Ride My Righteous Wave

So life goes in cycles, but it also goes in waves.

Therefore we are not only recognizing that life functions naturally in a non-linear (and therefore inherently non-binary) manner.

We could go even further and dig into the fact that by this day and age we typically exist in a 2D, 3D, and 4D state simultaneously, but we’ll ride that wave when we meet it.

Say your cyclic pattern is like mine: Morning has been socialized as high stress from an early age. You feel automatic need to avoid stress in the morning by procrastinating. This is like knowing you have to surf or kayak to work (bear with me, you land lovers).

To my fellow JC and NYC folks, picture this:

The Hudson and East rivers have been gently helped to regain their nontoxic, god intended state by means of us backing off and letting it.

Because of this, you gain the option of enjoying a ride to work of your own means. No ferry (kesalul, ferry), no commute charge (kesalul, transit workers), just you and the river.

You wake up and look at your wave and weather app. You’ve already gotten good at feeling weather again, because it has become a more tangible part of your life. You see the skies are going to be clear but (shock of all shocks to we JC folk) it’s windy. The waves are rolling in, which means you’re going to have recreational wave riders in addition to the standard commute crowd. There will be interference from waves makes by other people all over the place. Their ripples will inherently interact with your’s.

Are you stressed yet?

If so, why?

Part of how we as a domesticated species (and yes, dogs do this too) deal with excessive stimuli is we block it out. Dissociate. And while dissociation (the ability to shut down so we can flow without force) is a healthy coping mechanism, like anything else too much is detrimental to our ability to function in a healthy society.

As our society in the US is not a healthy one due to colonistic imperialism, aka in our case white supremicist tyranny, and it’s need to deny that life naturally goes in cycles and waves, we are taught dissociation is our only course of action while shaming us for it (tv/internet/phone esp). In turn, we block out the shaming of reality by dissociating more, and while present, finding ways to self shame into further dissociation.

“Tyber this is way too heavy and you already stressed me out.”

I understand ya’ll, and I’m sorry. But without replicating through story the reason for the story at all, there’s no story. Stress allows us to learn.

Each ripple is a trigger, and each trigger can aid you in just flowing along. The key is to not overthink it from your own lense. Go with the flow.

So if stress allows us to learn, how do we differentiate between healthy and unhealthy stress?

Our waves and cycles.

If I know my cycle is to wake up in the morning dreading what’s to come, I instead let it do the work.

If I begrudge brushing my teeth, washing my face, doing my qigong, and showering, I will not follow through.

But if I remove my pre-existing notions, trained in by decades of unhealthy stress, and open my eyes to my day, then I find I am no longer pre-triggered.

Now don’t get me wrong: being Mi’kmaq, two spirit, trans, disabled, nonbinary, the list goes on, in a world that tells me I can not have an ID with my gender, a land without colonistic rule, infostructures that are designed to aid my health, safety from (and the dismantling of a system where) a large percentage of the population views me as an exotic object (or an evil monster out to corrupt the minds of your children), well..

It can be hard to get out the bed in the morning.

And I am extremely light skinned.

That’s is a direct shout out to you POC who deal with this.

This is also a shout out to all my trans & nb folk, esp my AMAB siblings.

Wela’lin for waking up today.

“Ty this is still stressful!”

Life is stress. But you’re learning something:

I wake up everyday and I tell mntu, life, god, to handle it.

After all that’s what I’m here for. To follow that wave.

The less dissociated from stress I am, the less difficult it is.

If I go to kyack off the beautiful pier at Liberty or Marin or Exchange, and I go into it seeing every ripple as a threat, then they are.

I have made them threats.

I’m not saying there aren’t people that make those ripples that aren’t automatically hating on me. They all got up with their preconceived notions too.

But if I’ve learned anything in my long (for a trans ndn) life it’s that worrying for those waves, those ripples, do not help me.

They in fact, help no one.

Because when those ripples happen, they are there to steer you on your kyack.

They take away your effort.

They allow you to coast

Surf

Sail your way into harbor.

Next time we’ll touch on nonbinaryism of triggers (triggers are not negative vs positive, they are both at the same time), and with it we’ll have some fun little graphs and charts of relative frequency overlaying with variable intensity.

I am MNTU

I woke up this morning triggered.

Mornings already the hardest time for me. Morning, and right before sleep. This has never not been the case.

