Monday, June 24, 2013

Limiting Self Beliefs

"The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the buts you use today." ~ Les Brown

I've been giving thought to sorting out what beliefs I hold that limit me.  The thing about limiting self beliefs (LSB's) is, generally, there is not a whole lot of validity to them.  And if they are partially true, the falseness come from the fact that only I allow them to limit me!  I'm working a little program for myself...I really believe I have to identify my LSBs before I can slay them. See these little beliefs are my dragons and I really do not want to keep them around. However, slaying is is much easier to chase them off to return much like a homing pigeon. 

First, I am sorting out what my goals really are.  End result goals that I are really mine to accomplish. I'm kicking all others to the curb.  Second, I am honestly seeking out my limiting self beliefs and naming them.  This second step is hard.....well, at lest the honesty part is.  LSB can hide themselves as truths....and can also be disguised as excuses.  Third, I am making a "T" account list of the truths and lies of my LSBs.  And then, lastly, I am working a slay program.

A pretty safe example of a Limiting Self Belief would be.......


Step 1:  Goal-run Nell and Bella at the 2013 USBCHA National Finals

Step 2: LSB- My place is too small to train my dogs up to be competitive at the Finals

Step 3: T Account-
left side truth to confirm the LSB:
I have 10 acres
People have told me my place is too small

right side that slays LSB:
I have 10 acres
there are highly competitive handlers that only have 10 acres or less
mentors have shown me how I can train on 10 acres and be very effective
I can haul out to get bigger outruns when needed
I can visit friend's who have bigger places to work/rent sheep
I can work for sheep people to get bigger work
I can train understanding close at hand before stretching it out
I can work my dogs through tension of being close to sheep
stop comparing personal situations to other's (focus on my choice)
stop allowing other's comments/opinions to foxtail their way into my head (be a duck)

Step 4: Make a plan

I'm now making my plan that includes a bit of mental retraining.  Some of my stinking thinking, muscle memory is quite strong, or maybe more the homing instinct of the chased-off dragons is strong. 

I find putting all this down in writing helps me to stay to my plan on days like today.  Today, after a very successful trial weekend but not much sleep, crappy eating and a LONG drive home.....I might entertain the idea of taking a break.  But then, I look at my real goals and plan of action and I know, I just need to take some time for self care.  I think I'll go make a green juice and head back to bed....NOT. Instead, I will be thankful for my slice of Heaven knowing it is enough, then I'll make a green juice and

Seize the Day!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Excuse" Me

*  an explanation offered in defense of some fault

I don't find this definition from to be how I define "excuse".  My personal list of excuses are those things that I am not willing to see as "changeable".  I do have a small list of personal 'go to' excuses.  When it comes to training and running dogs, I have been sorting out "excuse" versus "assessment" as I look at my progress and goals.  When discussing 'evaluation' or "assessment" it is easy for some to think diagnosing is excuse making.  However, right, wrong, or indifferent......I assess why things don't go as planned and use these assessments to train through to the other side.  I like taking my assessments to lessons; getting feedback from trainers I respect to see if my skills of observation are getting better and if my plan of treatment needs tweaking. 

For example, my Gyp is tight on the top end of her outrun.  I've been pondering opening her up a bit.  After a lesson with Gyp and  watching a friend sort out another dog...I'm working on finding a balance of bringing Gyp into the sheep and helping her work through covering from inside the pressure point in addition to helping her sort top end distance.  I'm seeing greater understanding in her and she is turning into a very nice and handy dog.  Will it help at trials?  Only trialing will tell....time and miles and miles and miles.  I've been doing a few other things to encourage good approach and understanding. I've also been diligent to make sure the sheep don't come running when I send her while also making sure the sheep are not always up against a fence on bigger outruns.

With each of my dogs, I find myself thinking about the "why's" of what they are doing.  From this I try to make a plan to help them gain understanding, confidence and trust in me.  For me, if I only opened Gyp up without working her through covering and approach from inside the pressure point, I would leave her hanging without tools when situations came up that required that particular skill and experience.  I think this might be synonymous with "ground work" with horses.  A trainer friend of mine told me that he likes to put his dog in all sorts of situations so when they get to a trial, there is nothing the dog has not seen and worked through. 

Sometimes when I trial, I see holes in my "groundwork" with my dogs...each different because of the different strengths and weaknesses the dogs bring, and I bring, to our relationship.  When I see something, that I thought we had worked through, rear it's head at a trial.....I am thankful so I can go back and do more "groundwork".  On my trip to Kentucky and back, each of my dogs had moments where they told me, "I trust you in some situations but not this one." and, with the help of mentors, I am going back and working on them trusting me and themselves more; further out, in situations that are new, on sheep that are different, no matter terrain, weather, or time of day.  Where we have come from is important to me, but I don't expect it to be important to anyone else including my mentors.  Much like, where I have come from is important to me.  I don't make excuses or blame any more, but I am aware of muscle memory triggers and am working at weakening those while strengthening the functional muscles that need more memory in my life.

