I’ve been talking the talk for quite awhile about stepping outside my comfort zone, but in reality, I haven’t ventured very far away from mine, if the truth be told.  But that is about to change, thanks to two amazing friends who have unwittingly challenged me to get out of my Country dancing comfort zone (and I do include WCS in that, despite the fact that I make a lot of excuses for not going very often).  I have to thank my amazing, Latin dancing friend for setting the example for me, but her voice is joined by another friend who has offered up a dance called Casino Rueda for quite some time.

A search of the internet yielded a number of groups who do Casina Rueda, and I am anxious to try my hand, or feet, as it were, at this new-for-me dance.  Watching some YouTube videos, it appears to be a less energetic version of Salsa, but high energy nonetheless, although, like all dancing, you can increase or decrease the energy level by making the moves simpler or more complicated.

Meanwhile, I am also getting off my butt to work on my two step basics which have gotten a little frayed around the edges due to lack of practice (not that I don’t dance, but social dancing isn’t the place to concentrate on improving your technique!).  I’m also hoping to take my daughter up on her offer to take my grandpuppy out for walks several times a week, getting me out from in front of the TV and computer for some fresh air, exercise and conversation.  In time, maybe we can even work up to taking Gwennie for longer hikes up in the hills.  I’m sure she’d love that, as long as we can keep her from chasing every squirrel, bunny, lizard and butterfly who crosses her hyperactive path.

(warning, tangent coming).  Every now and then, I run across pictures of people and their dogs with the theme being how people and their dogs often look alike but I’ve never seen one which talks about personality.  My daughter was diagnosed (as about 65% of children are these days!) with ADHD when she was young.  She still has trouble focusing or sitting still unless it’s something she’s interested in, and frankly, so do I.  When she adopted Gwennie, she was just a puppy (and still is at a year and a half, if you ask me!) and had all of the energy of a typical puppy and all of her litter mates combined.  I realized that the dog is much like her mistress in that they both have lots of stray energy, and when they adopted their kitten, Arthur, he exhibited many of the same traits.  So I ask you, if a dog can look like her master/mistress, can she not, too, share personality traits?  For those of us who are chosen by our animals, wouldn’t it make sense that the dog or cat can sense a person who will understand and appreciate certain characteristics because they are shared?

Heather’s cat, Scooby, who stayed with me when she moved into her own place, also shares those hyperactive tendencies, even at 10 years old!  And when we adopted a playmate for him, Munchkin was even more hyper than Scooby!  The fact is, I don’t have a single animal in my household who is truly content to just sit around and veg all day.  Even 15-year-old Patches gets in there with the best of them now and then.

Interestingly, in the years when I was more prone to sloth and negative thinking, the cats I had were a lot more mellow and were content to sleep on the bed or in my lap all day.  This could explain why Patches is rather more mellow than the rest.  While my current group of youngsters does love lap or snuggle time (Dylan isn’t much for laps, but he does like to snuggle close, either against my leg or around my head), their idea of snuggle time can be a lot more energetic.  Munchkin and Scooby, for example, go straight for the shoulder where they expect to be scratched vigorously backwards and forwards until they say they’re done.  Toby uses his considerable bulk to halt any other activities because a snuggle with him involves lap, chest, shoulders and both hands.  Imagine a hyperactive toddler covered in long, thick fur climbing into your lap and you have a pretty good picture of cuddle time with Toby.

The attraction for ADHD animals doesn’t stop at my own doorstep either.  My grandkitty, Arthur, literally runs for the door when I enter my daughter’s apartment.  He knows that his grandma will pick him up and carry him around with her, skritching him the whole time she’s talking to the human inhabitants.

Even as I sit here typing, Patches is flinging herself against my legs and Scooby is sitting on the desk, resting his head on my shoulder to get my attention.

I’m going to make a point of watching how other people interact with their animals to see if I can detect similarities in personality.  Of course, not everyone allows the animal to choose them, and with strangers, there is no way to determine whether or not they are of the same mindset as me on this subject, but it will still be a fun observation game and who knows?  I might even learn something new! 

