My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. – The Dalai Lama
Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness? Maybe someone let you go ahead in the grocery store line because you only had one item. The driver in the car ahead of you at the toll booth paid your toll. A friend you haven’t talked to in a while called for no reason at all. If you’ve been on the receiving end of such an act of kindess, you know how wonderful it feels.
Research suggests that positive emotions help contribute to better physical and emotional health. Kindness is a beautiful way to supercharge your health. Kindness is a quality that I look for in almost every person I form any kind of relationship with – it matters that much to me. Kindness to cats, and all animals, is the most important to me, but kindness to other human beings is a close second. One of my pet peeves: people who are unkind to waiters or other service personnel.
I found myself thinking a lot about kindness this past week, as I was watching all the coverage about Hurricane SandyContinue Reading
Last Sunday night, we told you we were ready for the approaching storm. We had stocked up on emergency supplies, including canned food for Allegra and Ruby in case their raw food went bad in the event of a power outage, and chocolate for me in case – well, because you need chocolate when life gets stressful. We had Storm Soother and Stress Stopper on hand. We were as ready as you can ever be for something like this.
By the time we woke up Monday morning, it was raining heavily. The forecast was for the rain and wind to increase steadily throughout the day, with the worst to come in the afternoon and into the night. I decided to venture out for my weekly Pilates session in the morning, followed by lunch with a friend. I needed the distraction from worrying, not to mention the exercise. The roads were already deserted, and many businesses were either already shut down, or closing early. By the time I got home a couple of hours later, the wind had started to pick up in earnest.
I expected to find Allegra downstairs, in or near her safe spaceContinue Reading
Stretching is an important part of healthy living: benefits range from increased flexibility and mobility to better athletic performance and decreased risk of injury. A regular stretching program has been part of my daily routine for more than 30 years. I’ve had minor back problems ever since I was a young adult, and twice daily stretching exercises have most likely helped save my back again and again.
And who better to teach us the importance of stretching than our cats? Have you ever seen a cat get up from a nap without thoroughly stretching first?
Stretching is actually an instinctive activity: most people stretch without having to be reminded before they get out of bed. It appears that our bodies naturally protect us from injuring ourselves by moving too fast after a period of inactivity. Depending on your age, and what kind of physical condition you’re in, you may find that even getting up from being seated at your desk for a long period of time will result in aches and pains unless you stretch first.Continue Reading
Have you ever met someone who veers toward the verbose side when a few words — or even silence — will do the trick? If you’ve met me, then you certainly have. I think my loquacious leanings are partly because I’m an extrovert, but also because I sometimes feel nervous and need to stuff empty space with words, no matter how trivial. When I find myself jabbering in circles, I’m typically met with either blank stares or polite smiles. And then I continue jabbering, because it feels safe to fill the gaps.
Cats are completely comfortable with silence; they even walk silently. What’s more peaceful than the calm quiet of a cat? Their eye and tail movements speak volumes without even once muttering a meow. I’ve certainly met some chatty cats; in fact, my Phoebe is one who isn’t afraid to speak. The difference is that when she speaks, it’s purposeful: she has a message to convey. I also have messages, but sometimes they could be communicated in fewer, more thoughtful, wordsContinue Reading
I recently reviewed Dr. Michael Fox’s book Healing Animals and The Vision of One Health: Earth Care and Human Care, a fascinating vision of a world where the healing of animals, care for the earth, and a revolution of our food and health care systems all work together to create One Health, driven by an integrative and holistic approach. I have since become very interested in this concept of One Health, and as a result, I was intrigued when I came across Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing by Barbara Hatterson-Horowitz, M.D. and Katherine Bowers.
Zoobiquity is a simple idea—animals and humans get the same diseases, yet physicians and veterinarians almost never talk to each other. Zoobiquity is a new approach to medicine that brings together human doctors and animal doctors to treat the diseases shared by patients of many species.Continue Reading
Fall has definitely arrived in my part of the world. While I enjoy the beautiful colors of autumn all around me, it’s not my favorite season – mostly because of what comes after. I don’t like cold weather, and I definitely don’t like snow. But this year, I’m determined to embrace autumn and enjoy the season for what it is, rather than viewing it just as a precursor to winter. After all, that’s what living in the moment is all about. I’m making a point this year to really notice the gradual changing of the leaves, and to appreciate nature’s beauty, rather than anticipate the inevitable journey toward falling leaves and winter.