This journey really is about me...which makes me laugh.  I love having friends that share their journey; love learning from them, seeing things different through their eyes.  There are days when I blog that I feel very vulnerable.....the moment the letters are typed out, putting my thoughts into words which often are not put together to convey to each reader "exactly" what I mean for them to say.....knowing as well, as with all of life, there are those who will twist and tangle with glee;  I come back to knowing....this is about me.  I blog to remember where I have come from; assessing progress and making a plan to become more of me.  One of my sincerest wishes is that those who read what I share are encouraged to keep to their journey of becoming them! 

Seize the Day!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

I Long.......

"A horse named Hondo made it necessary for Ray to change his ways.
Hondo made it clear that Ray could be broken, but he, the horse, could not.

"Everything I know now started with that horse," Ray said. "Hondo was a sticking, biting, kicking, bucking tough colt who might have killed me. Hondo would tell me, ‘Come on and try to break me, and I’ll break in YOU again.’ And he would have. But I had all winter to work on him. He was my only horse; without him, I was afoot. It was just him and me and I tried to put myself in his place. How did he get so afraid? What could I do to make him trust me? A horse that’s had trouble can’t believe a human will quit hurting them. I felt sorry for that horse who had to hold up his defence. You can’t blame him. I worked on him some and we got so I could get near him, then get on him. I’m not saying it was all love and kisses. You better believe it. Things could get pretty physical, pretty western. I’d go to bed at night and think about that horse, dream about him, then go back to work with him the next day."

In the middle of the winter of 1960-61, Ray took Hondo to Tom Dorrance.
"He’s a little old bow-legged cowboy; he’s the brain of it all. He can fix a horse so fast you never knew what happened. And who taught Tom? He says it was the horse. As soon as Tom came around me, Hondo would act like a lamb. And as soon as he left, I’d be riding a tiger again. I couldn’t understand. Something was going on but I couldn’t find it.
See, I was too forceful. The timing was good but the mental feel of how it could be wasn’t there. I couldn’t visualize it and the yielding wasn’t there. The horse was afraid of me. I thought I had to hurt him to get him rideable. I knew it wasn’t right. And pretty soon, I learned that to get respect, I had to give respect.

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out because a horse is so big and strong, but there’s a difference between firm and forceful. And there’s a spot in there, inside the horse, an opening where there is no fear or resistance, and that’s what I began looking for."

By the end of the year Hondo was gentle, smooth, athletic, and kind to be around, a horse the grandkids could ride.

Image is of Ray and Hondo accepting a first place award and is from an article which appeared in The Western Horseman, January 1995 'Ray Hunt; Western Horseman of the Year' -

Ray's quote is from an article written by Gretel Ehrlich; the article was published in the 'Shambhala Sun' July 1998 -
shared from the Ray Hunt Horseman Facebook Page
This.....right what I long for in my dogs.  I have a mini Hondo in my new dog......she is going to teach me more than I ever could have imagined that day I agreed to take her.  Though she is not kicking, biting, nor is she going to kill me.....well there are those days I wonder but.....she is tough. Pressure makes her put pressure back on.  One friend cleverly told me, in the nicest of tones and with a delivery that almost slid by...."Dot is a lot like you". Everything in me is seeking to understand her....and with this seek, I am getting to know each of my dogs a little bit better.  They are all thankful for Dot and me, the seeker changeling. 
As I ponder horses versus dogs, I wonder about the differences between "prey" animals and "predators".  I'm reading a few books right now, one about animals and behavior, the other my interaction with my dogs....and I assess and sort.  The interactions of a pack of wolves in the environment is different from those of a herd of wild horses in the high desert;  survival from the view of prey versus predator.  On the other hand, I hear the most incredible stories from my dog behaviorist friend about the amazing mad skills dogs can be taught.  My thoughts come full circle....natural intrinsic instinct of the working sheepdog shaped with training, understanding, respect and relationship to become an amazing useful dog.  And I'm right back to where I started am I going to help Dot become all she can be with me?
I'm strengthening my skill of observation, looking intently for that littlest intent of give, understanding and trust.  I'm also working on timing.  I'm not stuck in a method...I've spent much time with many top and respected trainers to know there is more than one way to skin a cat. So I am seeking, more than a method, what will bring understanding and partnership for Dot. I'm also working on living 'one day at a time'; living in the moment and dying to expectation of where we should be by when.  I have friends who have Dot's siblings.....I work at killing the comparisons!
The training of the dogs brings such joy to my  life....I am so thankful for what each of them teaches me on the days I am up for the challenge.  As always, it seems to come back to becoming more of who I am and less of what I believe others want from me.  It is a good journey....
Seize the Day!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Granny

Dear Granny,

It's days like today that I begin to feel the ache of missing you.  You, who were wed young, having children young, you became a young grandma.  You were 44 when I was born, the fourth and last of the grandkids, all of the girl variety.  I sit here and try to remember my earliest memory of you......maybe the Easter baskets you sent, along with the chocolate egg that had been hand decorated just for me.  Or the little tartan skirt and vest set you let me buy when we went on our annual spring break shopping spree.  I think I was all of four, with the best part coming home to dress up and prance around, showing off for Gramps. 