Wow!  What an amazing day!  I got hair done and bills paid early so we could meet a friend and her beautiful Aussie at the beach so Gwennie could have a play date.  The day was so beautiful that we ended up walking about 5 miles without even knowing it!!!  Then Gwennie got to go out to lunch with us at a dog-friendly restaurant where she got her own dishes of chicken and mashed potatoes!  Lucky puppy!  And she even made a new friend while we were there!  My poor grandpuppy really needs to work on her shyness and come out of her shell! 🙂

After that, you’d think we’d be too tired to dance, but not a chance!  We did get there later than usual, but danced our feet off in a room so full of energy that the walls seemed to be vibrating!  Of course, Spring break meant that a lot of the younger crowd got there earlier than normal but there were also a lot more WCS dancers than usual and the floor was full most of the night!  We finally called it a night around 10:30, much later than usual, but I know that it’s going to take me hours to wind down, despite the fact that I’m really tired!  My mouth is yawning, but me feet are going tap, tap, tappity, tappity, TAPPITY TAP!!!  What’s a girl to do?  I might have to pull up Payphone on YouTube and practice “Fairy Tales and Love songs…Whatever” in my living room, preferably, sans the obligatory trip over a furball who doesn’t understand the concept of dancing.

While at the club, I got into a conversation with a friend about Spirituality and religious beliefs.  She made a comment about praying for me because I don’t feel comfortable with the concept of an all seeing, all knowing, all powerful single deity.  I’ve been working really hard on accepting other peoples’ beliefs without judgement or restriction, but the one area that’s always given me a knee jerk reaction is when people tell me they’re going to pray for me, usually because they think I’m unenlightened.  But I realized tonight while talking to my friend, that it really shouldn’t matter to me if they feel they need to pray for me because they’re really doing it for their own peace of mind, and it doesn’t really impact me one way or another, aside from the fact that, in doing their praying, they’re sending me positive energy.  The fact is, it doesn’t matter whether you call it praying, or sending love and light or energy or anything else, nor does it matter why you send someone good thoughts or prayers or positive energy.  What matters is that you send them whatever you send with love in your heart.  How they choose to accept or receive it is on them, just as how you choose to send it is on you.  It’s a lot like sending an intention out to the Universe.  It may or may not manifest as you’ve envisioned, but the main thing is that you sent the intention with energy and love.

We continued talking about different beliefs and how it makes life a lot more interesting to have friends who do have different beliefs because, frankly, if everyone I knew and cared about believed exactly as I do, I would get bored rather quickly.  It’s no different than having everyone around you agree with everything you think or say.  There would be a lack of original thoughts, no reason to discuss anything and new ideas would just not exist.  Can you imagine an Einstein or an Edison who lived in a world where everyone was happy as they were, got along perfectly because there was never any reason to argue or seek change or improve where they were?  I don’t know about you, but I’m horrified, just contemplating such a world!  I believe the place was filled with Stepford Wives!

I much prefer friends who challenge my ideas and make me think about them from different angles, looking for unexpected turns in the road and faults in my logic.  It makes my mind sharper and opens me up to possibilities I might not come up with if left to my own devices.  I thrive on intelligent conversations which just might tear apart everything I currently think to be true and right!  What fun to dig deeply into my own psyche and find treasures I hadn’t known were there.  But if nobody challenged or questioned what I said or thought, I might never embark on that journey which led me to a whole new way of looking at the world!  Heck, to take it a step further, I would have no reason to strive to be a better person because, by the standards of everyone I knew, we were all already perfect!  Perfectly BORING, if you ask me!!

I have learned so much in the last few years from friends who saw things differently than I do.  They have caused me to open my eyes and really look at other viewpoints.  I might still hold onto my own in some cases, but they’ve taught me to open my heart and mind and accept their ideas too, even if they don’t work for me,  because they DO work for someone else.

I come back to the fact that, not only am I Source, but everyone around me is too.  We are different facets of the same wholeness, Oneness.  And each of those facets can be looked at from many different angles so the possibilities are infinite.  And like chips in a kaleidoscope, those facets are ever changing so the image we get from one moment to the next has already changed innumerable times!  Although we can’t hope to keep up with  all of the changes, we can be inspired, energized, challenged and expanded by our interaction with those facets.

I don’t need to open a book to learn.  I simply need to open my mind and heart to all of the facets with whom I come into contact every minute, no, every second, even every nanosecond of every day!  All of the knowledge, insight and experience I could ever want is contained in those interactions which are mine for the asking!  The infinite possibilities boggle the average human mind!  But then, the average human mind would be less likely to even notice something outside of their comfort zone.

And here I’ve come, full circle.  As I move to expand my activities and take myself outside of my comfort zone, so, too, will I, of necessity, move outside of my comfort zone mentally and emotionally as well.

I can’t wait to see what is around the next corner, and the next and the next and the next…

My gratitudes tonight are:

1. I am grateful for beautiful days with beautiful friends and beautiful dogs walking and talking for hours!
2. I am grateful for friends who give me the opportunity to see things differently.
3. I am grateful for all of the loving people who make me a part of their lives.
4. I am grateful for opportunities to learn, accept and grow.
5. I am grateful for an abundance of health, both mental and physical, lessons, opportunities and prosperity.

Love and light.  

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