Episode 51 – Gratitude, Cloning and Turning a Bad Day Around
Listen to this episode here!
In this episode Rachel shares the love she feels for her dog and how the fear of losing him drove her to doing some very (very, very) irrational things (including the craziest story you’ve ever heard). She talks about deep soul connection with another being, fear of loss, the issue with “perfection” and how allowing yourself to be human brings the biggest relief. She also shares a recent experience with a bad moment and how it you’re not careful, it can snowball into a bad day and how at the end of it all, gratitude is the most important practice.
Hi, and welcome to another episode of From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl. Hi you guys! I am in the midst of having an epiphany. Like (laugh) as I’m speaking these words right now I’m all teary eyed. I don’t know, I just had, like, a weird revelation, and I have to just start off by sharing it with you.
[000:25] So, I have been doing this podcast now for a year. I’m one week away from our one year anniversary of this podcast. Like, that is quite insane. And I was thinking about that just now. I was sitting down. I’ve had, like, a whirlwind of a day, and I feel like every time I sit down to record this podcast, I start off by saying, “Oh my god, you guys, I’ve had such an intense week.” Because so much stuff just continues to happen! And, I think that’s just what it’s like to be alive? Like, everyone has stuff that happens, and drama, and things that go on, and epiphanies, and hard days, and good days, and beautiful stuff, and we all live this life. But, not all of us sit down to talk about it for an hour every single week and give a recap of, well, what did I learn this week? What’s been going on? What are my epiphanies and challenges? And I’ve been doing this now for an entire year, every single week … Okay, I’m one week away. I’m not going to do, like, an anniversary episode until next week.
[001:22] But every week, just sitting down like this, having this conversation with myself and with you, I just realized that this is part of my spiritual evolution! Like, recording this podcast every week is part of my personal development. I haven’t really made that connection quite just yet, until now. Okay, let me tell you … So I just sat down to record. It’s been the most intense day. I woke up this morning, and this is just, like, how things go. We had the baby’s birthday yesterday, she turned one, and it’s this super anticipated day, and anyone who has kids out there, of course the first birthday is like a huge thing. I just almost feel like it was almost more, you know, celebrating that, like, we made it through a whole year of parenthood. We kept this tiny little being alive and well for an entire year, and it’s been the most mind-blowing week. Healing and just heart-opening and challenging and like fucking hard, and so fucking beautiful. More love than I’ve ever experienced in my life. It’s been just the most intense year, from every standpoint. And we made it through a whole year. So, it was a big celebration in more sense than it’s just birthday, right?
[002:40] We had a perfect day, like, literally a perfect day. It was everything I wanted. My mom came in, so the baby’s grandma is here. Dennis’ mom was here, so other grandma. Dennis’ dad flew in with his wife, and I have my step-grandma is here, like a married in grandma, her mom is [Sanla], she’s been my step-grandma since I was one. And my brother flew in the day before the baby’s birthday and surprised us from L.A. He lives in L.A. He’s been there for a decade, he’s never met the baby. He had all these, like, green card issues last year, so he didn’t have his permit, and he couldn’t leave the states. He was like locked in L.A., so he hasn’t seen the baby. And he just flew in to surprise us, and it’s been just like … It was such a beautiful day! We just literally hung out and played and at a lot of food, and we went to a farm, and we had a swim lesson and went swimming. And had cake and balloons and presents. It was just so laid back and so perfect and so awesome.
[003:35] And I went to bed last night feeling so content. Like, I had one of those moments of like (sigh) you know, after just like a perfect day, when everything goes the way you want it, and you’re not overthinking stuff, and your mind is not telling you a thousand reasons to why everything should be different, and just everything was just so peaceful and good, right? So I really went to bed, and I had one of those moments where I kind of stepped back from the moment I’m in just to automatically realize all of the gratitude that I feel. I kind of turned to Dennis, like, “Oh my god, thank you for … for making the best life with me.” I’m just so happy, so grateful, and I fell asleep with a smile on my lips. That was just … that was last night.
[004:17] And then, of course, because this is just what life is … I wake up this morning to Ringo running away. If you listened to, like, two episodes ago I think, I talked about … or the episode that I talked about, like, fear of death, and my huge fear that I have of something happening to the baby, I shared a little bit about Ringo, and how Ringo, my little Italian greyhound, he’s kind of been my baby for the past four or five years, he’s going to … oh my god, wait, it’s almost his birthday. I can’t forget! Also Dennis’ birthday. Oh my god, if you guys are listening, Ringo’s birthday is the beginning of April. Fork, is it the third of April? Okay, Dennis’ birthday is April 16th. Last year I forgot it, because we had like a three week old baby, and I forgot his birthday. And I have a feeling I’m going to forget it again. You guys have to remind me to celebrate these birthdays! Holy fork.
[005:07] Anyway, so, before I had the baby baby, Ringo was my baby, and I have been so terrified of something happening to him, like, since we got him. I’ve had all of this fear wrapped up into Ringo. He’s been my baby, and I’ve been so scared, and I have all of this fear that’s been kind of coming out during the past, I guess, yeah, the past year! I’ve been dealing with this fear of death, and this love connected to fear, fear connected to love that I didn’t know I had. And it’s been wrapped up into Ringo, and then I had the baby, and I still love Ringo the same, but just this intense fear of something happening has kind of transferred from him to the baby. So, I’m way more chill about Ringo.
[005:44] So, something that I caught a lot of heat about, yeah, since I opened the animal rescue foundation is the fact that Ringo is neutered. Gasp! Oh my god, gasp. Ringo is not neutered. All of our other dogs and animals, they’re stray dogs and rescues, and you know at Sgt. Pepper’s friends, our animal rescue, right now we have like literally, and I’m not even exaggerating, we have 100 dogs in our care. We spay and neuter, and we pick dogs off the street and spay and neuter them and put them back, and we adopt dogs, and we never adopt a single dog that isn’t spayed or neutered. Actually, if you ever adopt a puppy from us, it comes with a contract that you have to neuter and spay that dog when it’s old enough. And then I, the founder of the foundation, I have a dog that isn’t neutered! I’ve caught so much heat and shit about that over the years, especially from animal rights people and people that are really active in the animal rescue community, which is for sure, like, 100% understandable, because it’s literally, like, the only solution to the stray … I mean, not the only, but one of the major solutions to the stray animal issue is that people don’t spay and neuter their dogs. That’s what happens here in Aruba. No one … They don’t spay their dogs, and they just kind of keep having puppies in the street, and it just continues from there.
