Barbara has a new book out called "Wisdom Found in the Pause: Joie's Gift." It's available on Amazon as an e-book or paperback.
Today I'm interviewing Barbara, and you can find my review at the end of the post!
|Barbara & her special-needs pup, Joie
Here's an excerpt of the description from Amazon: ...(In the book) Techel explores both the real-time beauty and long-term benefits of life’s transitional periods. In what has become Techel’s trademark, Wisdom Found in the Pause shares the profound life lessons we can learn from animals. Her first book, Through Frankie's Eyes: One woman's journey to her authentic self, and the dog on wheels who led the way, told the story of how a paralyzed dachshund named Frankie led Barbara to groundbreaking work with children, persons with disabilities, and the elderly. After Frankie’s death, Barbara often felt called to embark on another direction, yet she was reluctant to let go of the purpose and identity she had so closely tied herself to. Wisdom Found in the Pause is the story of Joie, another paralyzed dachshund, who would serve as Barbara’s teacher, friend, and ultimately angel. ... Through this journey she realized the most valuable gift we can give ourselves is the time to slow down, hear and heed our inner thoughts, for this is how we will welcome that sweet stillness of being, that wisdom found in the pause.
PS: It's no spoiler to warn blog readers that Joie dies during the telling of your story – after all, you mention it on page 1. What made you decide to do that?
BT: Thank you for asking this question. I struggled with whether or not I should state that up front at the beginning of writing this book. Mainly, because so often I’ve read or heard people comment that they won’t read a book where a dog has died – that it is just too painful.
While I truly understand that pain, I’ve come to see transition in death and transition during trials in our life that there are gifts within these times of pain and difficulty. Meaning, that if we only focus on the sadness of death or a change in our life, we tend to miss out on the new blessings it often brings, too.
And it’s not that I don’t grief, because I do and I think we have to allow ourselves to go through the process that feels right for each of us. But the older I’ve gotten and the more I understand about this thing called life – that if we open to all that life is – that we can find blessings in most anything, including the death of a loved one or a difficult challenge we are going through.
If we didn’t experience love we wouldn’t know grief – it we didn’t experience joy we wouldn’t know sadness. Each offers us new ways in which to grow and experience each day.
PS: How did the book come to be? Please share what inspired you to start writing it.
BT: Honestly, after I wrote my last memoir, Through Frankie’s Eyes: One woman’s journey to her authentic self, and the dog on wheels who led the way, the story of how my first paralyzed dachshund changed my life in many profound ways, I really couldn’t imagine I’d write another book. Frankie, and sharing her story with so many had become so closely tied to my identity that I thought I’d found my purpose, which so many yearn to find, and that that was it for me because she was now gone. I had done what I came here to do is what I thought, and thought that we couldn’t have more than one purpose.
Ah, but Spirit had other plans for me. There was this inner nudge that had begun trying to get my attention about a year before Frankie passed, which I kept ignoring and pushing away. The reason being was that I was scared because for so long I’d had this knowing of what my purpose was. But once Frankie was gone I didn’t know who I was anymore. But I just kept pushing on even though I was uncomfortable with what that inner voice was urging me to do, which was to slow down and listen.
But when I started to realize how as a society we don’t value listening to our intuition or what is also called our inner voice, and taking time to be with it, then I knew I needed to share what transpired for me. I wanted to help others see the gifts in being in a time of transition. And that if we take the time to pay attention and tune into our intuition that it can help us to lead a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
PS: I really related to the quote you mention in the book from Sue Bender to "practice feeling good where you are." I have to continually remind myself of the lesson from our angel Abby – to live in the moment. I think this is such a great lesson for everyone, no matter where you are in life. Can you expand on how you practice feeling good about where you are?
BT: I think you hit the nail on the head, Jackie – living in the moment is a practice. It’s like meditation when our mind wonders off; we have to gently guide it back. It’s not that one can be perfect in meditation, as in always living in the moment. It takes living in more awareness. And I think, having experienced this myself, the more we practice this, the more we remember and can recall it easier to bring ourselves back to this peaceful state of being.
To practice feeling good where I am I remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect (not an easy thing in our perfectionist driven society!). I also incorporate much more self-care into my life such as yoga, meditation, walks and reading. And one of the best ways, really, that I’ve found is just being in the presence of animals – they just automatically remind us just by making the choice to just sit and be in observance with them.
But I really do think it is all about living more in awareness and then when you do, tuning into how you feel when you live more in the present moment – because when you do start to pay more attention to this, I’m pretty sure you will find yourself wanting more of it.
PS: I love stories of the signs our loved ones who have passed send us. The paw print on the cover of the book relates to a story like that - can you share that story? (Readers - note the paw print behind the 'e' in Pause on the cover.)
BT: It was such a wonderful goosebump moment! When I took a two month sabbatical from my writing, being visible on Social Media, and all that I’d done working so hard to build a name for myself, it wasn’t an easy thing to just walk away for a while. I questioned over and over again the first days and weeks into my sabbatical if this was the right thing to do – and oh, how I felt guilty at times also for what felt like I was doing nothing.
Part of what I did in working through learning to be more than do was returning to books I’d read in the past that helped me – one book in particular about an author who had taken a self-imposed break from all that she’d been doing.
Reading a passage in Joan Anderson’s book The Second Journey early one evening it was exactly what I needed to hear and it brought tears to my eyes. As I let the passage sink deep into my being, I picked up a beverage I had sitting on the arm of the Adirondack chair. There was condensation that dripped from the glass and after I took a sip, just before I set it back down, I happened to glance down – and there on the arm of the chair the water that had dripped from the glass had perfectly formed the shape of a paw print. I could hardly believe my eyes!
I knew without a doubt it was a sign from my dear Joie letting me know that I was exactly where I was meant to be – this was her gift to me – to understand that I no longer needed to prove myself and I was worthy just as I am.
Thanks, Barbara for the thoughtful answers!
After really enjoying "Through Frankie's Eyes," I eagerly looked forward to Barbara's new book. It did not disappoint! Once again, I found Barbara's writing to be very relatable. It just so happens I feel like I'm in a "pause" moment in my own life (at least with respect to my writing, and I've felt a little anxious about it now and then) so I was happy to read how she dealt with her own transition period.
A note about books where the dog dies...
I know a lot of folks don't like to read a book where the dog dies. I'm one of those people! When the dog dies at the end of a story, I'm left a weepy mess. BUT it's okay in this book. Partly because it happens in the middle of the book - so you have a little cry, and then you move on with Barbara as she does; and partly because of how wonderfully she tells her story. So don't let the fact that Joie becomes Angel Joie put you off the book!
To connect with Barbara visit her website, joyfulpaws.com.
Find her active on these social media avenues:
• E-mail: email@example.com
Thanks to BlogPaws for hosting Wordless Wednesday and thanks to y'all for letting us be wordy today!! Stop by BlogPaws to check out all of the other blogs in the hop.