Out with the Old, In with the Artichoke

in with the artichoke ~d nelson

in with the artichoke ~d nelson

While it’s been said that
an old dog cannot learn new tricks,
I say, “has anyone actually asked?”

in with the artichoke 2~d nelson

in with the artichoke 2~d nelson

Turns out that, when queried
14 year old Fang was quite articulate.
Given the right inspirational conditions
he was willing & able
to cultivate self empathy
then, do best for himself,
while considering what’s best for others.
Going from full-time meat shredding savage beast
to part-time mild-mannered plant-based eater.
Amazing!

A for artichoke, B for broccoli, C for carrot

A for artichoke, B for broccoli, C for carrot

Loving eyes & wagging tail convey
his grasp of beautiful endowments found
in all things consumed via mouth,
nose, eyes, ears & touch.
He now wishes to eat in such a way
that his compassion is kept alive
by reducing suffering of other living beings.


Well, if such an old dog can learn beneficial new tricks,
envision what each of us can do
to long-held habit energies
with empathy & love towards ourselves & others.

Just 3 deep, calm mindful breaths
can bring awareness of the miracle.
Fearlessly try this:  Breathe in, calm; Breathe out, smile. Repeat.
This year offers a bonus
gift of a Leap Second.
Enough time to awaken
that happy puppy, inside.
May your new year be in peace
as each moment leaps
into existence,
breath by breath.

Every morning, when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand-new hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy, and happiness to ourselves and others. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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97 thoughts on “Out with the Old, In with the Artichoke

  1. Margarita

    Until the day he crossed the Rainbow Bridge at 17 years of age, our Mickey not only learned, he also taught, new tricks. And continues to teach with his loving memory.

    Happy new year, David, to you, Fang, and all you love! 😉 xoxoM

    Reply
    1. smilecalm Post author

      such a sweet reflection, Margarita!
      wishing you and yours a beautiful year!
      may all old dogs & less old ones
      learn ways of love and understanding 🙂

      Reply
  2. Genie

    It’s true, dogs love eating fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts. They especially love avocado. In fact, I had a friend who had an avocado orchard in California that he bought with his wife, and a large Great Dane male came with the property, he never fed the dog because he noticed that the dog would not eat the kibble he put out for him, the intelligent Great Dane preferred to eat ripe raw avocados that he picked up off the ground and ate when he wanted to.
    When he sold the farm he never missed the property but he did regret not taking the Great Dane with him to his new home, where he could have bought him avocados from a store. This was a guy who didn’t like digs before he met the avocado eating Great Dane, an older man he was, and it goes to show that people can learn new things that are of compassion and good for the All, too. 🙂

    Reply
      1. smilecalm Post author

        often i get down to a meditation center in Escondido
        in the heart of avocado country
        and now i’ll be smiling even more picturing
        that doggie with his fruits ripening in the trees!
        wishing a happiness & peace this new year Genie 🙂

  3. Sue Dreamwalker

    Dogs just love fruit and veggies if given the chance.. There is hope for the rest of the world Yet LOL
    And what better way to start the New Year than to a veggie treat..
    And a treat it was to see your lovely four legged friends tucking in with smiles and delight..
    I am breathing in..

    Reply
    1. smilecalm Post author

      Thank you for your kind contribution of fruits & veggies, Sue!
      we’re wishing you & your loved ones
      a diet of happiness and harmony
      this new year of calm, happy breaths 🙂

      Reply
  4. sasokisoaps

    Fireworks cracking the sky outside, the clock has ticked over, and we in Oz are there!
    My old dog learned all sorts of new tricks in the last 6 months after his stroke.
    To be true, the new tricks were old ones that he forgot while his brain struggled for a while,
    But my broccoli eating kitchen hound is back in action, with his head in the fridge vegie tray whenever I open it 😊
    Peace and quiet Joy to you and your pups in 2017 smilecalm, and thanks for your gentle wisdom shared.

    Reply
    1. smilecalm Post author

      makes me happy knowing that you, and many others
      are safely, and happily already over
      on the other side, dear sasokisoaps 🙂
      now Fang is gonna be sticking his head in the frig when it opens!
      wishing you rest and beauty when again awakened
      in the new year, with love for & by all those in your life 🙂

      Reply
  5. JC

    And this year my resolution is to get a dog who can teach me to eat vegetables and fruit in this year of the artichoke. Have a wonderful New Year…

    Reply
  6. inesephoto

    Happy New Year! Thank you for this wonderful post and a lesson from your dog 🙂 It is my belief that we should learn from the other inhabitants of the Earth. Wishing you all the best!