[006:59] So, why do I have a dog that isn’t neutered? And this was really tied into this fear, right? This has been kind of a big thing for me, because Ringo was just a puppy when my best friend passed away, and I got so terrified that something was going to happen to him, like completely, I mean, like, way more freaked out than what’s normal or sane or healthy, for sure. Like, no one else could walk him on a leash. I didn’t trust anybody. I would never let him off leash. Like, never never never never never. The thought of just, you know, I would never let him enjoy the beauty of just roaming on the beach, you know, the way dogs love. Especially a greyhound, an Italian greyhound … Have you ever seen a greyhound run? It’s the most joyful thing. It’s what they’re meant to do. It’s just so awesome. Ringo never gets to fucking run, anywhere! Unless it’s an enclosed space. Because I don’t trust him! He’s a little sneaky bastard.
[007:53] We used to have Sgt. Pepper, who was our first dog together, and wherever Pepper went, Ringo would go with him. And Pepper was the best dog. He listened, he never left our side, he was just … he was just the best dog. So, Ringo was attached to Pepper, so we never had to worry about Ringo. Ringo could be off leash, Pepper was always off leach, you could walk him off leash anywhere, he would never leave our side. But then Pepper died, and Ringo started going, like, running away. He started just taking off and doing his own thing, which was super sad. So, he’s never off leash. He’s always by my side. All of this.
[008:18] So whenever people said, “Oh, you got to neuter your dog, this is so hypocritical! You have animal rescue foundation and your dog has his balls! And he can get prostate cancer!” This and this and this and that. I’ve always kind of thought it because I was so scared to put Ringo, like, to sedate him, to put him through being neutered. To put him through surgery. I got this weird obsession over him dying on the operation table. Like, really really really weird. And it was right, you know, when my friend passed away, and all of this. And I had so much fear of death, fear of something happening, and I kind of had all of my belief in life was wrapped up in this tiny little dog that I would spoon to sleep every night. You know, he really was my baby. So, we didn’t get him neutered because I was scared he was going to die. That’s just what it was.
[009:04] I have been constantly defending myself, and like, “You know, he’s never off leash, and I’m a responsible dog owner,” but yes, for sure, he should be neutered. Every dog out there should be spayed and neutered. It’s just, it’s the only way. It’s the only sensible thing. It’s everything I promote.
[009:17] Then, now the baby came, and I started immediately relaxing about Ringo. Then like, I don’t know, when she was like six months, I was like, “Dennis, you know what? I think I’m ready to chop his balls off. I think it’s time.” And he was like, “What? Okay. That’s super interesting. Okay, okay, okay. Well, let’s talk about that.” And we actually … this was, like, a couple of years ago now. Okay, this is a story for another podcast, because it’s the most hilarious story of all time. Um, I can’t believe I’m even going to say this, but we’ve had a few moments throughout the years where I’ve been like, “Okay, we’re going to neuter him,” but it’s never been from me wanting to do it, it’s been from me feeling pressured from people, like, giving me bad comments and stuff. I felt very hypocritical having a dog that had its balls while I had this animal rescue foundation. Which is just true. So, I was like, “Okay, we’re going to neuter him,” but then we never did, because I always backed out in the last second. Like we had so many appointments to do it, and I just had, like, a freak out and envisioned him for some reason dying in the operation, and then we never did it.
[010:15] But one of those times where I was really dead set that we’re going to do this, we actually, like, harvested … oh my god, I’m speaking this out loud and I’m regretting it already! We harvested Ringo’s sperm (laugh) just so that in case (laugh) … And this was also, like, out of fear. What if Ringo ever, like, what if he dies and there’s no more Ringo? And Dennis was like, “You know, if Ringo dies, if you have a Ringo puppy, it’s not going to be Ringo. You get that, right? It’s going to be another dog.” I was like, “No no no, we have to save Ringo’s sperm so that maybe one day we can clone him.” And I found this really weird website that offers animal cloning. It’s like $100,000. I was like, “Dennis, we need to save up for this animal cloning that we’re going to do so that we have a spare of Ringo.” And Dennis was like, “Dude, even if we had 100 grand to throw on cloning our Italian greyhound, like fucking psychopaths, it’s still not going to be Ringo. It’s not going to be his personality. It’s going to look like Ringo, but it’s not going to be Ringo. It’s not going to be his soul.” And I was just … Just telling this story now, I’m like, “Jesus Christ, I’m kind of a crazy person.” Holy shit.
[011:31] Okay, I’m going to tell this story right now just because we’re in the spirit of it, and then I’m going to get back on track here. So, I have like … and I have sworn Dennis to secrecy to not share this story with anyone, ever, because … okay, everybody listening, like please, please, please, please please please never in your life, like, don’t ever ever ever buy a bred dog. Don’t go to a puppy mill, it’s the most horrible thing. There’s literally millions, I kid you not, millions of dogs, stray animals that have no home, that need homes. Shelters all over the world in almost every country in the world, they’re overflowing with animals that need care. If you happen to live in a country that don’t have a huge stray animal population, like Sweden, for instance. We basically don’t even have shelters in Sweden because there are no stray animals. There is other countries that adopt to Sweden, like Sgt. Pepper’s friends, right? So please, don’t ever, like, don’t ever buy a bred dog. Just, you know, don’t do what I did basically is what I’m telling you, alright? And adopt, don’t shop. That’s all, that’s everything I promote, that’s just it. And now let me tell you how I didn’t start off that way.
[012:43] Dennis and I, we had this obsession with Italian greyhounds. Like we knew we loved Italian greyhounds. We used to always watch Jenna Marbles and her YouTube videos online, and she has, I think, one or two Italian greyhounds, and one of them was really, really weird. And we got weirdly obsessed with this idea of this type of dog, that was just, like, you could prop the dog up anywhere and they would just kind of stay there. They stay really attached- They’re just a funny looking breed. This was when we just had met, and Pepper was kind of small still, and we knew, like, okay one day it would be nice to have a dog that we knew was going to stay small, because we always had stray dogs, and I was always picking up stray dogs off the street, but you’d never know what size they’re going to grow into, and I wanted a tiny dog.