The spring break vacations were the gathering of the four of us grandkids at your home for a week.  There was that time, we all wanted to sleep together but knew you would not agree to our all night giggle fest.  So we thought we would sneak in the middle of the night, the two youngest girls on top of  the bed while the two oldest made beds underneath.  You know the bed I am talking about, the four poster bed with the ornate piano carved on it; it was extra high off the ground making the perfect place to get away with things.  You must have heard our whispers and came in to quite us, not sure how two girls could be creating such noise.  I am not sure which of the oldest granddaughters grabbed your leg from underneath that bed, but you screamed and scolded, while we laughed; and laughed and laughed.  You were such a good sport, and somehow I think we got to spend that night together, the four of us.

There was that one spring break where I got real sick, keeping you up at nights with a croupy cough and a high fever.  Instead of sending me packing home to be sick, you nursed me with steam tents and nasty concoctions to bring up the phlegm.  Every night, when I would wake up unable to breath, you would come in with a cold cloth and the treatments would start again. Then during the day, I would lay on the couch, pathetic and feeling sorry for myself, while you would entertain the other three granddaughters.  I'm never sure how you did it.

I think I learned my work ethic from you, maybe passed down through my father, but it started with you.  You, the wife of a lumberman, would get up at 4 each morning to start breakfast and pack a lunch for your husband, my Gramps.  He would go off to work, and you would sit at the dining room table writing letters to start your day. You taught me how to can peaches and the fine art of making your special freezer jam in the strawberry variety.  I always tested your patience with the corners I tried to cut; adding the sugar too fast to the jam, or not letting it dissolve for the peaches. 

Indeed you were the queen of crocheting and I believe there was some knitting going on too.  If I could not wait on sugar to dissolve, it should have been no surprise to you that I could not crochet.  Not only was I impatient, I was a perfectionist!  I could not allow for the uneven loops of a new skill and so I never learned what you were best at.  Today, I feel a pang of regret that I could not tame my impatience at an earlier age to allow your legacy to live through my fingers.  Instead, I keep the afghans you made with love out of the colors we choose.

One of my favorite memories of your cooking was those little pie tarts you made.  They were just rolled out left overs from the crust of a pie.  You would cut them with a biscuit cutter and then use a thimble to take out three holes from what would form the top of the tart.  I would always hope you would count wrong and I would get the extra top or bottom.  The best tarts were made with your blackberry jam; made from the blackberries you and Gramps would pick in the woods or along the road that we would take down to the falls.

That road reminds me of the famous and most fantastical story created by the four granddaughters yet another spring break.  The four of us took a walk down to the falls, and along the way we found a deer trail that had been frequented down a steep bank.  I'm not sure who tried it first, but soon enough all four of us were sliding down the trail, on our bums, down to the switch-back road below and running up the road to do it again.  The real problem arose when we returned home and you saw our bums.  Buttefalls was known for its red clay, which had been ground into our jeans all the way through to our undies.  I think that was the first time I really saw you mad at us.  It also showed your crazy skills at laundry as most of it came clean.

I had some dark days in my college years, days that you and Gramps held my hand through.  I'm not sure you understood any of it but you were always an ear to listen.  I came down one weekend, the darkness winning, I laid in the bed made from the hide-away couch and listened to the rain on the tin roof and I felt so much peace made from the years of the familiar.  You and Gramps were always there for me.

You held a grudge like no other though.  I pissed you off more times than you would ever tell anyone.  As Gramps would say, "that's all right' as we would get through to the other side.  Granny, I have 9 dogs.  You probably already know that by now.  There at the end, you would always ask how many dogs I had and I would say, "they are like potato chips, you can't have just one" but I would never tell you.  Indeed it is nine but I know you understand as you had that special place in your heart for the likes of Bonnie and Cinnamon and the others.

It's funny, when I handed you that letter I copied, the one Gramps had written you when he was in the war, you said you could not wait to spend some time with him.  I know you missed him very much.   As I left your room there in the retirement living village, I knew I would not see you again.  You passed, or crossed the rainbow bridge as we dog folks like to say, just as I made it to Kentucky.  For the first time in my life, I know you finally got to see my dogs run.  And run they did! 

Granny, I love you beyond words.  I am so thankful for all you invested in me and taught me. I want to be a Granny just like you when my time comes.  I know your life was not easy but you were so strong. It's days like today, the strawberries on and memories of Bebe's drifting in through my truck window with their scent, that I begin to feel the ache of missing you.

Rest In Peace, Granny of mine.

Until I see you again, I promise I will

Seize the Day!