positively present picks: week of october 15, 2012
book review : the positive dog

accepting sadness + stay positive giveaway



This article is part of a series of articles to promote Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present. For more information on the book, visit StayPositive365.com. For details on how to win this week’s giveaway, scroll down to the bottom of this article.  


Accepting what is is a huge part of living a positively present life, but lately I've been struggling a great deal with acceptance. When my little dog Bella was diagnosed with a terminal disease in May, the vet said she would live for a minimum of a month or a maximum (in a very rare case) of two years. She's been hanging in there, and though there have been some ups and downs, she's mostly been doing pretty well. Until recently. She's almost completely stopped eating (everything but treats of course) and is down to 5.5lbs (from her original 8lbs). I've tried everything I can think of to get her to eat (from canned pumpkin to cat food to freshly cooked chicken and almost everything in between), but she's just not interested. 

Though I try to remind myself that I'm doing the best I can, I've been struggling to accept the fact that I don't have control over her disease -- or how quickly it seems to be progressing. I'm sad. I know that at some point (hopefully later rather than sooner) she will die. I know I have to accept that fact, but lately it's been hard. I don't want her to be sick. I don't want her to die. And it's hard to know that as much care and love as I'm giving her, there's no undoing her terminal illness. 

Since I've been struggling with acceptance lately, I've decided to focus on the ways I can start accepting what is (instead of dwelling on what I wish it could be). I know it's not going to be easy -- this whole situation has been one of the biggest challengers of living a positive and present life -- but I have a feeling that if I at least try to accept what is, I'll be able to enjoy the time I have left with her a little bit more. 


4 Ways to Accept What Is (Even When It's Sad)

1. Let the sadness happen. For months, I've been trying to push of my sadness, telling myself, "Don't cry now. Wait until she's gone." or "There's not point in being sad when she's still here." While I know those things are true, I also know that there are benefits to accepting sadness and letting it happen. The other day I got off the phone with the vet and just let myself have a good, long cry. After that, I actually felt better. It's okay to be sad, I've realized. I certainly don't want to dwell on it and spend all my time crying, but I've realized that it's okay to accept the fact that I'm sad -- and to acknowledge that sadness (often in the form of tears) from time to time. 


2. Focus on positive coping. There are lots of ways to cope with sadness, but not all of them are positive. I used to do a lot of negative coping -- drinking, drugs, etc. -- but I've realized that those coping mechanisms usually make things worse (even if they seem effective in the short term). Instead of engaging in negative activities to combat my sadness, I'm choosing to focus on positive coping mechanisms, like writing down how I feel or telling someone what I'm experiencing. Instead of shutting down the negative, sad feelings, I'm doing what I can to get them out of my system positively.


3. Embrace the happy moments. Amidst the struggles to get Bella to eat and the deep sadness I feel when I pet her skin-and-bones frame, there are actually a great many happy moments with her on any given day. She still lights up at the sight of a new toy, wagging that flag of a tail and dancing on her hind legs in anticipation. She still gobbles up her morning treat like it's the best thing she's ever been given, sniffing around anxiously afterward to make sure she didn't miss a morsel. She still greets me like I'm a rock start every time I come home. Every day there are happy moments and it's up to me to embrace these moments -- and accept them just as much as I do the sad moments. Sometimes the happy moments can get lost among all the sad ones and I'm determined not to let that happen. 


4. Find little distractions. Now I know that distracting myself seems like the opposite of accepting what is (and maybe it is), but I do know that it works. After my big little cry fest the other day, I decided to turn on my favorite movie (Elf) to cheer myself up -- and within minutes I was cracking up with laughter. When I'm super sad, I watch funny movies or TV shows. I let myself have these moments of side-splitting laughter because I know that these distractions, these little breaks from feeling sad, give me a positive boost. And it's this boost of happiness that makes it easier to copy with the sad moments. To know I can still laugh, can still be happy, makes accepting sadness much easier to do. 


The truth is, as much as I want to be positive and present, it's not possible all the time. Sometimes I'm going to be negative. Sometimes I'm going to dwell on the past or panic about the future. And that's okay. Be positively present doesn't mean being perfect. It means trying. It means doing the best you can. It means making the most of what is. Acceptance of the tough things in life is never easy, but I'm discovering that there are ways to make it easier. And I'm also realizing that accepting my sadness (instead of trying to push it a way) actually makes those happy moments shine even brighter.  



