Monday, 12 December 2016


Following on from my ‘Aspirations’ blog; a number of thoughts enter my mind and a few lessons have been learned.

What is abundance, and what does it have to do with aspiring to greatness?

When I embarked on this journey of discovery one of the first teachings I came across was “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. “The Secret” taught me about the universal law of manifestation (another topic altogether) and that the Universe is abundant: abundant enough to see to all my needs and beyond, and that I have a right to participate in and enjoy this abundance.

Recently, I learned that in order to ‘claim’ my share of abundance, I must embrace myself and live fully in all my beauty and glory. This resonates with me. If I do not step up and be everything I can be in this world, then I am not fulfilling my role in the Universe. If I am living ‘small’ and not owning and using my talents then what contribution am I making to this abundant Universe. Nothing! And so I have no right to its abundance.

So, I ask again, “Do you aspire to greatness?”

I most certainly do! I am participating 100% in my abundant life!

You know what breaks me? When someone is visibly excited about a feeling or idea or a hope or a risk taken, and they tell you about it but preface it with: ‘Sorry, this is dumb but – ‘.

Don’t do that.

I don’t know who came here before me, who conditioned you to think you had to apologise or feel obtuse. But not here. DREAM so big it’s silly. LAUGH so hard it’s obnoxious. LOVE so much it’s impossible.

And don’t you ever feel unintelligent. And don’t you ever apologise. And don’t you ever shrink so you can squeeze yourself into small places and small minds.

GROW. It’s a big world. There’s room. You fit. I promise.”
-       Owen Lindley

Tuesday, 29 November 2016


Do you aspire to greatness?

My dad was a farmer, to support his family he worked the land, and raised cattle. One evening, when I was five, he came home from the fields and I declared to him, in my young enthusiasm, that I was going to be a vet.  Twenty years later, after what felt like a marathon of study and learning, I achieved that goal. I fulfilled that aspiration, and then came to realise that the hard work had only just begun! I was fortunate to become a partner in a veterinary business fairly soon after qualifying and I thought I would stay there until retirement.

Contrary to my expectations (and dare I say ‘aspirations’), the Universe had other ideas for my life. After a series of challenging detours and roadblocks, my career took a very different path. Today I find myself in the field of small animal physical rehabilitation which is a new and exciting profession and filled with its own, unique set of aspirations.

This journey has caused me to ask a number of questions about the nature of success and achievement. What determines greatness? Does the deemed status of a chosen profession determine greatness? Or is greatness measured in the currency of wealth? Does the ability to affect another person’s life determine greatness? Is a medical doctor any greater than a personal assistant? Does the status and extent of one’s followers and fans determine greatness? Does the life of Bill Gates have more value than the one led by Mother Theresa?

We all have a deeply embedded set of personal values, and these differ from individual to individual. For me, greatness is defined by how much kindness, honesty, determination and generosity of spirit a person displays in his or her life.

For me greatness revolves around being the best version of me that I can be. Will I make mistakes during the process? Of course! Will I veer off in the wrong direction every so often? Most definitely! Will I hurt the people I share my life with? Most certainly but, hopefully, never intentionally. Will I steadfastly follow my calling? Absolutely! Will I be considerate and respectful to all living beings? With all of my heart.

Mindful, soulful, whole living.

Do you aspire to greatness?     I do.

Sunday, 4 September 2016


Last week I examined a patient that I have not seen for more than two years. His original problem, discospondylitis, was successfully treated and Max is fully rehabilitated. He now has a soft tissue injury, hence the consultation.

After watching Max move, the three of us (patient, guardian and I) moved inside and sat down. Max settled on the mat and I began my history-taking. About 90 seconds into the conversation Max rises, steps onto the couch next to me and lays himself across my lap! Did I mention that Max is an enormous Rottweiler?

Why am I writing this in a blog? Max gave me an affirmation – absolute and honest. He has never done this before. For the rest of the day I walked around with a goofy grin on my face and my head in the clouds. My interpretation, “You’re okay Doc. I trust you so let’s get on with it.” Behaviourists may say something else, but this is my story.

What is the significance of Max’s action?

As humans, we need to be affirmed. We want others to acknowledge our kindness, generosity, effort or good deed. As Gary Chapman discussed in his book The 5 Love Languages, affirmation is one of my love languages. For how many other people is this true?