[013:23] So we wanted the Italian greyhound. We finally found him, or found one, a space in Bakersfield in California, it was one of the early yoga tours we did. I was randomly googling it, like, I would google it every couple months. It was like, “Oh my god, Dennis, there’s an Italian greyhound in Bakersfield!” And we were in L.A., and we were going to Santa Barbara, so it was kind of the direction… Not really, but where we were going. “If we leave right now, we can go get this dog in Bakersfield and we can be back in Santa Barbara in time for class. We can make it!” So we hauled ass into the middle of nowhere. I don’t know if anyone from Bakersfield listening … When we were going there, someone was like, “Why are you going to the armpit of California?” (laugh) I was like, “What? Armpit of California? What do you mean? What’s wrong with Bakersfield?” I had never been there. But we drove all the way over there, it’s way out. And we meet this place. This is a place, like, they breed dogs. So it’s bad. Okay? Don’t do this. Don’t do what I did. But I kind of like to think that Ringo is my soul mate and we were meant to find each other, and that’s why I was so weirdly obsessed with this type of dog, and it just kind of happened that we found him.
[014:34] This is also super weird. So, as we were driving I realized, like, “Hey Dennis, do we have any money?” He was like, “What do you mean?” “Well, if we’re going to buy a dog, it’s going to cost money! We need money!” And he was like, “Um, no. Shit!” Then he’s like, “Well, what did you make from the last class you taught?” I had taught somewhere… Oh god, I can’t remember. Hawaii, wherever we were right before. And I go through my stuff, and I find this check, like, a check written in my name from a class that I had taught. It was a workshop with a bunch of people, and I had made $900 teaching this class, which is ton of money. It was an insane amount of money at that time for us, because we just, we would teach and then live off the money that we made teaching while traveling. That’s all the income we had. That was it.
[015:20] So, we had these $900, and it was supposed to kind of cover us for this whole trip. He was like, “Oh my god, what’s the dog going to cost?” I’m like, “I don’t know! This better be enough!” We’re driving all the way out here, it was like a four hour drive or something, and then we get there and we meet this lady who is meeting us at the parking log of a Whole Foods in Bakersfield, and I run into this bank with my passport, and I’m like, “Can I cash this check, please?” And I cashed the check, and we come outside, and I’m like, “Hi!” And the she has this tiny little dog in her arms, and my heart melts and I’m like, “Oh my god, this is the one!” And I plopped down in the grass and he runs up to me and crawls up my lap and goes under my shirt and nestles in and just melts into me. I was like, “Oh my god! How much is he?” And the lady is like, “He’s $900.” I was looking at Dennis, and then I look over at Dennis … Dennis has a dog of his own! So, she came with two, two! They were brothers, and there was two there! That’s not what we had anticipated at all! But I was like, oh my god, the dog is exactly, literally, what this check is made out to be, and it’s like all the money we have. What the hell. And then he’s cuddling one puppy and I’m cuddling one puppy, and I’m like, “No, this is the one!” And he was like, “I don’t know man, this one is pretty cute.” And I’m like, “No no no. This is the one.” Then we switched and I still felt like the other one was the one, and then Dennis felt, yeah, this is also the one.
[016:35] The lady said, “That one really likes water. It’s a weird puppy. Really likes to be in water, we’ve never had a puppy like that.” And we were like, “Okay, well we know this is the one.” So we literally spent every dime we had to our name to buy a puppy, which is insane. Like, very much insane. And I never told this story before because I have been so afraid of people hating on me for the decisions I make, and that I have to be this perfect person. Part of me sharing this story now is I am really DONE being a perfect person. I don’t want you guys to think that I’m perfect! It’s exhausting! It’s SO exhausting! It’s fucking exhausting. Putting up this perfect façade, like, “Look at me and my perfect stuff and everything I do is perfect and great.” It’s exhausting to uphold that, because I am not a perfect person. I’ve had a lot of fucked up shit in my life. I’ve done things that aren’t ideal, and getting a puppy, a bred dog that I paid money for, you know, being in the animal rescue community, this was before we had the foundation started, because it was before Pepper died. But I was always really involved, right? I just, yeah, this is just something I did, and I will never regret it, ever. And you’re listening, you better not fucking ever pay money to buy a bred dog. If you do that … No! No no no. Adopt, don’t shop. Sgtpeppersfriends.com. We have 100 dogs waiting for you right now.
[019:10] So we get Ringo, and I immediately develop this intense, weird attachment to him. I don’t know if it’s because he’s small or whatever, but we were staying at like a Motel 6. We were so broke, we spent all the money on the dog. My brother met up with me in Santa Barbara. He’s lived in L.A. for a really long time. He’s a musician there. And he came to Santa Barbara with us, we’re staying at this Motel 6, and we went to bed, and I remember waking up and Ringo was just draped over me. It was just the most intense, like, beautiful puppy experience I’ve ever had. He’s just a very special being, meant to be in my life. We went to stay at a couple friends, or friends of friends that we knew in Santa Barbara before my class, and it’s to this day one of two classes in my life that I have been late for, ever. Workshop, I mean real classes that I’ve been late for. It was because we got Ringo and then we got stuck in traffic, because there was an accident or something, and I went out in the middle of the road holding this puppy trying to flag down anyone on a motorcycle to take me to the yoga studio.
[020:14] I roll in, like, I don’t know how late. 20 minutes late or something. Everybody’s waiting for me, and I had this baby, and I was just mortified that I was late. I taught the class, everything was fine, and I remember really asking the studio owner, like, “You know, do you think you could pay me in cash? Because we have no money! I need to pay for gas right now,” or something. Then as we went to our friends to stay there, and I went to take a shower, and Ringo was so tiny. I mean, he was like three months old. Super small. Four months old maybe. No, three. Super small, so cute, so sweet. I brought him with me into the bathroom. It was a big bathroom, because he was wining, I didn’t want to leave him in the bedroom. I didn’t know if he was going to pee, they had a carpet. And I go in the bathroom, I take my clothes off, I go in the shower, and he follows me into the shower and stands under the water, like, pressing against my legs, just lifting up his little head, submerging in the water. It was just … He’s such a weird dog, okay? This is just what it is.