And reasons could range from being socialized early on to traumatic REM states of childhood mntu* unmanaged, to or many other things linked to being puoin, Mi’kmaq, mixed, trans, disabled, etc.

One could worry about it – but if the reason is meant to surface, it will.

So how did I fix it?

I didn’t. It balanced out on it’s own.

I rode my riteous wave, because life goes in cycles.

And I’m mntu*.

*MNTU: the Holy Spirit of everything

I’ve been having cluster migraines, numbness in my hands, and other forms of emotional and energy disturbances, so in addition to Qigong purging, I’ve been grounding down on the anxiety that attempts to rise with my natural life cycles.

This, to some, likely sounds like garble. Even simplified, the practice of following cyclic rhythms is not only denied most Americans (and at the very least, to those living in oppression), but is shamed.

The idea that one’s physical and mental means are mirror to one’s emotional and spiritual state is generally rebuffed as being new age, granola, and other terms used by white supremacy and other colonist tactics make those of us still very much involved and attached to our root heritages incapable of maintaining a healthy, mindful life.

And yet this morning as I canceled clients in a glow of pain and compassion for myself (one of the hardest things for me to attain), I felt what would have been a clawing anxiety dissipate. Grounded back to zero, repeating my personal mantras through meditation, these concerns that I suddenly was a horrid person for having individual, diverse health needs that came before all else, including pulling in needed income, went back to the void from which they came.

“Wela’lin.” (Thank you)

As Mantra Pet proceeds forward, I will be riding my wave, walking my path, respecting my cycles, and doing what I’m meant to. This means continuing to allow colonistic works ideals that I have bought into to the detriment of my and other’s health and cycles to die out. Be zero’d. Go back to the void, instead of being stuck where they do not belong.

I will not worry how my time is spent, it will be spent how it is meant to.

I will not try to fix what is put before me, it will cycle as it is meant to.

I will not tell life I know better, because I designed this as I am meant to.

I look forward to where we are headed

but I will patiently land

Where ever

I am

What a busy year!

Buttons 2017

Buttons 2017

Hello folks!

Now that Ty and I have had some time to settle into beautiful Jersey City, we're hoping to bring you more site updates in the upcoming weeks. 

While we refine a few new articles to post, here are a few exciting things we would like to share with you:

  • Hound About Town and Mantra Pet are working together to assemble community pack walks every other week this summer! Our first pack walk had a great turnout and we look forward to seeing more of you there in the future. Keep an eye out for flyers posted at Hound About Town as well as on our event page!
  • Ian is now open to booking new clients for pet photography. We are offering a 10% discount on any photo packages (and an additional 10% off for active Mantra Pet training clients) booked before September 2017!
  • Ty has dusted off our instagram to start posting photos and short videos of client pups during their training sessions, if you haven't already, follow mantra_pet on instagram for more cute updates! :)
  • In the upcoming weeks, we plan to launch a monthly online newsletter! The newsletter will have updates regarding any local events on our radar, answers to frequently asked questions, a review/advice column ("written" by our fluffy friends), and more. We will be sending out an email to current clients as well as adding a button to the front page to subscribe to the mailing list once we've started!

We are so excited to be bringing you more content and look forward to updating you again soon!

Ian & Ty

How busy can we be?

Very!

Seems we've taken JC by storm, and I'm happy to say Mantra Pet is currently happily filling our schedule with pets and owners in desperate need of behavioral counseling. Seeing so many pets succeed so quickly is a dream come true.

I'm also very happy to announce that our first catification project in JC has begun with a client - baby on the way, multicat home, and an excitable pooch too! Perfect formula to get vertical kitty realty rolling in an apartment setting.

Expect actual article updates shortly - a piece on "Force Free" training, as well as a Catastrophe: Multicat Tension in the Home are both sitting on my desktop, waiting for my hands to free up a smidge.

 

Dogs Living with Disability: Mudra

 Mudra stands at the baby gate, eyes a soft almond shape, tongue lolling in a spoon shape, filling his lungs like he just ran a race. Like he is overheated. Like he has been playing.

 In actuality, he just awoke from a brief nap, and sometimes this upsets him.

When people talk to me about dogs with anxiety, I used to think of my old crew: Chen, Dougal, and Midas. Three dogs so completely different, but all lived happily and safely to ripe old ages (16, 13, 12) with emotional and mental disabilities. Dogs that were considered in the field to be extreme cases, and scheduled to be euthanized before they found their way to me.