When was the last time you complimented a team member? Or smiled at the supermarket cashier? Or bought flowers for the person you thought was so kind? (Sam, this is you).

Simple actions can make such a difference – every day.


Since writing this blog Animal Health Solutions was nominated for the 702 and Sage Small Business Awards. Now that's affirmation!   

Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Pip had a front limb amputation just over one year ago. The reason for the amputation was osteosarcoma – bone cancer. What makes Pip so exceptional? Read on to find out.

Pip had been a hydro patient for a number of years prior to her cancer diagnosis. She has osteoarthritis of elbows and wrists (carpal joints) in both front legs. When she developed a nagging, pain in her right forelimb our original thought was that it was soft tissue injury and we increased her pain medication. When Pip failed to respond to this treatment, her guardian took her for radiographs at a trusted veterinarian: the same vet who had administered stem cell therapy to aid Pip’s arthritic joints. X-ray photos revealed a very small lesion at the top of the humerus which the vet biopsied. The results were devastating! Bone cancer...

Osteosarcoma is an extremely aggressive and painful cancer which attacks and spreads to other organs in the blink of an eye. Further radiographs revealed no metastasis (spread) to the lungs. The tumour had been identified soon enough to make amputation of the affected limb a feasible option.

The tough question now was, ‘Would a 9 year old  Bouvier des Flandres weighing close to 40 kilograms, cope on one arthritic front leg?’

Pip’s lust for life and spirit were so strong that her guardian chose the amputation route. This was followed by a course of chemotherapy to ensure that any nodules too small to be noticed, were treated.

Pip’s diet was changed to one best able to combat cancer as well as to encourage weight loss. Two weeks after surgery our team members were massaging Pip to help her to deal with a change in movement patterns brought on by the amputation. We also suggested an orthotic brace to support the left carpal joint. The adaptive process took a number of months.

During this phase Pip often lost her balance, or moved too quickly, and fell, hard, onto her chin. Each time a determined Pip lifted herself up and soldiered on. She often refused assistance. Many times her guardian asked me if she had made the correct choice. Should she not have opted for palliative care or only chemotherapy, rather than have Pip struggle through this adjustment and ordeal following the amputation?

I ask again, ‘What makes Pip exceptional?’

Firstly, she has never given up. Secondly, she has never felt sorry for herself. Each time she falls, Pip rises to meet the challenge and live life. Thirdly, Pip has beaten the odds! Most osteosarcoma victims live 3 – 6 months from date of diagnosis if only palliative care is administered. If the limb is amputated and other preventive measures are taken, the survival time is 9 – 12 months. Finally, Pip is a teacher. I have learnt from Pip that there is no such thing as a wrong decision, despite the challenges we face as a result of that decision. There are only decisions made that are ‘right at the time.’ Given Pip’s incredible will to live and enjoyment of life, the decision to give her a chance was the best one.

No one was ready to say goodbye, not her guardian, and definitely not Pip. We have enjoyed Pip’s company for an extra year. Long may it continue!

P.S. Pip’s latest radiographs at 12 months post diagnosis show her lungs are still clear of metastasis. She weighs 34 kilograms. She is enjoying, and roughing it with, a new Bouvier puppy in the house.

Stem Cell Therapy

Orthotics and Braces for Animals  

Sunday, 31 July 2016


The one constant in life is change (and taxes, but that’s a different story). Most of us are afraid of change. We become comfortable with the way things are, the habits we have, and the people we see. Soon, we no longer see positives and negatives. Instead we lope along in a state of limbo. We fail to evaluate our lives, and consider what may or may not be working for us, until something happens which shakes us out of this status quo.

If we are then brave enough to take stock and have the courage of our convictions, we can make a decision to change. Hopefully it will be for the better. This process is often arduous and fraught with self-doubt. Even after we have made the decision, we second-guess ourselves. This continues until we realise that we once again have a spring in our step, we are singing in the shower, and it’s a joy to wake in the morning. How could we have been so blind?

Set this harsh criticism aside and embrace what is.

If you are facing a difficult decision or your life is dreadfully unhappy, I urge you to take the first step. Inertia will destroy you. Just do it!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

What is Right with You?

