Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Morning Reflections

Our dog Izzy provides me lots of time to reflect on life as we make our walks together each and every morning. This morning as she started pulling away from me, I immediately pulled back on her leash. I have been through lots of dog training classes and have been "trained" to give her commands, block her or stop walking rather than pulling on her leash. The reason? By pulling on her leash I am teaching her to listen to the leash, rather than me. By giving her commands and teaching her moves, I am respecting her and teaching her to respect me by listening to me rather than the leash.

By pulling back on Izzy's leash today, I wanted immediate results. I didn't want to take the time to stop and work on commands with her, even though I believe in the long run I will be happier and so will she. I think many things in life are like this. We want immediate results rather than putting in the work that will last a lifetime and bring so many other good results.

Many times with our children we make 100% of the decisions for them. What they will eat, when they will shower, how long they will study, what they will study, what time they will go to sleep and wake up, etc, etc. It can be easier for us to make the choices for them - to have control over their leashes. However, taking the time to discuss with them what they want to do with their lives takes time and patience and often not immediate results. In the long run though, when they are respected rather than having their leashes pulled, they learn to control their own time, to respect others and to feel proud of themselves.

The same is true for medications. When we hurt we want it to go away immediately and medicate ourselves rather than taking the time to figure out what is causing the hurt. We want to pull the leash on our pain and make it stop. Often the medications do work for a while and in some cases for good, but often, the body starts pulling again with the same old pains or new ones. Then we either have to take stronger medications or we have to take the time to work with our body and respect it's natural healing ability. When we learn to work with our body and listen to it rather than continually pulling the leash, it will respond in a way that will give us a lifetime of good health.

I think there are many, many things in my life that I want immediate results with. However, by taking an alternative route with my health, my children's education and even in the way we train our dog, I am learning that patience and hard work do pay off. I have been off all rheumatoid arthritis medications for a year now. By going off the medications, I have learned so much about my own body and soul and developed a new respect for myself. I have homeschooled my children in a way that allows them to choose what, how, and when they will learn. This takes trusting my children and their natural curiosity 100 percent. The pay-off has been tremendous. I could not ask for two greater children that wake up each day excited about life. And, as our dog grows out of puppy hood and we spend more quality time with her, we find her listening to our commands and respecting us. Sometimes in the morning she really wants to bark at the dogs walking by our house but when I remind her "the kids are sleeping" she controls herself. We don't have to treat her harshly, just let her know what we expect so she can make good choices on her own.

Not "pulling on the leash" and expecting results without putting in the time and respect will always be a challenge for me, I know. However, the more I let go and learn to respect that which is also pulling from me, the happier I become.