Several years ago, I was invited to Full Sail University to hear Stedman Graham (Oprah’s soul partner). He was speaking to the students on “identity”.
“Why is identity so important?“ he asked.
“Most people don’t realize that identity is everything.
Another question is, what happens when you don’t know who you are?
When you don’t know who you are, you can’t co-create with the world. When you don’t know who you are, you can’t take information, education, and make it relevant to your life, your purpose in life; you can’t transfer it back to your mind, and then you can’t transfer it to the American Free Enterprise system or the Market Place.“
When you have no identity, you really aren’t free.
This opportunity came to me at such a great time in my career. It was at a time when I was strong, relentless, and absolutely certain I knew who I was and what I wanted to become.
Listening to Stedman speak, was exactly the validity I needed, and I had no doubt that it had to be me who embarked on this work, which no one had courageously pursued before.
It wasn’t fame that fueled my mission… I come from humble beginnings.
In pursuit of the freedom of life, freedom of choice, freedom of space, freedom of fresh air, nature, movement and expression… I was in pursuit of all these things for myself too.
I believed in my abilities to do the work, to be inspired, to be curious, and to be open to guidance. And, I knew exactly who and what to open myself up to, and who and what to protect myself from.
“How long can you do the same thing over and over again?” Stedman asked the audience.
Say, fifty years. If you did the same thing yesterday as you will today, as you will tomorrow, what have you done?
“If you can’t define yourself by your purpose, then the world will define you by your house, by your car, by your race, by the sports team you support, and the world will put you into a box that says you can’t make it because of…“
You’re turning your power over to someone to define your potential as a human being.
Listen, your dogs need you. They need you in such a HUGE way… they need you to provide them freedom, to remove barriers, to lessen restrictions, and to break down constraints and limitations. They need you to provide them with all the things society has said to give them less of. They need each and every one of us!
The world will put you into a box… the “women’s” box, the “family” box, the “religious” box, and then the “entitlement” box, and the “Millennial” box, and the “doggy daycare” box…
And once you are there, you will behave like you are in a box. Tied down, limited, without options, doing the same thing everyone else is doing, and getting the same results most people are getting, and dealing with the same struggles everyone believes to be true and “normal”.
That, my dear friends, my dearest colleagues, is the box I encourage you to step out of.
You are needed.
Your energy, your passion, your presence, your work… your people are needed. Dogs have never experienced the turmoil they are experiencing today. Much like children, and much like seniors… they’re calling for your help, and they’re surrendering to your decisions, in hopes that you will be their gateway to freedom.
Acknowledge your brilliance, your potential, and your identity.
With much love,
Teena Patel is a Certified Dog Trainer and Behavioral Counselor who works with pet owners and owners of doggy daycares to bring her philosophy of Enrichment to the canine population. After almost two decades of successful dog training under her belt, Teena has done away with the standard doggy daycare “warehousing” of animals in kennels and runs. In place of an industrial model, she focuses on what is right for the dogs as living beings, providing experiences that improve and enhance their behavioral health. Coupled with a program of careful training, the Doglando experience results in companion dogs who are better-behaved, better integrated into their families, and above all, much happier. True to her passion, Teena Patel gives dogs the freedom “to be dogs”.
If you’re ready to provide more purposeful and meaningful engagement for the dogs in your care, talk with Teena!