I am the Creator of my own destiny. The choices I have made have resulted in my present life. It is currently a time of great stress in that I have, once again, said, “Yes,” when I should have established a boundary. Time flies past in a blur of appointments, reports and deadlines.

When I feel overwhelmed my emotions run high. I struggle with other people’s actions and decisions which affect me. I begin to view myself as the common denominator. The result is that I turn inwards and ask, “What is wrong with me?” I have spent a lifetime asking this question.

Tonight, after a tiring and exhausting week (it’s only Tuesday) and a lunch-time melt down, I rephrased the question. “What is right with me?”

This is what I discovered. I am hard-working and honest, bold and brave, intuitive and sincere. I care. I care to the point where it is detrimental to my well-being. I love. I love deeply and am often hurt. I trust. I trust completely and find disappointment. But, despite all of this, I rise every morning and put myself out there to experience THIS life. This glorious, beautiful and frustrating life.

I am alive and the Master of my own destiny. I can choose to view this existence in any way I please. Right now, I choose to ask, “What is right with me?” I am thrilled with my answers.

I dare you to delve into those areas that society frequently asks us to deny. Be honest with yourself if I ask, “What is right with you?”

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

My Comrades Ultra Marathon Journey

On 16th June 2006 I found myself in a hospital bed in Cape Town, watching the Comrades Marathon. This was my final surgical procedure. That translated to success! I had been in and out of hospital for examinations and abdominal surgeries for the preceding two years, and more. That day, I made a promise to myself that in 2007, 365 days on, I would complete the Comrades Marathon.

Prior to my decision I had completed a few half marathons (21.1kms), none of them recently, due to my health issues. How was I to finish 89.9kms in one day? There were many seasoned runners that stated it was not possible to be adequately trained for the Comrades Marathon in that space of time, with my limited running experience. These people believed I should spend 2007 running marathons and attempt the Comrades the following year. I knew that my motivation was never going to be better than it was at the time and so I chose to ignore them all.

In October 2006 I received the ‘all clear’ from the specialist surgeon. Up to this point I had been walking and had returned to the gym to regain some muscular strength. Once the surgeon pronounced me healthy it was all systems go!

So I progressed through the training; 21.1kms, 32kms, 42.2kms (my first marathon and my qualifying event for Comrades). I have a friend who is a qualified biokineticist, and I also know a sports masseuse. I used their skills and knowledge. I followed the training schedule of the running club of which I am a member. I ate, slept and drank Comrades Marathon! The training rules your life. You are unable to go out with non-runner friends because the evening ends too late. I had to be up at 04h00 to run. Other friends serve dishes which are not conducive to gastro-intestinal health. There are not usually toilet facilities on the road! Do not imbibe the extra beer or your body will pay for it in the next session. Muscle and joint aches are a part of everyday life and still, you push yourself to run. I attended talks, devoured books and articles on the Comrades Ultra. I listened to my body.

16th June 2007 finally dawned. It was a ‘down’ run – Pietermaritzburg to Durban. Everything you see on the television and hear on the radio does nothing to prepare you for the emotion as you stand amongst thousands of runners, taking up the challenge. Chariots of Fire blares through the speakers, the cock crows and the race begins.

I completed the Comrades marathon in 11 hours 10 minutes and 6 seconds – we just missed a bronze medal. No matter. It was one of the best days of my life! I ran with my husband Hugh, all the way. The crowds buoy you. Family members support you with Marmite sarmies at the half-way point. I did not stop smiling or chirping the entire way. I trained for this! Entering the stadium, the crowd is cheering for you. What a feeling of elation.

I ached physically for a month after. The Comrades Marathon changed my life. It was such a monumental undertaking, at such an important time of my life. (Did I mention I turned 40 in 2007?) It proved to me that I can tackle the impossible and win. For days afterwards I would stare at my medal in wonder. Weeks after I would comment to Hugh, “Hey love, we finished the Comrades Marathon!”  Months on from there and I was still in awe of my achievement. Reality finally emerged. I had set an incredible goal, persevered and completed the task. I realised I can do anything provided I am motivated to do it. That has changed my life.

Every year I am involved with the Comrades Ultra Marathon in some way. I doubt I will run another because my first experience would be so hard to beat. The set of circumstances surrounding my decision was unique and a huge contribution to my success. But, I relive my race, pat myself on the back and remind myself that ALL things are possible.

