“Self-discipline is an act of cultivation. It requires you to connect today’s actions to tomorrow’s results. There’s a season for sowing a season for reaping. Self-discipline helps you know which is which.”
Gary Ryan Blair
“By constant self-discipline and self-control you can develop greatness of character.”
“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.”
“The distance between dreams and reality is called discipline.”
“Doghead is pretty easy to learn, you just have to speak from the heart.”
L.D. Marchell “My Father’s Greatest Gift:
Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”
As some of you may know, I promised Chert Dog that I would get his story of unconditional love and forgiveness published, but that I would also promote it so that his mission and purpose would spread across the world. Today was “his” first television interview with Kara Conrad, producer and host on WBNG -TV CBS Channel 12 News featured in “Around the Tiers” segment aired Monday – Friday from 12:15- 12:30 pm. As synchronicity would have it, my booth at Otsiningo Park’s “All Paws for a Cause Dog Walk” is how this interview came about! Following is the link to the interview. Enjoy!
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Chert was an old soul, and his charisma attracted all the children in the neighborhood including his female girlfriend, Syria, a Sassy White Bichon who just happened to live across the street! Chert had two loves, for his stomach it was PIZZA! And for his heart it was Syria! His favorite time of year was Halloween when everyone would come to visit HIM (or so he thought)! His last year with us, it was a prerequisite from all of the trick-or-treaters that they had to pet the dog first before they got a treat! I will always remember the magic and wonder Chert brought to my heart and am much blessed to have known, loved and to have been loved by such an altruistic angel in furry clothing!
Brrrrr, is it ever cold and windy from this high vantage point! All I can remember, really, is somebody took me for a long car ride and when the vehicle finally stopped, I was thrown out of it into a very dark and scary night. I am so thankful that I have excellent night vision because it helped me negotiate my unfamiliar surroundings. The side of the country road had pieces of rock salt which went in between my “20 paws and 22 claws” and I let out a squeak as I attempted to find some soft snow to wash away the sting. Yep, I was born with five toes on each of my paws and two extra claws which are located nicely between my “thumb” and four toes on my front two legs. Do you think THAT is the reason why they left me here? I know I have really big paws, but that’s what makes me unique!
Then, this really LOUD truck went chu-chugging along by where I had been soaking my paws and the bright headlights startled me as I ran away from the roadside into the pitch blackness of the slopping field below. There were rocks and clumps of snow together with prickly bushes and a barbed wire fence. Somehow I negotiated through the midnight maize towards some dried grass and welcoming brush. This seemed like a reasonable spot to take a rest for a bit, or so I thought. All of a sudden, some type of wild animal came out of the blindness of the night running right towards me! I must say my heart skipped quite a few beats as it felt as if it had jumped up into my throat as I sped towards the closest tree I could find. I climbed up as high as I could because I am still very young and don’t weigh very much yet so the very tiny limbs can support me.
Well, do you remember me telling you about how many toes I have? Now I know why God equipped me with such gargantuan paws. For what seemed to be an eternity for me, I held onto those fragile branches atop that big old oak tree. The wind picked up and the tree began to sway in the wind as I trembled and clung even tighter to the tiny branches. Then, the sun began to rise up over the hilltop as the sunlight shed some warmth on my nearly frozen body. Some chickadees flew up to see me as they sang their morning tunes. In different circumstances, I would have been dashing after THEM up the tree, but in my current situation, I was gladdened by their company.
Once the sunshine began to allow me to see my predicament more clearly, I literally wanted to take my one paw and place it up over my eyes in disbelief. What in heaven’s name was I going to do to get myself out of this situation? I had climbed so far up this friendly oak that my only solution would be to attempt to turn around and climb DOWN the tree. That’s about when the hypothermia began to set in. I hadn’t slept all night. I was hungry and dehydrated so I did what any logical person would do in a similar situation – I began to cry. What happened, though, is that I couldn’t stop crying. I’m sure you’ve heard this expression before: HAULT – don’t let yourself get too hungry, too angry, too lonely or too tired. Well, I had reached full-tilt on all four of those topics and then some!
As I cried deliriously, the most amazingly wonderful thing happened! A woman had been walking alongside the road and heard my calls. She climbed over the barbed wire fence and was underneath the tree looking up and talking to me. When I finally took a few deep breaths and subsided my almost hiccup crying reaction I was having, she began walking around the bottom of the oak’s trunk as she attempted to climb up a few branches. Then she motioned for me to jump down to a bigger limb which was quite a caper from my perspective. I just couldn’t let go. She then climbed back down the tree and went on her knees and prayed. Now, these past twenty-four hours have really encompassed the full spectrum of emotions for me, to say the least. Here I was last night being discarded by someone who didn’t appreciate me to this gal who not only tried to climb the tree to get me, but is now praying for me?
That was the “ah, ha” moment for me as I took my “first of many quantum leap of faith” to a lower limb and my enormous claws and paws grabbed onto the tree’s bark firmly. She encouraged me as I knew I would have to jump one more time before she could climb up to reach me. So, I literally closed my eyes when I sprang the second time and landed on the side of the trunk with pieces of the oak’s rough outer layers and small branches falling away. It was then that I truly learned what unconditional love really is. As she reached for me, I felt this amazing calmness come over me because I knew I had been saved.