[021:10] Anyway, fast forward a little bit and Ringo became, like, our complete sidekick, you know? If anyone has ever been to any class, retreat, practice, teacher training, anything … Any type of anything that I’ve ever done, Ringo is always there. Everybody’s met Ringo. Ringo has a little life of his own. He travels everywhere with us, we fly everywhere with him. So, in a way, he sort of became this baby. And still, and every time I share any picture of him, I would get comments, like, “Why haven’t you neutered him?” And I get it. If I was a person that comments on peoples’ stuff, and I’m just not that type of person, but if I was, and I saw a person who didn’t have neutered dog, I would also get, like, “Why haven’t you neutered your dog?” You know? And I had this complete fear that he was going to die, so I’ve been kind of clutching him tight for a really long time. I had my claws in Ringo.
[021:59] And then I had the baby. And I shared this two podcasts ago, my big realization, I came home with the baby, and I saw Ringo for the first time as a mother, and he looked like a wolf! He had these big fangs, his whole face, like … he looked like a beast! He looked like a dog! And I turned to Dennis and I was like, “Dude! Ringo is a dog!” And he was like, “Y-y-y-yeahhhh. Are you having a meltdown? Ringo has always been a dog.” I’m like, “No no no. He’s a dog.” It was a perception in me that completely shifted when I had the baby, where he literally went from baby to animal. And I love him the same. There is no shift in the love. It’s just, yeah, the fear was transferred from him into the baby.
[022:45] Since we’ve had the baby I’ve been way more chill with him. Running free in a dog park and going off leash here and there if we’re on the north shore where there’s no people, and not freaking out, letting him out in the garden. I’ve been more chill and other people walking him on leash and stuff like that. But he’s not a free dog. He’s never on his own anywhere. And I told Dennis when the baby was like six months. I’m like, “You know what? I think I’m actually ready. We should just chop the balls. It’s time.” He’s going to be five… Is he going to be five this year? Nooooo … Yes. What?! How is it possible? My little baby, he’s going to be five years old.
[023:23] We were in Sweden, and I kind of made that decision. Okay, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. So, the first time I made that decision, that we’re going to get him neutered, it was after I got all this comments on Instagram or whatever, and this was right before we got pregnant, so the summer, no maybe a year … maybe the summer before I got pregnant. So I’m going to say, like, 2015? Maybe something like that? And I decide, “It’s happening, we’re going to do this! It’s on!” And then I realized, “What if we neuter Ringo, and what if he dies? What if I have this fear of him dying on the operating table, and it’s all because it’s about to happen?! And I’m having this foresight, like I’m seeing the future?” And I started freaking myself out completely. Like, “What if I neuter Ringo because I feel pressure from social media to do it, and then he dies, and then I have no Ringo! And then my life would be over!” I was just like, “If Ringo, something would happen to him, like I would just die. I wouldn’t make it. Like, he’s my baby. Like, there’s no way. Like, no no no.”
[024:21] I started looking at all of these websites, can you clone your dog? What can you do? People that are scared of losing their dog, like how do you live? And I found this website where it’s 100 grand to clone your dog. We don’t sit on 100 grand. So I kind of dismissed it, but probably if I was an eccentric billionaire, like now I’m just an eccentric person, but if I was an eccentric billionaire, I would have done it, for sure. Like, for sure. I wouldn’t even have hesitated.
[024:47] Then I realize, okay, there’s these services where you can save, you can harvest your dog’s sperm. (laugh) This was brand new, to me. I had never really given thought into puppy mills and stuff, which is just horrible and shouldn’t exist. But the people that breed dogs and stuff like that, like, how does that really work? And apparently, often, it’s kind of similar to the dairy industry or any animal farming industry, which is just all of it horrible. But normally they harvest sperm from an animal, and usually it’s like a super animal. They’ll take the best bull, the bull that makes the best babies, I guess. I don’t know. They’ll take what they deem a good animal, harvest a bunch of sperm, and then inseminate that sperm in other animals. Like, that’s just how things work. I never thought about this.
[025:36] And I was like, “What?! That’s how things work?” In my mind it was just … I don’t know, I just thought, like, animals are just like humping each other, or I had clearly never thought about this, ever. And then I realized, “Okay, like, we need a backup. Like, what if Ringo would die? Just what if? I’m hoping it’s not going to happen, but what if he would die, and there would be no more Ringo, and I would want to kill myself and life would be over. No, we need a backup Ringo.” So, I found this place in Sweden, in kind of, not the countryside, but kind of, yeah, a little bit outside of Stockholm that actually do this … It’s like a service that they provide, where they have, like, a sperm bank. Like, a sperm bank for adults. But it’s for dogs. And they harvest sperm – and this is just something that people do – and you can save it for infinity. They freeze it in some sort of special, like, underground weird lab that’s protected. By everything. And you save it for INFINITY. And I was on this website, I was like, “This can’t be real.” So I called them and I’m like, “Hey, I’m just checking, I have this fear of my dog dying, and, you know, I just have this feeling like, it would be nice to harvest or to save, like, a backup for him. So that, you know, if something would happen, or if we would want to have another Ringo, or like a little Ringlet, like a little Ringo baby, the option is there. I don’t want to breed him, I don’t want there to be a bunch of Ringo babies out there. That’s not my plan. My plan was just, like, I need a backup for this fear to mellow out so that I can neuter him.” Like, that was the plan.
[027:10] This lade was like, “Um, well normally people do this when they want to breed their dogs and maybe have puppies and sell them.” I’m like, “No no no no. That’s not what I want to do. I need a backup in case my dog dies.” She’s like, “Well, yeah, we can provide that service.” It’s, like, I don’t know, $100 a year to safe the sperm, and it saves for infinity. And I’m like, “Well what do you mean infinity?” She’s like, “Well, for an infinite amount of time.” And I’m like, “Well, what do you mean? Like, in 100 years can my grandchildren take Ringo’s sperm and have little Ringlets walk the earth? What the fuck are you talking about?” And she was like, “Yes, we have an underground lab that’s protected by some special weird, like, earthquake protection and weird generators and frozen forever, basically.” And I was just blown away! I’m like, “Dennis, we’re doing this.”
[028:00] He thought, of course, that I was completely insane. But I was like, “You know what? If we’re going to neuter this dog, this is my criteria. We need to have a backup in case something happens.” Then he went with the whole thing, like, “It’s not going to be the same! You can’t just take a dog’s sperm! You can’t clone a dog and expect it to be the same!” And I’m like, “I don’t care. We just need to do this.” I got all pissy, and I forced him to do it.
