Archive for Leta’s Philosophy 101

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FollowTheLeaderThank you so much for following this blog about animals and animal communication! I wanted to let you know, however, that I have moved the entire blog to my main website and that is where new posts appear. I hope you will hop on over there to catch up and sign up to follow me at that location. And if you have a blog too, please put that in the comments there so I can check it out. Thanks so much! LetaSignature

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Thank God for the Chihuahua!

I have recently concluded that the Chihuahua breed of dog saves millions of lives of unborn, unwanted puppies every year!

Pretty gutsy claim, huh?! HOW in the world could that be?

I just volunteered to help out at an all-day spay/neuter clinic sponsored by our local animal shelter.  We had four vets on duty for the surgeries, probably a dozen vet techs, and about three dozen volunteers for the day. Our goal was to spay or neuter 100 dogs and cats.

This day was anonymously underwritten by a private donor, so all spays and neuters were free, and the event was highly publicized. Folks were supposed to start checking in with their animals at 7:00 a.m. Volunteers for the morning shift were to arrive by 6:30. We could take 100 animals, period.

When I drove up at the appointed time there was nowhere to park, and the line of people with their prospective “sterilizees” wrapped around the building into the parking lot of the nearby Outback Steakhouse.  Some had apparently arrived as early as 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. in order to take advantage of this amazing offer to have their beloved 4-leggeds “fixed” for FREE. On a coooold, mid-winter, February morning to boot (thank goodness we didn’t have snow that day).

So what’s the deal with Chihuahuas, you may ask, and just how do they save puppies’ lives?

Well here it is. My own theory based on observation. So take it for what it’s worth.

About half the dogs we took in that morning were either purebred Chihuahuas or Chihuahua crosses. We had 3-mo.-old teensy, weensy, short-haired females, to 12-lb. long-haired blondes, to a litter of precious black “Chugs” (Chihuahua/Pug crosses), to one absolutely adorable pup in her pink “housecoat,” … you name it, we had just about every variety of Chihuahua or Chihuahua cross that could exist.

And of course there were more people and animals lined up than we could take in one day (though we did end up sterilizing 110 animals!). So when we reached our 100 mark, we started taking names in order to schedule appointments for the late-comers later in the week (I was the name-taker). And guess what.  At least half of those folks whose names I took had, you guessed it …… Chihuahuas.  Some had multiples. I would get their name and phone number and then ask what type of animal they had, and what sex. “Well, I have three Chihuahuas, one Chihuahua-mix . . .” and so on.  I was chuckling to myself by the end of my name-taking duties.

By the end of the day, about 13 hours later, handing back the Chihuahuas to their owners, mixed in with wrestling the Pit Bulls and Rotties, I had a huge “Aha” moment! As follows:

* Lots of folks have dogs they can’t contain or can’t afford to have fixed.

* Unfixed dogs running on the streets equals unquantifiable numbers of unwanted puppies.

BUT …

* If many of those dog lovers own Chihuahuas instead of just any old Heinz 57 variety of dog, and

* Since we all know Chihuahua owners are crazy and regard their dogs as something akin to royalty and tend to carry them around on satin pillows and dress them in ridiculous outfits . . . . . . . . . . . then

* Those folks’ Chihuahuas are not out on the streets reproducing  ………. (are you with me here?)  SO …………………

Chihuahuas, due to their revered status, are cherished and mostly kept indoors and coddled. So that, even if they are not neutered or spayed, they take the place of thousands of  dogs their owners could have chosen otherwise — larger, more worldly types — who would probably now be roaming the streets and filling our shelters with all those unwanted puppies. Got it?

Well, anyway, it’s just a thought and, granted, a weird premise.

Alas, our shelters are still overflowing with unwanted puppies and kittens anyway, in spite of the efforts of the noble Chihuahua. But it did occur to me that perhaps the Chihuahua breed is doing its part, simply by virtue of its prima donna’esque traits, thereby demanding so much attention it is rarely left to its own devices out on the streets!

Yes. This is Frida. Truly irresistible.

And I have to admit that, after all these years of disparaging the breed, I am totally enraptured by my own Chihuahua, a long-haired named Frida,

My precious Tucker, the ultimate Chiweenie!

AND my Mr. Personality Plus Chiweenie, Tucker (a Chihuahua/Dachshund cross). I have three other dogs too, of all sizes, including a Great Pyrenees, but nothing can quite compare with the Chihuahua spirit. I just can’t explain it.