What challenges you? What motivates you? What have you achieved against all odds that changed the way you perceive yourself? If you haven’t yet walked this road, what are you waiting for? It is SO worth it!!!

Sunday, 22 May 2016


This blog will probably raise some eyebrows and I hope stimulate a conversation or two. My thoughts revolve around the topic of the choice to be vegetarian, vegan or omnivorous.

Most of my vegan friends have moral reasons for choosing to forgo meat. Some have simply found that vegetable matter better suits their constitution. When one considers the moral aspect of eating meat, this involves an emotional investment in animals. I am referring to the recognition of animals as sentient beings that are being exploited for human gain. There is no regard for their natural state. They are placed in feedlots and batteries, literally force fed on unnatural feed, to produce a product for human consumption. And, quite understandably many people, myself included find this barbaric!

The second aspect of choosing veganism has to do with the manner in which animals are slaughtered. Abattoirs are a curse of modern society and its overpopulation of the planet. Transport to the place of killing is stressful and physically damaging; the manner of death is inhumane. Those animals waiting are exposed to this trauma.

Dr Temple Grandin has done much to improve these situations. She has made it her life’s mission “to educate people throughout the world about modern methods of livestock handling which will improve animal welfare and productivity”.(Click on the hyperlink above to access her website.)

Other proponents of the vegan lifestyle speak of energy acquired through consumption. Eating (whether meat or vegetable) is necessary for our survival. Eating is a conversion of energy. Energy is required to sustain our bodies.

If one considers energy in a plant, it is possible to improve the nutritional value of the vegetable harvest by growing plants not only in a nutrient-rich and chemical-free environment, but also in a loving space.
In an article titled: ‘Scientific Evidence Thoughts & Intentions Can Alter The Physical World Around Us’ (The Mind, Jan 23 2014), the work of Dr Masaru Emoto is discussed. Here the effects of words and thought on rice and water are scientifically recorded in a way which leaves the reader much more aware of his or her use of words. (Click on the hyperlink above to access the website.)
The Intention Experiment has been carrying out a series of ‘Germination Intention Experiments’ since 2007.  In these scientifically controlled experiments Dr. Gary Schwartz and his laboratory team at the University of Arizona  test whether intention can affect the growth of plants. (Click on the hyperlink above to access the website.)

So, by consuming meat that is produced in the conventional arena what sort of energy are we absorbing? Unnatural, stressed and with hormones and other additives. Would it be possible to raise animals in their natural state, with love and respect? Then, follow this with slaughter that is quick, painless and not witnessed, preceded by a prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving (as performed by many ancient tribes). How would these exercises affect the end product? Would this be a palatable option to those who still choose to eat meat?

Finally, what about the concept that plants too, are sentient? Are you sure that the reactions we measure in trees growing next to those that are cut down, are purely chemical? If you could entertain the fact that plants may have feelings (I believe they do and that we have not yet learnt to communicate with them) then what are we going to eat?

In an article entitled ‘Humanity is waking up to the intelligence of nature’, (Wake-up, Aug 2015)  Paul Lenda discusses the growing body of science supporting the view that both animals and plants display signs of sentience and should be afforded certain rights on that basis. (Click on the hyperlink above to access the website.)
In conclusion, I believe that all beings (plant, animal and mineral) have huge value. Our salvation lies in recognising and honouring their contributions. All beings deserve respect.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Soul Release

I know I have written about death before so I am in danger of repeating myself. In the preceding few weeks, many of my patients have moved onto Rainbow Bridge. Some have crossed over naturally but most have been assisted by a veterinarian. Euthanasia, in Greek, is derived from two roots: “eu” meaning well and “thanatos” meaning death. Put the two together and we have an easy and painless death or the act/method of causing death painlessly, to end suffering.

Veterinarians are unique in that we, as healers, are called upon to end a patient’s life. Through the years I have grappled with this act. I do not wish to bore you with my conscience, nor my struggles. Suffice it to say that I have found peace in this regard.

Dealing with death is an ever-changing process. As we grow and transform, so do our perceptions. I would like to share some of these thoughts with you.

Certain belief systems do not allow for the wilful ending of life. I view euthanasia as an act of compassion. If I have done all that is professionally possible to maintain quality of life, and so has my client, then I believe in ending suffering. It is the final gift I can give on this plane – release from earthly pain.