To promote the launch of Stay Positive : Daily Reminders from Positively Present, PositivelyPresent.com is offering six weeks of giveaways based on the twelve sections in Stay Positive. Each week, readers will have the chance to win one of two awesome giveways. 




1. Link to StayPositive365.com on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr,
    Instagram, Google+,etc. and / or tell your friends about the book
2. Mention which giveaway you want to win (Inspiration or Acceptance) 
3. Let me know how you spread the word in the comments section below 
4. Leave your email address (or another way I can contact you) 


* Every mention you post / tweet / like, etc. counts as one entry. 
  Enter as many times as you want! 

* 2 winners (one for each giveaway) will be chosen + notified via email on
  Friday, October 26, 2012.  



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I posted your giveaway on my Google+ page:

Also pinned it here:

I couldn't seem to find you on Google to try to add you to my circles, lol...I am still trying to get the hang of it!

I just read the book "Less" at the library the other day, it was very good. But I am addicted to journals so would love to win the "Inspiration" giveaway.

Thanks for a great post and a great giveaway!

I resonated with a lot of things in this post - thank you!

Hi! What a wonderful giveaway!

I pinned it --> http://pinterest.com/pin/219550550555726517/

And the Inspiration one, please!

Email: bg.cervera {at} gmail com

Oh, Dani. I quite literally feel your pain, know it in my bones: I am losing my sweet Dexter to nasal cancer (treatable, but ultimately incurable). Almost exactly three years ago, I lost my Obi to lymphoma. Dexter is 9.5 and Obi was almost 8 years old. What I know, having lived through this twice, is that no matter when or how it happens, it is too soon and too sad.

The best description I've heard of this truth, this reality we all have to face when we love, is these lines from poet Mary Oliver:

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Wishing you some peace, and wishing for Bella an easy transition.

Wow, this was a really great post. I especially liked the part at the end where you mention that it's okay not to be positive all the time.

I pinned here: http://pinterest.com/pin/102597697732500307/

The Inspiration giveaway would be awesome to win! Email: thejenndaily [at] gmail [dot] com

thank you for sharing this and how you cope and I am going to try a funny movie, too, great idea! I'm just back from Riley's visit with the vet - he has terminal cancer and I can so relate to your range of emotions (especially being sad & crying when he is still here with me, I feel guilty when I do it as I know it upsets him when I cry - he tries to comfort me and I end up crying harder - what did I do to deserve that kind of love, I ask myself?) - am lucky to have a great vet who seems to understand this in both of us and always makes time to answer the questions and sit on the phone sometimes waiting until I can stop crying to speak again. Bella's soul will tell you when it's time to go and how very honored she was to spend her life here on earth as your friend (this is what I tell myself every day as I say "good bye, love you, see you after work" to Riley as I head to work) - I find it helps me, maybe it will help you, too.
thank you!

Oh Dani...I share your sadness...I know that every time you are with Stella you are sending her love and energy...Stella knows this too...
When you are with her, in your mind remember the times that you and she played and had a great time...If dogs can read minds, then your images and love are what will give her pleasure...

Got your book last week - it's wonderful!!!

My apologies! My daughter-in-law has an identical dog as yours and her name is Stella.

I just wanted to say how very sorry I am that your little Bella is so sick. My heart goes out to you. Love & blessings, Meg

Oh Dani... my heart is with you... having walked that walk myself so many times and held the hands of my clients for the past 30 years no matter when the news comes it still breaks my heart too ((hugs))
yes death is part of life... and I think it is more the missing the we fear... the not having any more.

my own little dogs whenever they wouldn't eat would eat my prime rib steaks... a little sprinkle of salt... a little sliver of garlic rubbed on the pan....a little olive oil on the steak and seared on both sides to rare.....let it sit, covered for 5 minutes, like you would any good steak... don't poke the meat ( it releases all the juices and makes it dry ) then cut it in appropriate size pieces for the dog... I take some and with my hands smush it into kibble or broken cookies then put the other half on top.. and at the last second pour over some of the bloody drippings...

did I tell you I cook for alot of my patients too :~)

when the time is right , you will know.. and may you be surrounded by wonderful positive supportive people

Chelle - I'm not sure if I'm on Google+, but I think you can still post a link to StayPositive365.com without connecting to me. Thanks for spreading the word!