Perhaps it’s because the breed has a mission to help save, by default, all those gazillions of other puppies’ lives!

 

 

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Where is God?

Isn’t there a saying: “God is in the little things.”? I don’t know where this came from, but I believe it’s true.

I have rethought, rewritten, and edited this post many times because I don’t want to offend anyone. I have friends  who run the gamut from God-fearing fundamentalists to cynical atheists or agnostics, and I respect the opinion and beliefs of each and every one. Who am I to argue? If whatever you believe in, or don’t believe in, makes you happy, then you’re probably way ahead of the pack.

But therein lies the rub. An abundance of people these days don’t seem to be real happy or fulfilled — several of my acquaintances among them — no matter what they believe in or where they think God lives. Could it be that they are not spiritually nourished, regardless of what their beliefs might be? I think so. And might that have something to do with a belief that God lives outside of us and is the producer and director of our lives?

(Okay, here comes the potentially offensive part, but please keep reading.)

I  hate to say it, but here we have the quintessential Western male chauvanistic viewpoint: Some big boss guy in the sky whose name starts with a capital letter runs the world and rules our lives. All we have to do is turn everything over to “Him” because “He” is supposedly benevolent so will make sure everything turns out right. But whoops, when things don’t go so well “He” is not held accountable, or “He” is excused for his misdirection because “there has to be a good reason.” Sometimes at that point we  lose  faith altogether because “God” did not live up to our expectations. How confusing is that?! And how could any god live up to such expectations? Meanwhile, in keeping with that belief we have abdicated all responsibility and given away all our power. And how depressing is that?!

What about a flip side of that God version? Many religious sects throughout time have believed that God is IN everything, not a separate force. I like this idea, and I believe it myself. And yes, it brings with it responsibility for our own actions and their consequences. But it’s a little more complicated than that because obviously, since God is in everything, the god energy extends outside ourselves too, so there is a oneness and partnership going on at all times which certainly influenceS our choices as well.

I think of it this way. If the god force is the ocean, and that ocean contains all knowledge and awareness, then each of us is a drop (or maybe a bucketful, depending) within that ocean. We are made up of the identical god force and wisdom, but our scope of operation and awareness is just not quite so evolved as the entire ocean’s is. That doesn’t mean we can’t draw on its support and input, responding to its ebb and flow. But it does mean that we are not separate from it and totally subject to the buffeting of its waves, much as the cork on a fishing line would be! (Not a great metaphor, but I hope you get my drift [pun intended].)

When I have a friend who is a “believer,” who is down on their luck but  insisting it is God’s will, I’ll admit, I sometimes just want to shake them and yell in their face: “Take back your power! You are not God’s victim! Draw on that god force but don’t play like you have nothing to do with it!!”

I know this spiritual model does not work for everybody, and I really don’t mean to offend anyone, but my answer to the question “Where is God?” is “Everywhere, darn it, just open your eyes and hearts and feel it!” And that means that our fate is more or less a joint project and that we have just as much input in our lives as the big  “God” guy in the sky does.

And by the way, just for those who may think I’m a heathen, I talk to my own god all the time and would be lost without that connection. But I simply cannot pretend that that source exists outside of me and is identified by the pronoun “He.”

I think everyone who believes in any kind of god force agrees that God is love. I just hope we can each find whatever version of this idea makes us happy, loving individuals.  That’s all I’m really trying to say here.

Happy New Year!

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Which Riding Style or Equestrian Discipline is Right for You?

Guest Post by Roberta Edstrom, Daily Oats Blog

I’ve been a little uninspired lately about blogging so am sharing this article published by my internet friend and fellow blogger, Roberta Edstrom. I love Roberta’s posts because they are full of interesting stories or ideas and always contain a great message. Enjoy!

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I wonder if I counted just how many different riding disciplines there actually are in the world of horses how many I would find that I don’t even know about.  There certainly are lots  riding disciplines to choose from:  Dressage, Show Jumping, Cross-Country, Eventing, Rodeo and Barrel Racing, through to Hacking, Trail Riding, Hunter,  Western Riding, Competitive Trail Riding . . . to my favorite, Pleasure Driving.

Loads of horse loving enthusiasts often  try a variety of them while  others seem to endlessly excel in just one or two.  Such as nine-time FEI World Cup Dressage Champion and multiple Dressage Olympic Gold medalist Anky Van Grunsvan  who now loves to ride and show reining horses.

I believe there is a reason that they have named it riding “Disciplines.”