In the time leading up to the decision to euthanase, I make a point of having difficult conversations with the guardians. As people, most of us fear death – it is an unknown factor. In this instance we are called upon to face our fear. My understanding of this process is incomplete but I hold onto my own belief that our animal companions have a Soul. A Soul is energy and energy is indestructible. Energy transforms into other types of energy. This allows me to release the Soul into the next plane.

In some occasions I am honoured to be able to set up communications with the animals before they cross over. This often brings peace knowing that our companion is prepared to leave their body and begin the next stage of their journey.

In my practice I develop strong emotional ties with my clients and patients. Our therapies are based on respect. When I am asked to euthanase a patient it is an immense privilege. I have been entrusted with the last stages of life, which is so precious to all. I strive to make those moments meaningful, peaceful and stress-free.

Does any of this mean I don’t feel or cry, or hurt? Not at all. I am deeply affected by death and the emotions of my clients. This process is never easy but it is necessary. We will all die someday...

Wednesday, 6 April 2016


During the last month I have been fortunate to travel for both business and pleasure, locally and internationally.

I have a number of friends scattered along the Garden Route. All of them opened their doors and invited me into their sanctuaries. For this I am truly grateful and incredibly blessed.

The weeks preceding my journeys were filled with hectic days, brimming with appointments, business commitments and looming study and lecture deadlines. To say I was stressed would be a gross understatement. I felt I was on the brink of collapse – again.

Each one of my friends embraced me completely. I was involved in Friday evening family traditions, without a hint that I may be imposing. Others prepared the most delicious meals, all put together with love and care. Achievements were shared. I was privy to innermost feelings and fears.

I discovered aspects of my friends that I never knew. I was able to relax totally, drop all pretences, speak my mind and my heart without fear of rejection. This is such a precious gift. I thank each one of you for making it happen. I treasure the space – always.

What I also experienced in these relationships was a deep devotion to each other, complete trust and mutual respect. To experience and recognise this, once in a lifetime, is rare. To share this with four consecutive sets of people, in a short space of time, has changed my perceptions. It is utterly inspiring!

The result, at the end of the week, was more confidence and a brilliantly successful day spent presenting lectures. What fun I had!

So a huge thank you to all of these special people. Thank you for being part of my life.


Saturday, 26 March 2016


I have written about euthanasia before. And I will write about it again. Part of my journey as a veterinarian with my clients and their companions takes us right up to and across the doorway of death. It is a privilege and honour I cannot begin to explain to people who have never been there.

If you have never been loved by an animal, and if you have never realised how much you needed that love, you just won't get this story.

Tonight I gave myself permission to feel sad. Normally, I need to maintain a professional facade (which I end up taking home with me) of being calm, collected and totally okay with whatever pain or suffering I need to help my patients deal with.

But I gave myself permission not to do this, today.

Today, I euthanased a patient – a very special dog. And those who know me, know what a bitter-sweet moment this is for me.

Benjamin had been a patient at the hydro for just over four years. He came for a therapy session every week except on holidays. This is not a story about his therapy. This is a tribute to his therapeutic abilities which affected every one of us.

About 8 years ago, Benjamin’s human family was torn apart by a terrible tragedy. This story is not about that. It is rather, about the miracle of finding peace and the power to keep going, especially when you don't know how you are going to do it.

When I met Benjamin and his human companion, I had no inkling of the breadth and depth of the emotional trauma to which she had been subjected. Over the years, and the therapy sessions, the truth slowly emerged. Benjamin's human would often comment, “I would never have survived without Benjamin.”  It is easy to brush over comments like that when we hear them, because of our own level of experience. We assume it means what it would if we said it. She meant it as someone who has suffered great loss.

Later, as our therapy progressed, and the years passed, the comments would pertain to the extra time that had been created for them to revel in each other’s company. Benjamin's guardian was ever aware of the shortening days, and savoured each moment she had, to love and be loved by Benjamin.

Finally, the dreaded day arrived. All the therapists and his human family were present when I helped Benjamin to cross the Rainbow Bridge. We had prepared ourselves, mindfully and lovingly for this moment, for what seemed like a long time. It was peaceful and filled with acceptance.