[028:22] So all of the sudden we’re driving into the middle of nowhere, so this was like two years ago. Into the middle of nowhere, and I force Dennis to not tell anyone, because I’m so embarrassed that this was happening. Because, yeah, kind of this is stuff that insane people do. Then we get there, it’s in the middle of the forest, middle of nowhere, and this lady opens the door, and it’s kind of like a vet place, almost. She has a lab coat and stuff, but it’s also like kind of a home? It was kind of weird. Yeah, I’m just going to say, it was kind of weird. And … And she just sits down, we fill in some paperwork, and Ringo is there. And she’s like, “Okay, so let’s go ahead and get ready and harvest the sample.” And I was like, “Oh!” … And then it hits me, like, how are you going to do that? And she was like, “Well, he’s going to deposit the sample into this little plastic thing, or whatever, and then we save it and we freeze it, and we can actually count in the microscope, like, measure his sperm count and stuff.” And I was like, “But how is this … How is this going to happen?” Like, I still … I was really surprised by myself. Like, the whole play. Like, I booked the appointment, we drove there. Not once did it occur to me to think about how is she going to collect the sample? Right?
[029:40] I just, kind of… she takes the dog, he’s on a leash, and she’s like, “Well, someone needs to just pet him and make sure that he’s very calm, because not every dog enjoys this.” I was like, “Enjoys what?!” I still didn’t really get it! Like, I guess I’m an idiot, I don’t know. Dennis was apparently very clear on what was going to happen the whole time! And I watched this lady put on gloves … and proceed … to, yeah. Yeah. You, I mean … I don’t want to speak the words, even. I had to look away. I could not see this happen. Like, first of all, this was my child, right? This was my baby. He’s like my baby. And Dennis was just mesmerized. Like, mesmerized. I’m looking away and just trying to give Ringo encouraging words, because she said some dogs freak out, and that’s not good. And then he just kind of did his thing with this lady’s hand. Yeah, okay, that fully happened. And I’m looking the other way, like, in panic. Totally feeling like basically like we’re molesting my dog. It was just not a cool thing. Like, I don’t know what the fuck I was thinking. It was just not good.
[030:46] Then it was like, I don’t know, 30 seconds, like it was the fastest thing. He was just chilling. His face was like completely unfazed. Like, he wasn’t happy and joyful, but he wasn’t scared or upset. He was just, like, unfazed. I don’t even know if he gave a shit at all. Then she’s, like, “Okay.” And I’m still not looking at him. Obviously something going on with his area, and I’m just looking away, because I’m so freaked out by what just happened, like a moron. Then she says, “Okay, I’m going to take this to the lab. Why don’t you proceed and take him for a walk? It will take a couple of moments for the penis to re-enter his body.” And I was like, “What?!” And then I look at Ringo, and he’s like a little Italian greyhound. He weighs 15 pounds, he’s a tiny little guy. Um, I’m not joking when I tell you, like, the size of his thing was, like, half the size of his entire body. It was, like … I, I, I … I can’t even explain it. It was not even like … I don’t know, it was like his insides came out. It was like the size of a forearm. It was the most freaky thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. And he’s completely in shock, because he’s never had this experience in his life! Bothered by it, like, and I’m like, “Oh my god!? What’s happening?! How did this happen?” And she’s like, “No no no. Relax! This is normal. This is how dogs work. This is the canine system.” And she’s just very professional and doctor like. I’m just freaking out because Ringo has, like, an organ hanging out of his body. She’s like, “Just go for a walk with him. It’s going to pass. It’s going to go back.”
[032:20] And I’m walking him, and we’re walking, and this thing is dragging along the ground. He can barely walk because it’s dragging across the floor. And we walk, and we walk, and it doesn’t go back! It doesn’t go back in! And I realized, like, I started having a full on panic attack. I’m like, “Dennis! We broke the dog! We broke him! For the rest of our lives, we’re never going to be able to take Ringo anywhere because his penis is ginormous and it’s red and it’s hanging outside of his body! We’re not going to … I broke him! We broke the dog! I can’t believe we did this!” And that’s just it.
[032:57] Then I walk forever and it just doesn’t go back. And then I turn around and like, fuck, I have to go back. This lady has to poke it back. She has to fix him! He’s broken! Then across the street comes this other dog, like, I don’t know, a neighbor walking or something. It’s kind of a big dog, and the dog looks at Ringo and like, raises its fur and goes like (growls) and shows its teeth, like about to get a little aggressive with Ringo. And Ringo goes “(Gasp!)”. And his tail goes between his legs, and his penis went (slurpy sound)(laugh) … And just disappeared! Just like that. It was like (slurp). Like, in one go, and it was all gone, and he was back to normal again, and all was well with the world. This, for me, was like … oh my god I cannot even believe I told you this story on a podcast, because I had literally, like, swore Dennis to never share this with another soul, ever. Because it was the most surreal things, and probably one of the weirder, stupider things I’ve ever done in my life!
[035:30] This is part of, like, a yearly payment that we make now. Like, whenever, like, it’s $80 or $100 to this sperm bank where our backup Ringo, imaginary … That would never happen ever … It’s like the most fucked up thing to ever happen. And I’m like why did I tell this fucked up story that I’m kind of regretting that I told you? Because, yeah, um … So, this morning, and here is how it went … So, now that I’m ready to have him actually neutered. We have this appointment in a week, and it’s actually going to happen. Like, he’s actually going to get neutered. It’s maybe not a big deal to anybody else, but for me it’s like, okay, I know it’s going to be better for him. Probably his urge to run away and go places, the reason he’s always, always on a leash, maybe that will help. And for sure we’ll be sure that there will be no ever accidental Ringlets, ever. But if there will ever be a Ringlet, it will come out of frozen infinite sperm bank somewhere outside of Stockholm.
[036:27] Anyway, we made that decision, we booked the appointment, all is well, I feel really calm about it. It’s a really good decision. And I had this thing where I was like, “You know what? This fear of death that I have, it’s getting a lot better,” because I feel comfortable with Ringo having the surgery now, and I feel a lot better about the baby during the past couple of weeks. I’m not having these visions about her dying, or freaky things happening. I’m really chill now. I’ve really grown, I’ve matured, I’ve gone through stuff. I’m not that crazy, erratic, weird fear-of-death person anymore.
