Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Negative Reinforcement can be Positive Reinforcement

It is all about control and choice.  Imagine the feeling when we are asked to do something.  Perhaps wash a load of dishes for a family member.  We comply, with some feeling.  Avoiding the argument if we say no.  And perhaps with the hope for a free moment where there are no expectations for our services to that family member.  We wash.  In the washing, we are 'doing'.  The moment the washing is done, we sit down, feel the load of the work done, sigh and in that moment, we are 'being'. 

So.  The argument has been avoided.  The training theory calls this - negative reinforcement.  However, there is something more fundamental going on.  In our sitting and relaxing, we have our choice and control back.  Being victim to the expectations of that family member are a thing of the past.  We are the master of the sit and sigh once more.  In achieving choice and control, we have been afforded something.  In training theory, when we receive something, it is positive.

Choice and control are more fundamental than food.  You never saw an antelope stop to eat his favourite treat while the carnivore was chasing him.  His choice and control were more important than his food.  So, a primary reinforcer is something that does not have to be conditioned. 

Sometimes when we train animals, we actually have to teach them to eat from our hands.  We never have to teach them to look out for their safety - which, fundamentally is when they feel in control - and being in control, means there is choice.

This thought is linked to one on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation - that is a subject for another blog.  Happy sighing!!!

Saturday, 29 July 2017

confessions of a plasticholic

The challenge was presented, and I tentatively said:  "I am up for it."  With good intentions.  This is what I learned.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ANIMALS?  A few things.  Indulge me.

IN GENERAL:  If you know me, you will know that I am constantly playing mind games.  The game I am currently playing is getting to know my habits and belief systems to see how they may be limiting my relationships with the animals in my life.  I thought that going plastic free would be easy.  I thought I knew what my relationship with plastic was all about.   Well.  I was wrong...


Plastic is an environmental threat.  Not just litter that could be swallowed, or toxins in its creation or disposal that are pollutants, or the fact that it probably never breaks down, but also from a climate change point of view.  I know you all know the stories of the big bad P word and all it has done...  So I will not bring more heaviness to your guilt.  But...  Let me share mine. 

I already have a number of plastic free ways of life - normal ones - shopping bags, straws, toothbrushes etc.  So the big focus - was all the other  - harder  stuff to avoid...  I did not do as well as I had hoped.  Here are some confessions:

1.  I did not know the extent of my plastic addiction.  It is evident when I look at animals and those closest to me.  I am very conscious of the plastic I use, and rarely allow myself to purchase plastic problems.  However, when I am purchasing for others, I am willing to sacrifice my principles.  With silly statements in my head like "My children deserve that plastic packet of chips."  "My dogs deserve the plastic chew toy."  "The rats deserve the synthetic homes."

Question - why is it okay for me to compromise when I believe I am being generous.  Is generosity attached to a poor attitude?  Or is plastic seen as a gift.  A gift I am not worthy of?  This is where I am at right now with this lesson. 

2.  Plastic is everywhere.  Even in my daily cigarette.  Yes, I know that I can be purist about this.  I know I should give up this habit. I know that there are many judgements that can be thrown my way with this one.  Here is the thing that this one is attached to...
When I am good I am very very good.  When I am bad, I am horrid...

3...  It is all about convenience.  I live a busy life.  We all do. On my days off I strive to shop for the week in places where I can find plastic free veggies, fruit etc.  Then then wheels fall off - you know how it is...  and I find myself rushing into the corner store to replenish.  In a couple of days this month I threw in the towel completely and stopped trying.  For the next reason...

4.  Discomfort.  To do this plastic free thing requires stepping into the line of fire.  I need to ask the lady at the bread counter to slice the bread and put it into the paper packet.  This usually requires an argument.  Because 'this is not how we do it'...  'the bread slicer does not work' (I went and showed them it did one time) 'I have to ask my manager'  '...the bread is all packed in plastic already'. 

On a good note...  I have learned a few things. 
1.  Put my energy where my mouth is.
2. It is possible.  Just takes a rethink, and some creativity
3. Trying things differently leads others to think about what they are doing.
4.  There are loads of people out there doing there best
5.  When you ask, there are people who can help
6.  There is no turning back.  I am aware.  now I am screwed.
7.  I have no right to lecture or try change the world till I can change me
I am pretty sure I am still addicted to convenience.  There are a number of challenges I am not sure how to face - but this is a start.  #plasticfreelife - Maybe!!
If anyone has suggestions to help, I am willing to hear...  

Thursday, 6 July 2017

all in a moment

Perhaps - every moment we have is engrained on our souls.  Like lines on an old LP record.  They stick there and create the joy, or sadness, or fear or hope that becomes us.  Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where the LP record become stuck.  Because there is a scratch in our experience.  Playing a feeling over and over.  Waiting for someone to come and lift the diamond tip into the next groove. 
Question - do we need to be rescued?
Answer - No.  Our diamond tips are perfectly capable of moving if we are able to recognise that scratch.
All that is really required, is to shake it off. 
Put the words and stories down, and simply hear the music. 

A moment today where I felt very scratchy.  Till I looked into the eyes of a loved few - animals and people.  Cried tears of scratchiness.  Then jumped, grew quiet, and felt some music again.
All in a moment.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

writing from love

Being inspired to share thoughts on ethical animal care is now entrenched

So many beautiful souls have been a part of my journey…  and the journey continues…

I have been quiet on this blog for a while.  Busy writing a new book. 


On this note I am very happy to report my  EXCITING WEEK…

The book is being published by Kima Global in English


By Pavel Jerabek in Czech


      And the cherry on the top

Kima Global are publishing Touching Animal Souls in German.


Champagne time!!!


Monday, 15 May 2017

Liberated insight

Stepping back
When we look.  truly look, so much is visible. Learning to paint has helped me to look more closely at so much.  Not just the canvas.  What I find so interesting, is that when I am painting up close, I often doubt that what I am doing is going to work.  Then I step back and see the shadows and highlights and am amazed at how it all come together.

The same is to be said about any relationship.  With people or animals.  When in the thick of it, you either have faith, or doubt.  Is either of these misguided? 
When we step back, we can see what is truly going on.  With whom are we truly in a fulfilling relationship ?  Who are we trying to please?  Who do we find enthusiastic?  Who is a taker? Who is a giver?  Does the animal truly wish to be with us?  Does the person really care about us? 

Liberated insight.
And then we can proceed without attachment.  And truly be in relationship for relationship sake.

Light on the rainbow bridge

Dear Jula

It has been 2 years since you left this realm.

Lessons since you parted


                Broken hearts do not mend – their pain simply colours a new perspective

                As the days pass, I don’t miss you any less – simply put more conscious energy into the time spent with loved ones

                Your inspired 100% - is hard to live up to in the moments of missing you.  So you are misssed with 100% energy

                There is no limit to the amount of tears one can shed

                Gratitude for the time we had – and so wish it could be more


You are so missed gentle soul. 



Warriors do not have to fight.  They need to be.

When we ‘be’, we will inspire.

When we fight, we have reactive forces that displace truth.

Thank you for the ‘being’ that is still you…


Have loved you forever.  Will love you forever!

Saturday, 8 April 2017

see you soon

Been quiet – eagerly writing a new book.  The manuscript will be done in a couple of weeks.  Then I need to decide what to do with it.  Mmmmm.

Thank you feedspot for recognising this blog.  Much appreciated.