Friday, January 14, 2011

2011 Resolutions and a Blog Redesign

SMART Goal Icon
With the beginning of a new year so too the New Years Resolutions.  The training goals for the dogs have been an annual tradition in recent years.  But I found myself not looking at the list during the year except when we would come home from a trial with a Q.  I decided that the training goals weren't really helping me shape my dog training or positive aspects of my year; only disappointments if goals weren't reached.  While the goals were classically acceptable "SMART" (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals,  I wasn't feeling much attachment to them so they didn't weigh in to my decision making process.

Adaptable Goal Icon
I decided 2011 needed goals that were more adaptable to opportunities that came along.  Such as my in-the-planning trip to New Zealand in March with Linda.  I want to keep balance in my life so that one activity didn't take over the energy flow to the detriment of others.  I needed a solid platform to launch from but I wanted to keep from getting tossed off the trampoline as I bounced to try things.  I pondered what adaptable goals looked like... they looked more "mindful" but they contained movement and fluidity.

Balanced Living Radii Chart or Wellness Wheel
Okay I was getting somewhere... I liked the concept of an adaptable balance.  But what was I trying to balance?  There is the classic triad from yoga - body, mind, and spirit.  The engineer in me struggles with mind and spirit as 2 separate and equal parts.  And how did I determine if I was balanced?  I searched on the internet for ideas and came across balanced living circles that divided a circle into 8 equal parts.  One chart evaluated these 8 aspects of your life in a radii chart - cool!  This engineer can do charts! But 8 ASPECTS to evaluate?  Oh my ... too complicated.  Well this 8 aspect balanced life concept wasn't what I wanted either!

Tibetan Sand Mandala
The circle is the classic symbol for wholeness - a circular representation of the cosmos.  Circles denote closure and inclusiveness.  Mandala is a Sanskrit word for circle.  As a sacrad art for Buddhists and Hindus, mandalas are used in mediation - their practice of mindfulness.  Mandalas typically contain concentric circles in geometric pleasing patterns with vibrant colors.  In Christianity, a variant on the mendala form is found in the Celtic cross and rose stained-glass windows.  The mandala concept was appealing to my eye with their vibrant colors and flowing lines.  Modern mandala designs are not as rigid as the 8 spoked wellness wheel.  The adult in me wants calm and order in my life but the kid in me wants life to be fun, flowing, dynamic, and colorful like the mandalas I was viewing.  I'm getting warmer I told myself.

The blog feeds on my iGoogle page include Stonesoup, a minimalist cooking blog - Jules is committed to 5 ingredients/10 minutes.  Her concept is simple and straightforward but she presents a wide variety of cooking styles and food choices within her minimalist cooking framework.  For several months now I have tried to do the same in the kitchen.  I want simple success and less stress in the rest of my life too.  Well maybe I didn't need a series of New Years Resolutions but a simple mantra like Jules has with her 5 ingredients/10 minutes.  Eureka!  The moment of Epiphany.  I needed a mantra for 2011.  Maybe my dogs each needed a mantra(s?) to supplement my "mindfulness" mantra practice for 2011.

CHERYL'S 2011 MANTRA - So what would my mantra be for 2011?  Body, mind, and spirit was too vague a concept for the engineer.  I found another tried and true nugget of wisdom - health and happiness.  I have settled on the mantra of
for 2011.  It is snappy, simple and forces balances in my life by its very nature.  Okay that takes care of me.  But what about my canine companions?

GRACES'S 2011 MANTRA - For Grace I wish her to find the art and Zen of
I believe this will lead to her connecting with her inner agility dog.  I also wish for her to find the zen of obedience so that we may compete in wildcard utility - minus the judge doing the stand for exam!

BERN'S 2011 MANTRA - For Bern I wish him to find his
I know this will require lots of extra yummy cookies but he can do it! We also hope to work on confidence in tracking.

TEDS'S 2011 MANTRA - For Teds I wish him a healthy and happy year in his older dog years.

I stepped out and redesigned the blog.  The background photo was taken in the Japanese Garden at Bellingrath on our 2009 "baycation" to the Mobile, Alabama area.  This year the blog is going with more Zen design as I try for mindfulness and balance... stated in a simplistic way that I can remember and recite often!
  Healthy, Happy, and Whole.