Enveloped in her comforting and warm embrace, she wrapped her rainbow-hued fluffy yarn scarf around me and held firmly onto my paws else I decide to spring out of her arms. At this point, that was the last thing on my mind! Trembling and exhausted, I kept dozing off on our walk down the road and up the hill to where her home was nestled. As we approached our destination, a neighbor met us and offered a few cat toys, litter box and comforted me as I welcomed her kind words.
When we walked down the driveway to her home, a loud ruckus of several dogheads barking startled me as I almost sprang out of her grasp. Gladly, these friendly but very talkative neighbor’s pets were contained in a large fence surrounding their property. Whew, thank goodness for that! I’m sure they are friendly as they were my older brother’s girlfriends, but just the same, I am a kitten – not a doghead.
“You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
On my morning hike the stellar sky and enlivening day brought about a feeling of oneness with Mother Earth around me. As I walked the local school track in meditation, I overheard a coach motivating the students he was training. The message he shared in encouraging, emphatic words: “You’re going to make mistakes on the field, that’s ok. Learn to fix them and move on.” Was he just coaching the athletes he was working with? As that message rang true to the very core of my being, I came upon the realization that was exactly how I have been approaching life. In the optimistic way he presented his message to those he was coaching, it brought about a yearning from those he was instructing to strive for improvement. The delivery of the message in a positive context planted the seed of working towards perfection within these adolescent youngsters.
“Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom, while discouragement often nips it in the bud.”
As I left the track to venture up the back hill, I stopped as I came upon a congregation of immature eagles gathered alongside the ground as well as flying in the area! Thankfully I had my cell phone to photograph them, even though they are not professional looking nor close up shots. But the message was a very profound one for me in my journey of the heart. Symbolic as well, for the coach from the track training session had been instructing adolescent children on the importance of perseverance towards their goals, dreams and desires.
“Being myself includes taking risks with myself, taking risks on new behavior, trying new ways of ‘being myself’, so that I can see who it is I want to be.”
As I stood there observing the eagles, they began to gather in a convocation as if to communicate with one another on their next soaring expedition, deciding on where the thermals and winds would allow for them to glide effortlessly to a new destination. I remember thinking how lucky they were to have each other to assist in their learning and growing stages of development, and how important that support system is within our own lives as well. When they began to unite as a circle of life joining their energies, I stood there with my arms reaching upwards towards their wings as they rose above me, their feathers just within reach of my outstretched arms. As they soared higher, I was able to count twelve of these youngsters who had graced me with their ‘anything is possible’ outlook on life. Their powerful, pure energy filled my soul with grandeur as a monumental experience for me in my personal life’s journey.
“Jesus said: With God, All things are possible.”
“Care no more for the opinion of others, for those voices; do the hardest thing for you. Act for yourself and face your truth.”
From this profoundly enlightening experience, I slowly began the walk up the trail. As I looked to the right where some of the eagles had been grounded, I found a secondary eagle feather symbolically left for me from one of the messengers who flew into my life that morning. The eagle has been an animal totem for me my entire life and I have been attuned to their energy for some time. It has been a blessed experience for me to witness such a marvelous moment and to be able to share it with others as a way of showing that there is much around us to assist in our journey, we just need to be still, open and aware in trusting that still, small voice within, honoring Mother Earth and striving for the highest and best in all areas of our lives, knowing that mistakes are a part of our learning curve, in order for us to super duper quantumly soar!
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Henry David Thoreau
“We need the tonic of wilderness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
Henry David Thoreau
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
Henry David Thoreau
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
Henry David Thoreau
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
Henry David Thoreau
“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.”
Henry David Thoreau
“All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”
Henry David Thoreau
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
Infinite gratitude to the beauty of our surroundings, of friends and family with heartfelt thankfulness for their generosity from the heart! May our focus on all the wonder and expansive glory surrounding us and the miraculous gift of the breath of life within us be ever kept in present moment appreciative awareness!
“It is a woman’s nature to be constant – to love one and one only, blindly, tenderly, and for ever – bless them, dear creatures!”
“All our talents increase in the using, and every faculty, both good and bad, strengthens by exercise.”
“I would not send a poor girl into the world, ignorant of the snares that beset her path; nor would I watch and guard her, till, deprived of self-respect and self-reliance, she lost the power or the will to watch and guard herself.”
“A hardness such as this is taught by tough experience and despair alone.”
“His heart was like a sensitive plant, that opens for a moment in the sunshine, but curls up and shrinks into itself at the slightest touch of the finger, or the lightest breath of wind.”
“But he who dares not grasp the throne should never crave the rose.”
“I allow she has small claims to perfection; but then, I maintain that, if she were more perfect, she would be less interesting.”
“Keep a guard over your eyes and ears as the inlets of your heart, and over your lips as the outlet.”
“It is foolish to wish for beauty. Sensible people never either desire it for themselves or care about it in others. If the mind be but well cultivated, and the heart well disposed, no one ever cares for the exterior.”
“Our wishes are like tinder: the flint and steel of circumstances are continually striking out sparks, which vanish immediately, unless they chance to fall upon the tinder of our wishes; then, they instantly ignite, and the flame of hope is kindled in a moment.”
“It seems as if life and hope must cease together.”
“My heart is too thoroughly dried to be broken in a hurry, and I mean to live as long as I can.”
“I love the silent hour of night, For blissful dreams may then arise, Revealing to my charmed sight What may not bless my waking eyes.”
“The end of religion is not to teach us how to die, but how to live.”