    Reply
    1. smilecalm Post author

      your poetic breeze makes me smile, Rosaliene!
      yes, may we all realize that we’re in
      this sea of warmth & frigidity together!
      wishing you a happiest of new years 🙂

      Reply
  7. IreneDesign2011

    Wish you a happy new year with your loved once David 🙂
    Even I’m vegetarian and my dog loves spinach and other veggies, I do take care, that he gets his meat too. Both dogs and cats are Carnivors and need their meat too.

    Reply
    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for this advice, Irene!
      yes, the doggies are still eating
      some meat, as is their nature,
      but a bit less so!
      a happy new year to you
      and your artistic works 🙂

      Reply
  8. Dennis the Vizsla

    hello smilecalm its dennis the vizsla dog hay an artie choke!!! my dada luvs artie chokes!!! he kalls them a delivry sistem for butter!!! he yoozed to bring them to wurk frum time to time and his frend wood say he wuz eeting a kaktus!!! happy impending noo yeer!!! ok bye

    Reply
  9. Healing Grief

    Interesting post David. My dog does love fruit too and I thought he was unusual! You are right, we all have immense potential to learn so much. Each new year and day is such a gift to each of us, and I wish expansion, abundance, love and peace to us all for 2017. I also look forward to more inspirational posts from you. 🎉🙏🏻🎉

    Reply
    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you, dear Karen,
      yes, interesting times inspire
      interesting posts, i guess!
      may your new year bring
      forth happiness & ease
      in this classroom
      of life 🙂

      Reply
  10. Vicki

    Happy New Year, David.
    Here’s hoping this year will be filled with Change.
    Change for the better and Better for the Planet 🙂
    May all those Minds filled with Anger and Destruction be filled with Calm and Peace.

    Reply
    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for your kind wishes
      and me and the other living beings
      on this beautiful planet, Vicki!
      may your 2017 days be filled with joy,
      well-being and adventure
      there “down under”, david 🙂

      Reply
  11. Mél@nie

    bonne année, Monsieur-Sir David! 🙂 mille merci-thanx a bunch of your favourite flowers for dropping by my playground and for your nice lines… send you my very best for 2017: health, joy, peace and tons of inspiration… cheers! santé! Mélanie Bedos Nicolas

    Reply
  12. Cate

    “Breathe in, calm; Breathe out, smile. Repeat.” Got it! Thanks for another wonderful post and for the lovely New Year’s wish, David. Blessings back to you and yours, human and animal, and indeed, to all of us. (I think Fang eats better than I do; I must look into that. :))

    Reply
  13. sloppy buddhist

    we have twenty-four brand-new hours to live…i love Thich Nhat Hanh…peace is every step is one of the first books i got from my yoga teacher…compose a wonderful smiling and caring new year David…lovely post…i love dogs too ❤

    Reply
    1. smilecalm Post author

      Fang and I are smiling to your kind
      reflection, dear Hedy! that book does
      inspire peaceful steps. Wishing you
      joy in each step into the new year 🙂

      Reply
  14. Hariod Brawn

    Happy New Year to you and yours David! 🙂 It seems that Tom has pointed up the need to exercise caution when feeding certain foodstuffs to dogs, and doubtless you are aware of most of them – grapes are a definite no-no, even though most dogs will eat them readily. Other than for the need for such caution, then Vegan diets are certainly viable for dogs, as many will testify. 🙂

    Reply
    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for the caring doggie advice, Hariod. these doggies won’t be eating a grape, or most other fruits or veggies. anyway, the post really wasn’t about doggies, at least the canine types. wishing you ease, joy and maybe a cycle this new year 🙂

      Reply
    1. smilecalm Post author

      so kind of you to share this, JoAnna!
      i believe it’s possible for many of us
      old doggies to learn new, beneficial ways,
      especially with divine support 🙂

      Reply
  15. harulawordsthatserve

    This is so adorable; the perfect soft, smile inducing, warm, wise way to offer an important invitation. And I LOVE artichokes 😉 Love and blessings to you and your inspiring four legged companion…xxx

    Reply
  16. Mél@nie

    @Thich Nhat Hanh… he’s quite popular in France, too… I love his wise quotes… ❤ and I also appreciate les artichauts… 🙂
    * * *
    last June, on the road to Monterrey, I passed by Castroville, California – the international capital of the artichaut-artichoke… 🙂

    Reply
    1. smilecalm Post author

      never knew we’ve been enjoying
      such tasty French cuisine, Mélanie!
      i’ve enjoyed visiting Plum Village many times, along with happy local Francophones 🙂

      Reply
  17. Michael

    Amazing how much can change in a leap second! Compassion can arrive as quick as lightning in the right conditions. It takes even a little longer to digest an artichoke… 🙂

    Peace and Happy New Year, David!
    Your words are a treasure throughout the year–
    Michael

    Reply
    1. smilecalm Post author

      Fang is wagging to your kind words, Aquileana! while mostly meat eating, he will try small amounts of some veggies.
      Wishing you a happy moment, david 🙂

      Reply

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