Now a days when I talk anxiety, my old pack are my “severe” examples. Mudra, when not managed or cared for appropriately, is my “1%”. “1%” is a classification I have met four times in my life, with the inclusion of Mudra. All dogs these dogs had a genetic makeup that drove them to mania and impulse control disorders. All dogs that could not shut it off easily (or at all) on their own, which was then compounded by negative or a total lack of life experiences.

As I write this, Mudra stares, and waits. He has been out to potty before said nap, we had a play session earlier than that, and he is currently having a minor version of one of the explosive panic attacks that once plagued our household. Naps and other forms of inactivity are his biggest trigger, and he wants me to fix it. Now.

When I turn to look at him, it’s slow. Disinterested. My eyes are also soft, sleepy almond-shaped. I blink once and take a full three seconds to complete that single blink, ending it with a deep inhale through my nose, exhaling it the same way. After about another four seconds, I repeat the blink, breathing normally, and look back to my computer.

I have told him that I see him, and am busy. My closed mouth shows him that I want space, that I am not going to play right now.

Five minutes later, Mudra leaves the gate and enters Bowie’s crate, scratching the bed.

“Mudra. Off.” comes out of Ian’s mouth before mine. The scratching intensifies for a second, and then stops, as he doesn’t hear us coming to engage with him.

Sitting, panting in the open crate, Muds takes another two minutes to walk out into the middle of the living room and lay down.

Once upon a time, Mudra could not sleep loose. He would spin, bite himself, claw walls, screech, hyperventilate, and methodically destroy things. Every animal in sight would be harassed, panic would be pushed on everyone in his vicinity. A single look from us led to play bows mixed with warning teeth as he would fight his own internal conflicts of “Come here play don’t touch me get away”. This was his life, and our life with him.

Once upon a time, Mudra could not self-soothe in nonharmful ways. Now, he’s my emotional support dog.

As I write this entry, Muds has finished up his breathing exercises on the floor, which he does for himself, by himself, when he knows he needs them. When I pass by him to get food or water from the kitchen, I’m met with a glance from him as he lays flat on his side on the floor, breathing slowly, eyes alert but softening again. The most I possibly do is give him a thumbs up as I’m heading out of the room, if that. I don’t do more than glance at him, because by now I know when he needs me to let him concentrate. I can not be a distraction to him, if I want him to succeed.

As I close this, he’s now curled up in bed, having gotten through another panic attack thanks to a combo of Settling/Calming behavior mods, and a prescription medication that allows his mind to slow down enough to think properly (instead of in a 24/7 manic state of sleep or panic). A medication we hope to one day minimize, but accept that he may be one of those rare dogs that need it for life.

I live with a dog who succeeds every day despite obstacles and quirks that would leave him homeless.

I live with a dog with emotional and mental disabilities.

 

Over the next few months, one of our topics will be Mudra's story, as we highlight animals living with emotional and mental disabilities.

Mantra Pet Pals Highlights: Chloe

As we run about to meetings, create partnerships and make friends in the community, and continue to get things rolling here in JC, we once again can't give enough thanks to the people and pets in RVA that we've known over the years. So with that said, it's highlight time!  I met Chloe, a cattle dog/anatolian mix when Rowan first started coming to basic manners classes, and despite being a bitty tween at the time, Chloe graduated and excelled at not only Basic Manners, but Calm Dog as well. We all still laugh about Chloe showing her skills on one of the many manners courses, giving Settles when other dogs gave standard Downs, and then learning to differentiate between the two. I can still hear other students in my head right now:

As we run about to meetings, create partnerships and make friends in the community, and continue to get things rolling here in JC, we once again can't give enough thanks to the people and pets in RVA that we've known over the years. So with that said, it's highlight time!

I met Chloe, a cattle dog/anatolian mix when Rowan first started coming to basic manners classes, and despite being a bitty tween at the time, Chloe graduated and excelled at not only Basic Manners, but Calm Dog as well. We all still laugh about Chloe showing her skills on one of the many manners courses, giving Settles when other dogs gave standard Downs, and then learning to differentiate between the two. I can still hear other students in my head right now:

"Wait, are we supposed to have our dogs do that?"   Nope! Chloe was just showing off her extracurriculars.  With a move that took two months instead of a few weeks, Rowan reached out when we were scrambling to make things fit and stepped in to help out, further showing that people can and will go above and beyond to help one another (something we all share in  common).