[037:00] Then last night I went to bed, like, cuddling Ringo and Dennis and just told myself, “What a perfect … I’m so happy.” Then I wake up this morning and I open the front door, like, I actually opened the kitchen door to wake my brother up, who is sleeping in our little side apartment outside of the house. Maybe the door was open for, like, 10 seconds, and normally we have a fence in the front yard, but since we had some stuff installed in the back, we’ve had some construction going on the past three weeks, they took that fence down. So, 10 seconds, the door was open and Ringo slips out and takes off. And I realize immediately, like, he ran. Right away, there’s no delay, right away. And I’m like, “Fuck, ugh. God. Mom, can you please …” My mom is here, so she’s helping with the baby, which is really helpful. Dennis was away playing beach tennis. I was like, telling my brother, I’m like, “Dude, Ringo just ran, we got to go get him. I don’t know where he’s going. He took off, like, he fully ran.”
[037:49] I’m out on the street within a minute, and I can’t fucking find him anywhere. Anywhere! I’m just cursing myself, driving around in the car like a maniac. Okay, he wasn’t gone that long, but the panic that arrived back in my body of Ringo being run over by a car, or Ringo being, like, abducted by some weird psycho person who collects Italian greyhounds to put them in his basement and torture them. Or, Ringo mating with some random dog in the street. All of the the things, the horrible, worst case scenarios in my mind, I’m going through, and I just, I just start completely panicking. It was maybe 25 minutes he was missing. Maybe 20 minutes. We were going up and under the car, looking everywhere, can’t find him, going around to all the neighbors. And then finally I drive, like, actually really close to our house, like, the neighbors, basically. Like two houses away. And they have a little entrance, like a little side … You have to drive your car into this dirt road to get there, and I pulled up a little closer to their house, and there I fucking see him! This little shithead! And they have a dog, like a big male dog that doesn’t look like he’s in great shape. He’s one of the dogs that we have in our area that I’m always keeping in the back of my mind, like, okay, making sure that he’s not getting super skinny and sometimes we feed them. Just owned by someone who doesn’t really care about the dogs, but he’s also not abused. But I just, I keep this dog in my mind a lot.
[039:11] He’s paying with this dog, this big boy, and they’re playing and jumping up and down and kind of play biting each other, having a ball, and I yell at him, I’m like, “RINGO!” And he sees me and his ears go straight up, and then he comes running my way. Like, running, running, running. And when he gets a couple feet away, he stops and he slows down. He knows, you know, he knows he’s done something bad, and he’s kind of slowing down. Then I go to grab him and I just, I see it from afar … This motherfucker is crawling with fleas. Like crawling with fleas. The fleas that are covering his body, like, I don’t even know. He’s been gone for 20 minutes, he’s played with this dog for, I don’t know, not that long, and he has so many fleas on him, it looks like he’s just a stray that’s been wandering the streets for months. Like, it’s one of those case, like how is that even possible? How? How is it even possible? It’s just insane! It was just the worst.
[040:09] I had about 30 minutes, maybe before my class I teach every Wednesday, every Saturday at Island Yoga, at the studio. I had a morning where I had to do things! I had to be at the studio and teach. Dennis was away. Luckily the baby was with my mom. We had no flea shampoo in the house because our dogs don’t have fucking fleas! So, I had to drive away, go to a grocery store, and I was so upset I missed the grocery store, I drove the wrong way, I’m getting all stressed out. I just have the shittiest morning.
[040:32] I get the flea shampoo, go back. I have to wash him, we have to spray him with the flea spray, we have to get him the drops for the fleas and the ticks and all this stuff, and then of course I don’t want to bring this dog, covered in chemicals, into my house. And anybody listening that’s against chemicals, like, yeah, give me any flea and tick infested dog and tell me to just spray tea tree oil on that mother fucker, and I’ll tell you that that’s just not going to happen. Maybe your day to day maintenance of taking care of a dog, there’s lots of natural ways to do it with essential oils, but the way we life and these dogs in this part of the world, there’s just … we’ve tried. Just, believe me, there’s no way.
[041:12] So, now I have this dog outside, tied to a leash, barking because he doesn’t understand why he can’t go in the house because he’s just … he’s an idiot. This fucking dog! And of course I don’t want him in the house. Where are all of these fleas going to go? The fleas are going to die, because those are chemicals in his fur, and they have to go somewhere. I don’t want them to go in the house. I don’t want him to infest the other dogs with fleas, or the goats, or the baby, or me, no. So he’s locked outside barking like a crazy dog.
[041:36] In the midst of all of this, I have to run and leave the house, and I barely got to put yoga pants on, and then I have to go to the studio and I’m teaching. Driving to the studio I get this really, intensely shitty news from just two separately shitty things that are happening within the business, of just stuff that isn’t working, like, that hasn’t been working for a long time, and I’ve been banging my head against the wall trying to force it to work, and it’s just not working, you know, like another thing came up. I just got some shitty news from two separate sources, and I had the shittiest morning.
[042:13] I get to the studio and we have 52 people in class, and a huge waitlist, and everybody’s just, like, in there. Anyone who has taken my class, ever … I don’t know, there’s something that’s really quite challenging about teaching a yoga class that’s full of people that’s kind of sitting there waiting for you to change their lives. I don’t know if anybody’s ever had that sort of experience. But sometimes I walk into the room, and everybody is super laid back and chill, everybody is laughing, and you know I’m like, “Hey what’s up?” And people are excited to come. Some people fly all the way to Aruba just to take my class, which is the most amazing thing, and I’m so fucking grateful for it. Like, crazy.
[042:51] Sometimes it’s more relaxed, but sometimes like I walk into the room, and it’s kind of awkward. Everybody’s just sitting there silently waiting for this “Yoga Girl” to come, that they’ve followed on Instagram for years, and they’re inspired … And, you know, people kind of put me on the pedestal, like I’m going to fix something, or I’m going to … I don’t know, sometimes I feel this pressure to perform, which is really quite hard. I’ve, you know, done this for a lot of years, so I’m pretty good at getting into the room and immediately breaking the ice, and making jokes, kind of getting everybody into their own body, because the point of the class is for you to have your experience in your body with your breath. It has absolutely nothing to do with me. If you’re going to take a class, and you’re very busy focusing on something outside of your, you’re going to have a weird experience. It’s not the purpose, it’s not the point of what yoga is. So, I’m pretty good at bringing people back into their own space, and kind of humanizing the whole situation, grounding everybody.