Every animal companion is special. They have a gift of allowing us to feel more deeply and love completely. They allow us to share emotions with another without judgement or comment. They are able to convey the perfect amount of sympathy and compassion – without saying a word. And when it’s time to play, there is no limit to their enthusiasm and effort.

Benjamin was such a dog.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Truth and the Printed Word

“There is a human tendency to accept what appears in print as having withstood some incredible truth test.”
Rachel Page Elliott

With the advent of the information era how do we deal with the huge volume of ‘printed’ matter? How do we ascertain the validity of all that we read? What filters do we inherently possess? Are there parameters that will help us to determine truth?

I often hear, “I read it on the internet,” and the context and implication is that because it is available to read it must be true. How did this system develop? Should we overcome it?

Popular belief, and teaching, in scientific circles is that if a topic has been researched and a
paper published in a journal, then we must accept it as true and valid. I say that we need to question this notion. Research is affected by the person conducting the experiment. Bias is inherent. Scientific models set up to test theories are flawed. I believe it is possible to prove anything you want to prove provided the experiment is set up correctly.

Scientific medical research can prove the efficacy of acupuncture in managing pain. If a different phrase is placed in the search engine we can find as many articles disproving the efficacy of acupuncture. The same applies to homeopathy. Search for adult stem cell therapy and there is surprisingly little research to back up a very popular modality. Now, isn’t that interesting?!

What is my point? My point is that as an individual we must develop our own navigational system. We must actively discard societal norms that oppress us. We must strive to gain knowledge and understand topics which are close to our hearts. We must become aware of our own selves and seek intimate knowledge of who we are. Put all of this together, and when faced with a difficult question/decision we can look within. Intuitively, on a Soul and energetic level, we will find our own truth.

Friday, 5 February 2016


I have been brewing on this for a while so I shall attempt to make sense of my thoughts.

Our society is built on expectation. We are conceived and from the moment our parents are aware of a new life, there is an expectation. For example, we expect a physically perfect, healthy baby. We are born and the expectations persist. We are expected to fit into a societal ‘norm’ which dictates thoughts and behaviour. Some parents expect child prodigies and supreme athletes. Most parents don’t expect such extremes but they do place pressures on children to achieve certain academic success and sporting prowess.

As children, we are raised to believe we must meet these expectations. What a burden! As young adults we perpetuate the cycle because we know no different. To add to this, we create great expectations for ourselves, as well as for our friends and future partners. Think about the fairy tale white wedding, with a happy ending.

What’s the point? This type of living is doomed. Despite our best efforts, we remain individuals, with our own agendas (of which we are often unaware) and as such, we will often not meet our own expectations. It is also highly unlikely that we will fulfil those that others have of us. This inherently causes tension and hurt. These emotions are expressed in difficult family dynamics, failed friendships and bitter-ending romantic attachments.

I propose that we are honest with ourselves about who we are, what we believe in and what we truly desire. This takes effort and is an ongoing exercise. We are bombarded with television, social media and the busyness of our lives. How would we find the time to ‘know’ ourselves? It is much easier to lose ourselves in societal behaviours. It’s a way of life and has ‘served’ us for generations. Not true!

When we intend to discover out innermost being, we are able to appreciate our wants and needs. Then we are able to communicate these to the people we care about. But, we should not have an expectation that they will fulfil them. Other individuals are not under any obligation to meet our needs. We are solely responsible for our own happiness.

This brings me to the second concept around expectation. What if we built a world without expectation? What would happen if we allowed our children to connect with their souls to discover what makes then happy? Could we guide them to follow their passion, instead of the money? Would these children become the new generation that stands up for themselves and develops a new society? In so doing, can we accept that everyone has their own path to follow? If our paths cross and we meet each others’ needs, at the time, isn’t that beautiful? A reason to rejoice? Without expectation we could move in and out of each others’ spaces without inducing hurt or anger.

What a wonderful world!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Old Patterns and New Challenges

 In our modern, fast-paced world time is always short. In a practice that prides itself on spending time with client and patient, this also holds true. so, how does one juggle time?

A while ago I travelled to the USA to attend a physical rehabilitation symposium. I was exposed to many new and exciting possibilities. Upon my return, there was the usual demand for my expertise, always intensified when I have been away. I moved straight into my old patterns of practise. The ease with which we 'do what we have always done' is not surprising. It is efficient and saves time.

