: go give someone a hug!)

I actually had the presence of mind to shoot in-progress photos of this one.

Here is the underdrawing, based on a sketch made from the reference photo. In the original photo Russ (the dog) was chewing a bone, and it didn’t look very good. At first I thought I’d take a separate picture of him and merge the two reference photos into one drawing, but he just didn’t get how to pose for the camera. So I ended up moving Russ’s head and front leg a bit from the original photo. Luckily, it worked out.

I started with a very light wash of golden yellow. It’s not noticeable in the final painting (you can’t see it very well in the photo, either), but gives the piece a bit of warm glow.

under drawing Gunner & Russ portrait
Gunner & Russ underdrawing

Next, I went in and established the first layer of color in the figures. Most watercolorists work from light to dark, but I like to establish a value range right away, so I tend to go in and put in at least some of my darkest darks right at the beginning.¬† Here, it’s the back leg of the pants and the pupils of the eyes.

Gunner & Russ 1st layer
Gunner & Russ – first layer

For the next pass, I layed in the shadows on Gunner’s face and bare foot, and on Russ.

Gunner & Russ Layer 2
Gunner & Russ, Layer 2

Layer 3: From here it was simply a matter of deepening the shadows and adding details. (I love shadows because they often are full of color!)

Gunner & Russ layer 3
Gunner & Russ, Layer 3

I went in a few more times between layer 3 and the final layer but didn’t remember to take photos. Oh, well. But here is the final piece one more time (just to keep the sequence in order):

Gunner & Russ child/dog portrait

Now, take a good look at the pure joy on little Gunner’s face, and go give someone a hug!

(And don’t forget to give yourself one, too!) ūüôā

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

My IRS Agent is a Real Dog

Actually it has nothing to do with the IRS. If it did I probably would have made it a pit bull. A drooling one.

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

Actually it has nothing to do with the IRS. If it did I probably would have made it a pit bull. A drooling one.

Part of the forthcoming  Partnership With Earth website project is a sustainable living audit. Somehow the idea of a dog at the desk was appealing, to put a little lightness and humor into it.  This was my first version:

Illustration: dog at desk

I chose a standard poodle because my dog-crazy 13 year old daughter wants a puppy and we’ve been researching dog¬†breeds and have pretty much narrowed it down to that one. I like to run and she likes to train dogs to do tricks so we had to have a breed that¬†likes both activities. (I never thought of poodles as¬† runners but according to a bunch of¬†runner’s forums I visited they’re pretty stellar at long distance running.)¬†¬†Standard poodles are¬†very smart but not as hyper as Border collies (another one we’d considered.) And the no-shed thing is a definite plus. (Our Lab-Boxer mix, Jasmine, is currently in full swing with¬†her biannual ritual of sprinkling the house liberally with little black hairs.)

Anyway,¬†we ended up having the dog (the one in the picture, not the potential and as yet theoretical new addition to the family) actually filling out the audit rather than simply inviting one to do so. So here’s the final version:

Illustration: Dog writing at desk

It was pretty fun to do. All the overlapping meant having to really keep track of the layers.

Now, if only I could get Clara to train Jasmine to do the taxes!

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.