cartoon of person doing a bent over stretch Among the mail order catalogs offering sales on winter apparel and spring seeds was a brochure of workshops being offered at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health located in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. It’s a lovely place and I wouldn’t mind spending time there attending workshops, eating wholesome food and having so much body work that I couldn’t get off the table. I am at heart a pragmatic New Englander and look at New Age practices with a dose of cynicism but it has been tempered from years of school and living in northern California. I do find the opportunity to; rediscover myself, transform my life, find the path of the warrior, nourish my body & spirit, reawaken my life through song, discover the blessing of devastating change, master the art of aloneness, liberate my spine, detox for health & healing, awaken the creative, activate my heart’s intelligence, dance with souls passed, all very tempting.

I’d sign my fearful dog Sunny up for workshops as well, if they were offered for dogs, especially ‘Turning Life’s Triggers into Opportunities to Change’. This process has been part of my transformational practice with Sunny since he arrived here in Vermont to live with us. The description of the workshop included this: Learn how to use life situations that trigger old reactive behaviors and turn them into golden moments of opportunity. In the workshop he’d learn to: Create a new system of compassionate accountability and self-management that engenders conscious choice instead of reactivity.

Since it’s not likely I’ll be signing Sunny up for any courses in the near future I will have to focus on being compassionately accountable myself, and making conscious choices about how I respond to my dog’s behavior. I will continue to evaluate whether I am reacting thoughtlessly or if my responses are based on inaccurate assumptions and assessments of his behavior. I will continue to feed, rather than fight his demons while we both gain wisdom for resolving inner conflict. Or at the very least we’ll go for a walk and eat some cheese.