"Wait, are we supposed to have our dogs do that?"

Nope! Chloe was just showing off her extracurriculars.

With a move that took two months instead of a few weeks, Rowan reached out when we were scrambling to make things fit and stepped in to help out, further showing that people can and will go above and beyond to help one another (something we all share in common).

Our Bowie is still missing Chloe and Rowan (Mudra adjusted a little faster, but that's Muds for you), and we often joke about the fluffkids skyping together. We look forward to Chloe growing into an adult, and all the antics that will come her way (especially with her new kitten pals).  Miss you both (and Tilly too)!

Our Bowie is still missing Chloe and Rowan (Mudra adjusted a little faster, but that's Muds for you), and we often joke about the fluffkids skyping together. We look forward to Chloe growing into an adult, and all the antics that will come her way (especially with her new kitten pals).

Miss you both (and Tilly too)!

In An Awesome Wave

It has only been four days, and in that time I have met so many people that already have made me feel that not only have Ian and I done the right thing by going through the "two-month move of terror" as I now call it (or hellmove when I'm really needing a laugh), but that this was meant to be.

My SCORE mentor Sue Melamud is a dream, I can already say I can't adore her enough. She was just the additional confidence booster I needed. Talk about positive reinforcement! Next week we head into the SBA offices and paperwork continues rolling.

Ian and I hit up both Hound About Town locations on Wednesday (I actually had to check my calendar to be sure of what day it was - it's been that full of a half-week!) and got our furkids their bags of food, and started chatting about getting in on the Force-Free Trade initiative, where owners can trade in their prongs, shocks, chokes, and other equipment for more humane and reliable means (Freedom harnesses, Gentle Leaders, etc). Next week we'll be sitting down and getting things rolling!

Thursday I met with Jeff and Steve of Club Barks and toured the daycare/boarding facility, talked classes and major donation event opportunities to give back to the community, and was invited to Dog Days of Summer down by Zepplin Hall. Ian and I will be there tomorrow talking to people in the community, meeting ups and their people, and likely enjoying plenty of photography from Ian later!

Just as I thought the week couldn't get any more full of meeting some fantastic people, I was contacted by Mary Ann at Downtown Dog Walk (who was on my email list to contact Saturday or Sunday - she beat me to it! I love it!) and we had a fantastic talk on the phone. Can't wait to sit down in people and trade stories and ideas.

And to top it all off, our google listing launched just an hour ago. I know my clients back in RVA are waiting in the wings to give their reviews, and any excuse to talk to them about life in general is an excuse I take, so they'll be hearing from me bright and early tomorrow morning.

 

On a totally separate note, expect pictures soon of Mudra in his TokiDoki travel bag, which I picked up today showing a friend around Chinatown. He's already pretty hyped to get rolling on the Lightrail, but I as usual want to make sure he's truly comfy before we take our first trip. That said, I think between his stepping into the bag and giving my the "let's work!" eye and the fussy face I received when the bag was put away (hey, training time was over!) means I might need to take my minimutt down to Liberty Park and Paul's Hook for long-line recalls, freestyle, and settle work a little sooner than planned!

Thanks for being amazing, Jersey City. I'm pretty sure I'm already in love with the place.

Reaching Out

With the apartment unpacked and the myriad of things finally in place that come with getting a new apartment situated, I was able to finally sit down this morning and start contacting people in the area (beyond just Liberty Humane) to start networking with.

I was looking forward to networking most of all with Jenna Teti, but was taken by surprise that she's headed out to Colorado! Seems the past few months is a whole lot of passing others while they do their own major life changes (behaviorist Hannah Mercurio in RVA who was once a LI resident being another example). None the less, I sent a good-luck and networking email her way, and the morning was spent full steam ahead on contacting shops, rescues, daycares, and the like to start getting to know everyone here in Jersey City and in NYC (I can never get called under-zealous, can I?).

Like everything else, this networking is another reminder to remember to be mindful of my own limits. Emails get spread out to minimize the typing and keep my arms healthy, and exercise about town (walking and arm exercises) is constant while remaining respectful of the heat. I can't wait to get the boys out to Berry Park and Liberty Park to get their own fun work in (long line recalls, freestyle, settling, etc), but hopefully, next week will be cooler.