[043:46] Then, of course, when I have a shitty day, which happens … a lot! If you listen to this podcast, you know quite well I’m not perfect. And I have shitty days, and days where things work, and days where things don’t work, and today, just, nothing fucking worked. It was a shitty fucking morning. Nothing was good. And I’m sitting in my office, and I know I have these people waiting for me in the room and I’m just kind of trying to calm my breath and trying to, um … of course, like, I hadn’t made playlist, I was all over the place, and it was just like nothing was really happening. I have this newfound … Not newfound, it’s like old, but it’s new … I told Dennis yesterday, “You know, I think I’m in love with a 90-year old man.” I have a little crush on Ram Dass right now. He’s not 90, I think he’s 87 now. But I’ve been into Ram Dass or read his books and listened to talks for a couple of years, but not, like, right now. I don’t know, there’s like a new spark, love, for his words, and specifically his speaking. So, every night before I go to bed, I listen to talks and I watch these YouTube, really old YouTube interviews and talks and Q&As and stuff with him, and it’s just opening my heart a little more every day.
[044:58] I’m sitting in my office, and I’m like, “Okay, well like, what would Ram Dass do right now?” I take a breath, and he does this beautiful meditation that I love that’s so simple where you just really repeat to yourself, every time you inhale, just noticing the belly rising, and every time you exhale, just notice the belly falling. And that’s it. Just Rising on the inhale, and Falling on the exhale. And you actually repeat those exact words. Inhale rising, exhale falling. And I do that, and I’m sitting in the office, but I can’t calm my breath down. I’m just, in my mind I’m already stressed from everything with Ringo and the fear, like I’m realizing then it was the fear, I was scared we weren’t going to find him, I was scared he was going to be dead, I was scared … All of those old things that I have said, “Oh, I’m not scared about Ringo anymore,” like, they’re still there. I’m still scared. It’s just not very present, I guess. But all of that is kind of a shock to my nervous system.
[045:50] Then getting those really shitty news, and then in my mind I’m thinking about staff and employees and changes we have to make, and structures, and procedures that we need to implement, and the things that aren’t working, and all things that are just … In my mind I’m really attached to this stuff that’s just bad, right? It’s not working. Nothing is working for me today. Shitty shitty morning. It’s only 9:30 a.m. and I’ve already decided it’s a shitty day! You know? It’s kind of ridiculous, but generally that’s how it goes. At least for me, that’s how my mind works.
[047:45] So, I walk into the room, and maybe it’s already my energy and I wasn’t able to center it, and I wasn’t able to ground and tap into my breath, but when I walk in the room, I don’t feel that laid back, relaxed, laughing, kind of chill vibe. Everyone is just dead silent. They’re just sitting there, staring at an empty yoga mat, and there’s kind of, not ominous music in the background, but there’s some chanting music, and it’s not very happy. And I feel this, like, oh my god these people are sitting here waiting for me to perform some miracle for them! And I’m supposed to teach and be this holier than thou person, or be inspiring, or be anything, and sometimes being what you’re not, or putting on a face, or the mask, or the persona of not being exactly what you feel like in that exact moment, it’s just kind of betraying yourself. Does that make any sense? It’s a little betrayal to who you actually are. That was a big epiphany that I had when I did my first ever big meditation and holistic therapy retreat was that I was, when I came out of that, I was so done having conversations with people that didn’t interest me. This was a really weird thing. Like, I was like 18, 19, and I realized for every second that I spend in conversation, smiling at a person, talking about some bullshit that I don’t give a flying fuck about is like a second draining away from my life. It’s like, a moment that I could use to be present, to be happy, or joyous. If you really start thinking about this, and if you do, be careful, because you’re opening a Pandora’s Box of bull shit, but we spend a lot of time in our day-to-day life just being polite to each other. Just kind of engaging in conversation about stuff we don’t care about. People talking to us about stuff they don’t care about, saying the things that we think are the right things, or talking to the people we think are the right people, and doing what society tells us to do, and it’s not really socially accepted to be in a gathering or in the conversation and just go, “Um, you know what? This doesn’t really interest me. I’m just going to go over there right now. Sorry, bye.” You know? Who does that? Um … I sometimes do that. I used to do that all the time.
[050:03] So, when I came out of this first retreat that I did, I would literally, I would be in a party, or a gathering, or like a dinner, I’d meet an acquaintance at the grocery store, whatever, and I would find myself in conversation where people … and it’s usually, if it’s mindless, meaning it’s not conscious or present or important, and not just in a selfish way of like I only want to do what’s important to me, but what actually felt real and valuable. So, every time I’m engaged in a conversation and my heart is like, “Ugh, this kills me. I don’t want to talk about your newest weight loss regime and how much you’re into Crossfit,” or whatever. Not hating on Crossfit. But I was just, I would find myself in whatever conversation, like, I don’t want to hear about your new job and what you do, like, whatever. If my soul is like, “This doesn’t serve me, this person blabbering on about themselves,” which is kind of what I’m doing right now with this podcast, but if it didn’t serve me, I would just walk away. I would literally go, “I am so sorry, don’t mean to offend anyone, but I’m just … my attention is needed elsewhere.” Or, “I’m just not into this conversation.” And I would literally walk away. There were moments where I would just leave a conversation, say nothing, and go somewhere else and just go sit down and be in silence, because that’s kind of what my soul just urged me to do, because I felt like I was betraying myself pretending to be interested when I wasn’t.
[051:17] The moment I started doing that, I realized I was automatically attracted, and I found myself in a lot more conversations that were really genuine to the space I was in. So, suddenly I was talking to new people, and I found myself in this really deep … like people I would never normally talk to, or types of conversations I wouldn’t normally have, because I was wasting so much time in mindless stuff that I didn’t even care about, at all.
[051:39] And this goes with family and stuff too. And we do stuff out of obligation, to be polite, to not hurt someone’s feelings. I find that if we spend our entire lives being really careful not to hurt anybody’s feelings, we’re going to eventually betray ourselves, and we’re going to hurt our own feelings. So, I would rather not spend, like, you know, what’s probably months or maybe years of my life engaged in conversation that doesn’t interest me, that isn’t beneficial to the evolution of my consciousness, or the greater good of what I believe is the greater good for the world. So, mindless stuff, I would rather walk away, right?