We all train both ourselves and our horses as far as we want to go  in our life — whether from the point of just being able to ride down a trail or becoming a world champion.

Discipline

I was given this quote the other day by a very dear freind.

“Discipline is the difference between what we want right now and what we want most in our life.”

(In fact I have it now on my desk in my inspirational spiral notebook and I have not changed it all week.)

In other words, it is the difference between that ice cream and my goal weight,  the difference between seeing the new Karate Kid and  finishing a new campaign to increase sales on the Knot-A-Tail website, or even going out to dinner and visiting with my buddy Carl or completing the next chapter in learning CSS programing so I can improve our site for our customers.

Not unlike others, there are many things in my life that I have wanted to achieve but I always seem to find a way to stick them in the back stall of my barn where no one ever cleans any more.

You know which one I am talking about, don’t pretend you don’t.

The one where all the tack that needs repair is hanging, where those worn-out clippers are that need to be sharpened and cleaned but are just sitting on a shelf,  where last year’s horse blankets that the horses ripped last winter are laying on the floor. Ya that stall.  Everyone has one.

Maybe it also has the book you have always wanted to write, that class you wanted to take,  school you wanted to finish, the degree you wanted to earn, the perfect job you have always dreamed about or  that business idea that has been floating around in your head  for the last few years.

But you have not taken that first step forward toward those GREAT true heart’s desires.  The true ‘GREATS’ of our lives.

Just like riding, Self Discipline is a skill and once you come to grips with it, it can alter  your life.  Think about it. Here is what you can gain just by applying some ‘riding’ disciplines to your own life. Imagine if you harnessed this power to change different aspects of your life.

You could have the power of all the horses you have dreamed about riding:

  • increased self value and self esteem
  • a better life for you and your family
  • hope
  • the ‘Buck all you want,  critter, I am going to ride you all the way!’  ride of your life  in  reaching  all of your  life’s ‘TO THE STARS’ dream goals

What good would Self Discipline create in your life?

What if you could practice Self Discipline in everything you did? How would your life change? Would it change? Think of these questions for a moment.

Some of the areas in your life you could change might be:

  • the amount of time spent with the kids, besides just ‘in the barn time’
  • your weight
  • your fitness
  • the tidiness of your office and updates of  more than just the horse records
  • the cleanliness of your house and not just the barn
  • fixing all the broken things in your house  and barn (fix that shelf once and for all)
  • the amount of time spent watching TV
  • watching what you eat
  • fasting for one day per week
  • having a cold shower every morning
  • getting your finances sorted out
  • writing those letters you’ve been meaning to write
  • making the phone calls you’ve been meaning to make
  • organizing your life
  • getting up early to be thankful of all the things you have
  • Ride past the BUCK

OK all you horse lovers.  I believe we are the best of the best with HUGE hearts and endless dreams. So, right now,  yes right now is the time to SADDLE-UP and start riding the life you have always dreamed of.

And I am here to keep reminding you of that.

So cinch-up tight, get your riding boots on, add a pair of spurs if you need to and let’s get going.
Pick  just one thing today to apply a  discipline to and keep riding that horse until the damn thing stops BUCKIN’!
Then head out to the corral and grab another.

After all, this is the FUN part of life,

Ridin’ past all  the BUCKS.   Then our life truly begins.

Most important, remember to share the whinny besides with just the herd of horses y0u own, there is an infinite supply.
……………………………..Change a life and “Share “ the Whinny!

I’m just livin’ for the WHINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNY!!

Daily Oats: Food for the Horse lover’s soul

Love,

Roberta

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Even Bulls Have Guardian Angels

My bull, 'Amigo', when he was a baby.

Years ago, when the ‘New Age’ movement got into full swing, the idea of angels began being bandied about big time.  Not that angels haven’t been popular since recorded history, but they were once again brought to the forefront during this new open-minded era.

One idea, that maybe WAS kind of new, was that each and every one of us can ask for help from the angels any time we want. Now mind you, according to the ‘rules’, angels are not allowed to help us unless we ask. That’s because this is a free will planet, so they are not to interfere. Only to help when asked.

Wow! What an untapped resource!

So here’s a story.

I started kind of toying with this idea. Asking for convenient parking spaces and such (TIP: for this particular request you do need to ask and plan ahead a bit — 15 minutes or so). Results? A bit inconclusive. Perhaps because I wasn’t sure if it would work, even though I had always believed in angels.

But then one day I had a very big problem.