Jill - Thank you so much for sharing your kind words (and that beautiful poem). It's been a tough time, but comments like these really make me feel so much less alone in my sadness.

Jenn - Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. It's difficult to be positive all the time (even when things are going well), but I think the important thing is to never give up.

Colleen - I'm sorry to hear about Riley. I know how hard it is, but it really helps to have a good cry (even when it makes our pups concerned; little Bella doesn't like it when I cry either). Also, the funny movies (or books or websites) really do help!

Wendy - Thanks so much for your kind words! So funny that your daughter-in-law has a Maltese named Stella. Such a cute name!

Meg - Thank you. I really appreciate the love and blessings you're sending our way. Bella had a really good day yesterday and I think it's because of all the positivity readers like you are sending!

LunaJune - It's definitely so hard, no matter how many times it happens. I still cry when I think about losing my childhood dog, Pooky. Thank you for the tips about the prime rib. It's tricky for me because I'm a vegetarian and don't prepare meat, but luckily my parents live nearby and are happy to prepare meals for Bella. Right now she seems to be eating lean hamburger meat, but if that stops working, I'll definitely give the prime rib a try. Thank you so much for sharing your insights and advice!

Just wanted to say I am new to this site, but this first post I read really hit home.

On Oct 7th, after suddenly developing grand mal seizures and suffering for several month with a roller-coaster decline related to a brain tumor, I lost my dog of 11.5 years. He passed gently after having a very bad week.

I had a hard time, because before, he was ridiculously healthy and youthful for a dog his age. I was angry that he was suddenly having to go through this. But after time, I, like you, learned to revel in the good days, even the good moments, when he seemed like he was really enjoying being alive. The times where he danced at the site of a treat, or smiled when he got a belly rub. It was hard to stay positive, but in those moments I did. I cried a lot too, but I think those of us in that situation have every right to (and need!) a good cry here and there.

When he passed, there was a lot of sadness, but then we sat around the kitchen table and looked at pictures of his long, happy life, and smiled.

There are still tears, almost daily, because, I miss him. But I did everything I could to make him happy in those last days, and it sounds like you are doing a great job of that too. Part of that is taking care of you, because they really do understand when you are stressed. Cuddle up with her, have a silly movie marathon, and cherish those moments. Take those moments to suspend the bad stuff and just be her buddy (instead of crying, concerned caregiver all the time). And like you said, dont forget yourself...sometimes you do need a distraction. The pain can be overwhelming and a short reset helps you handle everything better and with a more positive attitude.

My sympathies, and good luck to your doggie.

Even when he passed, after

I'm right there with you with the dog sitation. My dog of 15 years is getting the point where she's going to die soon. It's a good idea to remain happy that we were blessed with such amazing animals in our lives. I'm praying for you and your dog.

Here's my link: http://pinterest.com/pin/76068681177592504/

I like the Acceptance give away.

Thank you for your beautiful post.
xx, Stephanie

Linked to you on Google+; love love your blog/posts.
If chosen I would select the Inspiration giveaway.


Kate - Thank you so much for sharing your experience about you and your dog. I'm really trying to focus on the good and enjoy the moments I have with her. Thank you for reminding me of how important it is to enjoy the good times.

Stephanie - I'm sorry to hear about your dog. Thank you for praying for me and Bella! I'll be thinking of you and your dog as well.

Sorry to hear of Bella's recent state. Continue to keep you and her in my thoughts and prayers.

I appreciate this post...going through somethings on my end and it's so very hard to keep a positive outlook in the midst of sadness and chaos. Thank you for the tips.

All the best to you with the same.

Saggleo - Thanks so much for keeping us in your thoughts. I really hope the tips help you cope with whatever you're going through too.

Thank you for this.

Luna - You're welcome. Thank you for reading!

The comments to this entry are closed.