I was ambling along as usual, comfortable in my therapeutic processes. My patients were responding to therapy so why change? Recently, my boat was rocked again!

A rehabilitation colleague spent a few days at our facility. Her forte is manual therapies. She always says her hands are her best pieces of equipment, and they are the least expensive. It was a joy to watch her work. I asked her to evaluate a few of my 'tricky' patients and I gained new insight into the value of manual therapy. Whilst I do not have her experience in this field, I have much knowledge to utilise, and I have attended joint mobilisation and massage courses. I also have excellent palpation skills after years of performing acupunture. But in the face of her example, I realised how I had underutilised and undervalued these skills.

Stimulated by her demonstrations, I have focused on integrating more of these hands on techniques in my day to day routine. The results are nothing short of spectacular!

My existing patterns have been challenged and I have emerged revitalised, with a set of skills I previously failed to use because I perceived that I had insufficient time. I have adjusted my schedule to examine all the new techniques and ideas to which I have been exposed. Can I use them in my practice? Do they require extra equipment, and at what price? These are my new challenges. I intend to emerge triumphant!

I urge you to evaluate your patterns and time management, honestly. What knowledge do you have that is lying dormant, waiting for release? Explore these opportunities to break through stagnation and habit. Accept the challenge. You will be pleasantly surprised!

Sunday, 10 January 2016

The Natural Order?

More than a year ago there was a horrifying story in the news of a Husky that had chased and attacked three goats living at the neighbour. The neighbour retaliated by trapping the dog in an outside room and beating it to death. This process took more than an hour and the skull of the Husky was pulverised. The dog, however, did not die from this severe injury but rather, he drowned in his own blood. The ribs were fractured and the lungs punctured. The dog’s crime: chasing and injuring a number of goats. The punishment: death.

Why have I highlighted this story? It is gruesome. Usually my eyes flick over such excerpts because I choose not to fill my days with bloodshed, horror and negativity. I have raised this incident because there are points to be made about this scenario.

Firstly, it is never the animal’s fault.

Goats are herbivores. As such they are prey animals and not at the top of the food chain. When threatened, they instinctively run in an attempt to remove themselves from imminent danger.

Dogs are carnivores. They sit at the top of the food chain. They hunt. They are instinctively geared to chase.

Bring dogs and goats together and there is a recipe for disaster.

Should the goats (domestic animals and in our care, as humans) have suffered the attack? No.
Should the Husky (also domesticated) have been given the opportunity to chase? Should his actions have been punishable by death? No, on both counts.

These animals were being true to their nature. The set of circumstances in which they found themselves, was not their fault.

Secondly, these precious beings are our responsibility.

Both sets of humans were at fault for allowing this sequence of events. The goat owner (I dislike this word – goat guardian) should have ensured protection for his 4-legged charges. He should have erected boundaries to prevent the attack; sufficiently high walls, electric fencing, thorny barriers, noise deterrents. There are many options. Since mankind has been herding animals they have grappled with this daily dilemma. Ignorance is not an excuse. Neither is laziness or a lack of funding. By taking on the goats, the humans acquired a responsibility for their safety especially because they had no option to outrun the dog.

The dog guardian could also be in the wrong. Huskies are working dogs, bred to be on the go all day. Was sufficient care taken to stimulate this dog both mentally and physically? Was he exercised? Was he given tasks to perform? Was there adequate training? Was the human aware of the breed’s natural tendencies? Did he place boundaries to prevent this and keep his dog safe? Was the dog moved into the house when there was no human supervision? Again, ignorance is not an excuse.

Both parties must take responsibility for their role in this bloody chain of events. Playing the ‘blame game’ will only lead to further victim mentality, and possibly more revenge. Stand up and own it.

The third point is about the nature of humans. We still have a reptilian brain. When placed under pressure we revert to survival mode, so-called ‘fight or flight’. The results are often fatal.

I believe we are on this earth plane to learn. We must face physical hardships and emotional traumas. How we deal with these events is our choice. We can continue to be reactive, as in this case. Alternatively, we can consciously strive to know ourselves and our soul, making decisions from this space instead.

We must focus on setting ourselves, and our animal companions, up for success.