I had a small herd of cattle on my ranch in Texas, one member of which was a young bull (we’ll call him Domingo) who belonged to the former renter of the ranch house. He was about two (the bull, not the renter), so he was getting pretty big and serious.

Since I had another bully youngster of my own up and coming — Amigo, pictured above — it was definitely time to call in the chips and get Domingo off the ranch. Even though he had been with me since he was four months old, not one dime for Domingo’s feed or care had ever been forthcoming from his owner, a well-known reprobate in the community who seemed to piss everybody off.

I finally made the dreaded phone call to the guy to let him know he HAD to come get his bull. This was one of those people who had a natural knack for baiting you and getting your dander up, no matter how much you swore to yourself you wouldn’t let that happen.

Out he comes, with a hard-nosed cowboy in tow, saying this cowboy and a couple of his hands will be showin’ up soon to round up the cattle, cut out the bull, load him up, and take him off. Macho, macho, macho, all the way!

Well fine.

Except a dear friend, who was a REAL cowboy from the get-go, said: “Leta, don’t let those guys come out here and roust about your cattle! You’ve got a nice, friendly, quiet herd, and if they do the macho cowboy thing they’ll make ’em all crazy!”

So I was concerned. I worried for days. And of course heard nothing from Domingo’s owner, so obviously he was going to wait as long as humanly possible to make something happen.

Dwelling and praying about the situation I suddenly remembered about asking the angels for help. So I did. I asked for Domingo’s guardian angels to help, and mine too, and any particular “bull removing expert angels” that might exist to get in on the act.

Well.

The end result I NEVER could have predicted. Which characteristic (unpredictable results), by the way, I have now found is not untypical of angel-type activity.

About three days after my prayers to the angels, my neighbor called:

“Leta, I think I have your bull over here.” And proceeded to describe Domingo perfectly. Seems Domingo had jumped the fence into the neighbor’s ranch because his cows were in season.

(O.M.G. Domingo was, finally, off my property?! In the most unexpected way possible?!)

I told him who the bull belonged to (the reprobate, whom my neighbor hated with a passion), and my neighbor said,

“Well *@#$&*(@*(&! !!!   I’m pennin’ him up, and callin’___________, and charging him $____________ per day for every @*&(#@(*  day the bull is on my property&*(_#@!”

Needless to say, Domingo was picked up and removed very quickly, and without the need for a macho cowboy roundup disrupting Leta’s herd’s bucolic state of being.

I don’t know what happened to Domingo in the long run, and I hope it was all for the good because he was a really nice bull.

But I do know that after that experience I was SOLD on the ‘ask your angels’ thing and have used it many times since. All with good results.

So just ask the angels for help. You’ll get it!

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Letting Go of Lopeh

Lopeh, the day I met her at the cattle ranch.

Right now I’m trying to practice what I preach. A while back I wrote a blog about gutting it up and making a change if you have a horse that’s the wrong horse for you. (You can read that blog post HERE.) The client involved was really an inspiration for me, as both she and her horse were unhappy and she was brave enough to admit it AND to contemplate rehoming him.

For most of us, that kind of thing takes a lot of guts. Some folks may trade horses like baseball cards, but not most of the horse lovers I know. Myself included.

I have had many horses through the years, not just a few of whom were less than a great match for me, but none of whom I passed on or placed in more suitable homes. But I have come to the conclusion that not doing so may not always be the best or kindest choice, either for oneself or for the horse.

A recent shot of Lopeh in her "I am the ultimate Quarter Horse!" pose.

Lopeh, pictured above, came home with me 6 months ago, the only unwanted member of a breeding herd of fine horses that was being dispersed for free  from a local nearby ranch. I won’t go into detail, but the ranch breeds fine cattle, and found itself in an unanticipated situation with this horse herd, with lots of untrained babies on the ground, so did the right thing and gave the horses to qualified applicants. Lopeh came to me because she was the only horse nobody wanted, and I had promised to take any such “leftovers,” in order to make sure they didn’t end up at the slaughter house.

So it’s not like I chose Lopeh exactly. But I did think I might keep her if she were a good, quiet, all-purpose trail horse for all types of riders.

But to make a long story short, she’s too out of practice to be safe for just anyone, and I’m too old and brittle to get her back into shape and trailworthy. Plus, my heart really lies with my Bella, and that’s who I want to do my working and riding with.

Lopeh went to a new home yesterday, to a sweet and very young woman who has wanted her for months, knowing all her foibles and special needs. Nikki has been around horses just about her whole life so has tons of the experience and skill necessary to help Lopeh once again live up to her full potential, plus there are other horses in the herd so Lopeh won’t be alone.

