Saturday, December 31, 2011

a good year

Sophie and I took what has become our annual trip up north to the cottage for a few days after Christmas. It has become one of my favourite traditions for the holidays....leaving the hustle and bustle of work and the city behind for a couple of days so my girl and I can hang out by the fire and walk on the snowy trails together. So we can just be. I don't even take my ipod on those winter walks up north. I listen to the branches of the fir trees dip and creak under the weight of the snow, I listen to my dog's paws hitting ground as she jumps over logs on the path and I listen to the quiet. And I often think about the year that has past and the one that lays before us.

2011, like most years, was filled with a few big moments and many small ones: Sophie and I ran our first 10K together; I won the Buddy award and was promoted at work; a nephew was born, a nephew started walking and a nephew started school; there was sunshine for Girl's Cottage Weekend; the whole family was together for Christmas and many of the long weekends in the summer; I watched my Sophie fly over an agility course again. It was a good year.

Like most people, I have big plans for 2012...resolutions have been made. And I will do my best to see them through so that this time next year, I am looking back, proud of what I have done. However, even if all those plans don't get accomplished...even if all I can say at the end of 2012 is that: I gave my Sophie and Elora a great year; I spent some wonderful summer weekends and the holidays with my whole family; I laughed with my very best girlfriends; I worked hard at my job, then I will be able to was a good year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

my true north

I was at a training course for work this week where I was asked about meaningful moments in my life...moments or events that have affected me and changed me. And even though I work in the pet industry, I still found myself hestitant to mention that bringing a dog into my life was one of most profound, life changing, events ever for me. I was still unsure about how people and even my colleagues would react to it might be percieved. But this course emphasized the importance of finding your true self...and how that would impact and help me as a leader. So, I got brave about the lessons my Sophie, and all the other dogs I have met along the way, have taught me, and I shared that experience with no holds barred.

And what I found was the same reaction that I find everytime that I talk about Sophie: I found comraderie...and empthay....and engagement....and that people were inspired. I found like souls. Or as Anne Shirley from Green Gables would say...I found kindred spirits. And it wasn't because I was speaking "dog" persay to group of pet was because I was being genuine...and authentic about the experiences in my life. If I had to put it in it's most basic and fundamental language...Sophie guided me to my most authentic self. And that is what has made the difference. That is where I have found joy...because that is where I have found me. And that is what truly resonates with people...authentic experiences.

It took me a long time to get here...and I never saw it coming....a life found from following a dog. And the lesson, I think, is to be open to unexpected experiences because you never know where they will lead matter how small they may seem. If you are willing to throw your whole heart into those experiences they will change you....and you will never see the world the same again. I looked into the eyes of a dog one day and felt life change....I felt a shift in consciousness. From a dog, of all places. And it's a story that I tell again and again, even when I am unsure of how people might react, simply because it's the most profound truth that I's a story that has real meaning. And I am hoping that my truth not only helps other lost souls find solace , but that it will help them realize that inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of long as you are open to it. I do know that I was I was lucky...Sophie found me when I needed her the most, even though I didn't know it then. Because I never would have guessed that when I brought this tiny puppy into my life that she would end up being my true north...guiding me to the life I was meant to be living. So find your compass in this world..find your true north....because it will never fail to lead you to authentic joy.