Mudra is already walking along the Light Rail platforms with no issue, and soon he'll be learning to hop in a bag to wander the city with me. Brings back memories of Chen back in the day and how much he loved the 6 train and the L in NYC

Emails from clients & friends back in RVA are a nice morning reminder, but always have a tinge of sadness as everyone adjusts to the transitions of my not being there to help out. My hope is things will smooth over quickly, and any ripples in the water will make for great changes for everybody.

When Walks Get Scary: Bowie Moves to the City

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No one is ever fully prepared for when reactivity comes into their dog’s life; the surge of energy always surprises the owner just as much as the dog. Seasoned trainers and behavioral councelors are no different. Yet there are things you can do, preferably with the aid of a trainer or counselor experienced in phobias, desensitization, and a complete lack of force/punishment training.

While Mudra seems to be in his element with living in Jersey City after a life in the countryside of Virginia, Bowie showed his houndyness on day two. Mudra is showing his own minor signs of understandable stress (we’ll go into that later), but Bowie has developed the tell-tale lunging for home behavior to the end of his walk, as well as wanting to bolt across the street, and generally being on the edge of his threshold during walk time. While inside definitely was a calmer place for him, we still had a telltale sign of his discomfort: Bowie refused to nap on the couch, which is prime realty to our houndie.

We’re on our second weekend now, and Bo’s ability to decrease his anxiety is right on schedule. Last night he climbed the couch and flopped bodily on Ian’s legs, and his tail has been wagging in the mornings before his walk.

Are the walks easier? Somewhat. So if his walks aren’t all better, how is he making progress?

Because reactivity can sometimes take a few weeks (or months), to work through depending on the animal. In the case of phobia in extreme cases, it can take longer.

Now in mornings Bowie heads out the front door and whines. He whines the whole walk. And we do not attempt to quiet him or shush him. We also don’t make concerned voices, anxious sounds, or anything too exciting in tone. Both Ian and I talk calmly in a relatively level fashion the entire walk.

Why?

Vocalization is the common step for most dogs that are finding their comfort zone, and if they’re not forming a nasty habit, they should be allowed to work through that necessary step of expression. Some dogs totally skip it (a qualified trainer or behavioral counselor knows how to identify this, and should be sought if your dog is showing repeated stress vocalizations). Due to Bowie’s genetics, disposition, and level of anxiety in adapting to the city, the behavior is expected.

He’s now past the tightly shut mouth and silent, wide eyed panting. His walking is typically much looser and relaxed, with what can seem like random bursts of anxiety or stress where he will whine louder, sit down quickly, or make a motion to weave about instead of walking mindfully. But are these behaviors actually random?

Not in the least.

It’s hard to inhibit stressful responses. Any animal that puts that much effort into trying to self soothe and keep their head on straight is going to have moments of panic. To try and force an animal to not feel any form of fear or stress is detrimental and typically causes more damaging behavior in the long run.

So how are we sure that this is helping our big brave Bowie out?

He’s happy to go for that walk. Tail wagging before we go, exhausted but calm when we return home (and right now his walk is only 4 blocks). At his checkpoints his body is loose despite whining, and he will lay down on his own in these places. When he does feel stressed, he typically stops moving at all or pulls off to the side, creating a natural break and an ability to think, instead of allowing his stress to overwhelm him. Allowing him to make better decisions.

He’s doing well, and he’ll continue to do even better as we progress if we maintain our patience and consistently stay within his threshold.

What a Month!

It's been a month since my last update, and during that time we've moved in, set up the house, and started to get the boys adjusted. As things finally fall into place here with Mantra Pet in Jersey City, updates will become far more frequent.

As of the 25th, I'll be attending orientation at Liberty Humane Society to begin donating volunteer hours to the shelter. My hope is to be able to lend them my services as much as I'm capable, with a minimum of 2-5 hours a week, if not more if the Sponsor a Pet idea gets off the ground! Only time will tell.

Beyond that, it's all kinds of paperwork time. I'll be meeting with my SCORE mentor on Weds to help me get this business rolling, our Google Maps listing has it's verification code in the mail (will take a week or so to get to me), and I'm researching LGBTQ owned small business grants and the like.

But enough about set up - our next post will get us back on track with talking reactivity and phobias!