I had Lopeh with a trainer for two weeks before delivering her to Nikki, so I think they’ll have a head start on their work and play together, and I could not have asked for anyone who would be a more perfect match for this little mare.

But today I am downhearted. I miss Lopeh. And I am NOT a horse trader. So this was a new experience for me and one that has been emotionally difficult to work through.

I know Lopeh is going to flourish in her beautiful new surroundings. And I know Nikki will keep me informed of her progress. And I know I will be the first to know if things don’t work out, and Lopeh will come right back here in that case.

But the fact of the matter is, when you sell or place a horse, or any animal for that matter, if your heart is in it you really have to follow the divine adage:

“Let go and let God.”

. . . and trust in the goodness of all, and that all will be well.

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What Makes a Successful Blog? Your Voice!

What makes a successful blog? YOUR VOICE. But no, you don’t have to sing like this little character here.

And why am I, an animal communicator, blogging about blogging? Well . . . since my blog is about  ‘a day in the life of an animal communicator,’ and blogging is a common component of how I spend my days,  pulleeze, indulge me here.

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately. One, because I’m an avid reader. Two, because I enjoy the different voices that are out there and the different types of information they convey. Plus, of course, I have been posting my own blog for over a year now so am curious about what others are doing.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes one blog attractive and another not so much. What makes a successful blog? What makes ME want to come back to a blog or shun it forever?

The answer, at least for me, is simple: the blogger’s voice.

You can ping and post and use the most perfect keywords in the world, but if you don’t have a unique voice people just aren’t going to want to read what you have to say because they won’t be able to identify with you.

What makes a “unique voice?” YOU BEING YOU. It’s that simple.

In other words, you being true to yourself in everything you write. People can tell if you are being authentic or not. They can read between the lines. Writing about something you know well – sharing your expertise – is all well and good. But if you’re not writing from the heart and from the gut, the real you is not going to shine through.

Let people see who you really are. After all, your blogs are not chapters in a textbook.

If you’re blogging, do it right. Put yourself out there and use your real voice. Just like you would if you were talking to your best friend.

The first blog I got hooked on was the Julie/Julia blog, written by Julie Powell. This is the blog that got made into a book and then into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. The blog was phenomenally successful, which is why the book publisher took notice. Granted, I started following the blog because Julie happens to be a close friend of my daughter’s from their earliest childhood. But one or two reads and I was addicted. Not only because the main subject matter was to my liking (cooking), but because Julie’s voice was so real and unique and irreverent that I had to keep coming back for more. Had Julie not had a unique voice, her blog-then-book-then-movie-then-subsequent-book would not have become a reality.

Here are a few other examples of blogs I read and why I think they’re successful:

  • A horse lover compares horse behavior and activities with life in general. She’s had lots of hard knocks, including losing her husband to cancer, but her spirit and gumption are dauntless and her use of horses as a metaphor for life events is humorous and engaging.  Her blog is sloppy – she never edits – but her voice is honest and clear and totally unique, and I always take away a beautiful life lesson/reminder. This blog is successful because it is inspirational.
  • A life coach spews forth editorial and philosophical content and comment regarding current events as well as her daily experiences. Her writing style – her voice — has amazing flare and great depth and is totally authentic and unique. What better way for prospective coaching clients to get a feel for her in order to decide whether they’d like to work with her or not. This blog is a great business tool because it provides honest insight into this individual and what she might therefore be like as a personal coach.
  • A veterinarian describes case histories and shares lots of useful information about holistic health care, mixed in with frequent descriptions of every day life on her farm. The voice here is down-home and to the point. The material is fascinating as well as helpful, so this is a very successful blog.
  • A young woman who specializes in network marketing blogs about growing one’s MLM business online — an as yet unplumbed approach. Since I have had an MLM business for the last 20 years, I am interested in how the development of the internet impacts this business and how I can make the best use of it as a new tool. This blog is packed with hard-core and helpful information, and the voice, believable and business-like, also often contains a tongue-in-cheek humorous side note. Instructive and informational, this blog is another winner.

As you can see, I read blogs that are all over the map content-wise. But, seeing as how there are literally millions of them floating around in the ethers nowadays, I wouldn’t come back to any of them unless the blogger’s voice was real and unique enough to make me feel like I know the writer personally.

So blog away. Just play like you’re talking to your best friend. And once you get good at it start throwing in a few pings and keywords in all the right places too.

Happy blogging!

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