...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fun Summer Read

As part of the "Self Hurt" series, the title attracted me- How to Have an Ill Behaved Dog.

After adopting a dog from the shelter in May, I wouldn't have been the least bit interested in a typical dog obedience manual. This one, however, takes the monotony out of the genre with an off beat approach. It states the obvious in a sarcasm that is funny and creative. Among other things, it suggests that friends really don't find the stories about your IBD (ill behaved dog) very interesting, and what's more, they probably find your dog's crotch-sniffing offensive.

The theme seems to be that most of us choose chaos-- to be controlled by our dogs. We sink to their basic level of physical, health, and belonging needs while ignoring their needs (and ours) for consistent boundaries. The other thing the book points out is the poor planning we use in choosing a dog to fit our perceived emotional needs rather than finding one that will make a good fit with our family and life style.

Especially if you're looking at future dog ownership or if you're a new owner, you'll enjoy and benefit from this book. The best nugget was the explanation as to why dogs usually learn to bark and growl at mail carriers. It's because their racket is always reinforced by the fact that the mail person's departure quickly follows their bellowing. Of course, it's because of the din of the dog that makes the post person leave.

BTW, other interesting titles in the series include how to get fat, procrastinate, traumatize your children, etc.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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