[052:12] So, today, when I found myself in this classroom, and I just felt like everybody’s expecting me to be this Yoga Girl, and right now I don’t feel like Yoga Girl! I just want to kind of … I don’t even want to teach this fucking class! I don’t even want to be here! I want to go home. I want to be home. I want to hug my baby and my husband. I want to drink a cup of coffee in fucking silence, and just chill out. I just want to sit for a second and just be alone. I just want to like … I don’t want to be here! I don’t want to perform and teach this class for these people. That’s the space I was in.
[052:48] But, of course, you can’t live your whole life that way. You can’t just bail on your responsibilities. That’s just not how things go. But, instead of immediately, you know, sitting down and going, “Hey, how can I support you? How is everybody? My name is Rachel, welcome to the class, today we’re going to talk about this.” No, I just kind of sat down and I was like, “Okay, I need a moment, so can everybody just, like, find a partner, sit down, and share three things in this moment that you are grateful for?” And I said those words out loud. I didn’t plan it. It just kind of came out, because I needed a moment to sit down and just gather my thoughts at the front of the class without them looking at me, like, waiting for me to say something profound.
[053:25] As they’re talking, they were like, immediately, “Oh great,” okay, everybody’s talking, they’re sharing their gratitude and people are really into it, and they’re talking about things they’re grateful for, their family and all of this. And as I’m sitting there, I’m like, “Okay, well, what am I grateful for?” The whole morning passed in this crappy day, it’s only 9:30, it’s already a crappy day, and I did not have one shred of gratitude for anything, because I was still stuck in my own story of how I had a bad day, how nothing was going my way, and this fear of losing Ringo, and all of this stuff.
[053:53] I thought of it, I’m like, okay, well turn it around. Did I ask … probably asked the group to share that, because what I needed in that moment, what Ram Dass would have told me is to turn the situation around. So how can I bring my awareness into this present moment, and a really good present moment … what’s the word I’m looking for … like an exercise. A present moment exercise is to search for gratitude, right away. So whenever we find ourselves in like a shitty moment, shitty thing, we’re fighting with someone, we’re unhappy, bad day, dog runs away, fucking fleas everywhere, baby crying, whatever … Like, okay, where’s the gratitude? What am I grateful for right now?
[054:30] And as everybody was talking in the room, talking to each other and getting into it, I just closed my eyes and took a breath. Like, well, “Where’s my gratitude in this moment?” And then it hit me! And I was like, “And I am grateful that Ringo came back home!” And then I got all teared up, like I almost started like burst into tears in the front of class. I was like, “I’m just so grateful he came back. He came home. What if he hadn’t came home? I’m grateful I have this dog.” And I share this with the whole room. I was like, “I needed this exercise right now because I needed gratitude in my day, because I’ve had a really fucking shitty morning! I don’t feel at peace. I feel like fucking shit!” And for me, the moment of gratitude that just came up is I am grateful Ringo came back home. I’m grateful I have this tiny little being in my life! This dog this animal that I love soooo much. Like, I get to love him so much. He brings me so much joy, every day. He’s brought me so much joy over the past five years, he brings me so much joy every day. I love him so much. I’m so grateful I get to have a being in my life that I care about so much that just the thought of losing him, or driving around looking for him for 20 minutes can ruin my day so much that I have to sit in front of a classroom and almost cry about it! Like, so fucking grateful I have him in my life. I’m so grateful he came back home, huh?
[055:54] And just speaking those words, you know, and then we went around the room, and someone shared that they’re really grateful I can be here. Like, I can be here and practice here, and I have the ability to move my body, and to roll out my mat. I’m just grateful. And someone shares, well, I’m grateful I get to be here in this life. I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and made it through. I’m grateful I’m alive. You know? And these stories start coming up, and someone’s grateful for their children, and it’s just … you know? It’s so easy, so easy, to change the entire vibration of a room. It’s so easy to change the vibration of a conversation. It’s easy to change a day around. So, we don’t need to have bad days! Especially at 9:30 in the morning. Don’t deem the whole day a bad day, but let your self, yeah, let yourself have a crappy moment. Don’t let it overtake you and pull you into what probably becomes like a snowball of stuff. Because this energy that we take from the original thing that happened, we take it with us everywhere we go. And all of the sudden, yeah, we manifested a bad day because we brought that energy of tension, of stress, of fear, of anger, of frustration, whatever … We bring it with us in every encounter, and then stuff starts happening, and all of the sudden it’s the end of the day, and we sit in our beds, and instead of thinking, like, “I’m so grateful I have this life,” we think, “Fuck this fucking day. This was shit! I’m going to bed.” Right?
[057:14] So, use gratitude to turn yourself around. Do it right now. Right now. Right now, right now. In the midst of listening to this podcast with me telling me my weird storytelling stuff about life, and dogs, and sperm, and gratitude and whatnot, like, in this moment in your life, right here, right now, three things. I just like the idea of three. Look for more than one, but three things. What are you really grateful for? Especially if you’re pondering an issue where you have something that doesn’t work.
[057:46] So I got to turn that, go a little bit deeper with that as well after class, when I was like, “Okay, I have all of these issues at work and stuff that isn’t happening,” and I was like, “Well, I’m really pretty damn grateful that I have work,” right? The fact that I have a business, that I’m a business owner, that I get to run this business, that I have people that want to work here, that we have people that want to come here and practice, and like that I have this community to work with. I’m really grateful to be in this field, to do this work every day. Like I really, really, really, truly am. And all of the sudden when that moment of gratitude gets brought into the equation, I’m like, “Well, that issue wasn’t that bad.” Right? I have a new mindset. “You know what? We can figure this out. I think there’s an easy fix here. We can talk to that person, and we switch that around, and all of the sudden, solutions come.” Right? And if solutions don’t come and the answer is walk away or change something, that’s okay too.
[058:38] So, gratitude, gratitude, gratitude all the way, you guys. Thank you for tuning in in what’s been a very unusual moment of storytelling for me, and me baring my soul, and I hope you are okay with me not being perfect, because I do not intend on pretending any longer. I love you all, and I’ll see you next week!
[End of Episode]
ZipRecruiter – ziprecruiter.com/yoga
Daily Harvest – daily-harvest.com (promo code YOGAGIRL)
Parachute – parachutehome.com/yogagirl