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February 2004
Success Harmony Newsletter


As anyone who has ever visited my home at dinner time knows, my dog has an incredibly embarrassing habit. One that has made my face red numerous times, one that I have tried to stop with zero success, one that has made visitors contort their face with a sarcastic "where did she pick THAT up?" question. It is the same habit that brought me to tears recently after I saw it again. This time was just a few days after a surgery which removed a grapefruit-sized lump of cancer and tissue from an old injury.

My female Dalmatian is about 5 months shy of turning 14 years old. This is a pretty good feat for a dog her size. As she has been growing older, there are a few things she doesn't like to do as much. The growing lump didn't help either. Although her spirits and her appetite have remained the same, her body has definitely slowed her down. I have slowly come to accept it and have forgotten about some of the things she has liked to do over the years. Like the awful pillow-humping thing.

I want to make it perfectly clear that I have no idea where she picked this up. Female, well behaved dogs are not supposed to do this. I do know that it became a nightly ritual for me to fight her off from trying to make passionate love to a pillow on my couch. Eating her dinner turned her on. Going for a walk turned her on. Going for a walk, returning with dirty paws, and then eating was the sure-fire combination for a 5-minute pillow encounter. The more important a visitor came to my home, the more passionately she liked to show off. Maybe she heard that she could earn a few dog bones by performing this in some low budget Internet movie.

When I brought her home from her surgery, she had a six-long incision on her neck and slept for the next 24 hours. When I heard that, aside from the injury-related tissue, there was cancer in the removed lump, I cursed the whole mortality thing. As I watched life come back into her eyes and start playing with her toys, I figured she might not be finished off yet. I took her for a short walk and gave her dinner, having long forgotten about what that combination used to mean. Having finished her dinner, she ran straight to the couch and attacked the pillow. I laughed and cried all at the same time. How ecstatic was I to see this embarrassing habit all over again. How much would I give to be able to see it daily for the next 10, 20, 30 years…

Do you have people around you - a spouse, a child, a parent, a coworker, a boss, maybe? - a person you care about but whose one or two bad habits drive you up the wall? What do you focus on more? Doing your best to "fix" them, or looking beyond the flaws to the best that person has to offer? When you think of your teenager, what do you think of? The loud incomprehensible music they play? The strange body piercing ornaments and artificially frayed jeans they wear? The sleepless nights you've stayed up angry that they ignored your curfew orders? Or do you look beyond all that - are you glad that they have a healthy body they CAN pierce, that there is enough money for them to HAVE music, and that ignoring curfews means they have an independent mind they CAN (for better or worse) use?

All of us have flaws. The funny thing is that, often times, it is those very same flaws that make us unique and memorable. So, how about next time, when you are about to say some version of "You ALWAYS do this to me! Stop it!" to someone you care about, stop. Look at this person and, instead, say, "you know, this thing drives me crazy, but if you were no longer around, I would miss it because it is part of you just as much as all the other great things I love about you. So, thank you for being you. The good and the bad. I wouldn't have you any other way."

You never know. They just might accept your little flaws a bit more, too…

Happy accepting, sunshine and smiles,



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"If you want to keep your memories, you first have to live them."
Bob Dylan

"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city."
George Burns

"The more credit you give away, the more will come back to
you. The more you help others, the more they will want to
help you."

Brian Tracy




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© 2002 Pavla Michaela Polcarova, CPR Coaching Services, Vancouver, BC, Canada