Autum is a season of harvest and a celebration of abundance. It’s a good time to take stock of all you’ve accomplished this year, and take some time to really appreciate your own growth. It’s a season of contradictions: warm, almost summer like days alternate with chilly days and nights. It’s a reflection that our lives aren’t always predictable, that life can be messy, and that joy and sorrow are both part of life.
Do you ever have trouble making decisions? Perhaps you’re being too rational about it. Life isn’t all black and white, and a decision is rarely all right or all wrong. Contrary to the picture above, there really are no wrong decisions (although the kitten in the photo might disagree), there are only different choices. Additionally, very few decisions are irreversible. We always have the power to make a different choice.
Another reason why making a decision can be difficult is fear. Fear of the outcome, fear of how a “wrong” decision may impact our lives and the lives of those around us, fear of taking some risks. A fear-based decision is never a good decision. Fear limits. Fear is never truth. If you feel fear, remember to connect with your spiritual core and remind yourself that there is no room for fear when you are connected to your true self.
Psychotherapist and bestselling author Margaret Paul, Ph. D., writes in an article on The Huffington Post that “making decisions can be difficult, but we make it especially hard when we try to decide from our mind, Continue Reading
Ruby wants to know: when was the last time you played hooky?
There’s a reason it’s called a mental-health day. Studies show that taking time off, even if it’s just for a few hours, relieves stress, lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease.
Clearly, Ferris Bueller was right all those years ago: we all need a break now and then. Whether it’s catching up on some much needed rest, doing something fun to recharge our batteries, or just hanging out with our cats, sometimes, you just have to blow off work.
This can be challenging for those of us who are self-employed, especially if we love what we do.Continue Reading
Much has been written about the power of positive thinking and affirmations as tools to a better life. We may not be able to control the world around us, but we can control our thoughts, so why not choose positive ones? Another argument for positive thinking is that it sends out a happier vibration, and since most cats tend to pick up their humans’ energy, cleaning up your thoughts doesn’t just benefit you, it will also make your cats happy.
With I Create My World: The Power of Thoughts to Shape Our Lives, artist Connie Bowen has created a wonderful little book filled with affirmations and colorful, whimsical paintings. Even though the book is not a cat book, there are a couple of adorable cat paintings featured, which is why I decided to share this little gem of a book with you.
The book is aimed at children, and it’s a great way to introduce young children to the concept of positive thinking and affirmations, but I think adults will be equally delighted by this lighthearted approach to the topic. Continue Reading
No one has to remind a cat to get plenty of rest. When kitty feels tired, she drops what she is doing, curls up and relaxes or dozes until her body feels ready to resume activity. Felines are masters at listening to subtle mental and physical cues. In a world where more is better, most humans still have a difficult time jumping off life’s treadmill and getting the rest their bodies require. Rest doesn’t always mean sleep (although sleep is very important); rest means taking both mental and physical breaks from activity.
I have always had the tendency to go-go-go and then fall into an exhaustive zombie state at the end of the day. I sometimes feel like if I don’t get everything done in a day, I am failing in some way. Sure, I usually accomplish a lot in a day, but at what cost? And who is telling me I “have” to check all the items on my to-do list? Me. I’m the one making the rules and I’m the one who gets to make moment-to-moment choices. As a longtime Type A personality, it’s been a challenge for me to loosen up a bit and consciously build downtime into my day. I feel guilty and think, “I could be doing XYZ instead of reading a book or taking a nap.” The truth is, I always feel refreshed, in a better mood and more mentally alert when I’ve chosen to break from the mad rush of the day. I am undoubtedly grateful I made the choice.
Cats don’t even have to think, “Should I stop birdwatching and take a nap?” Continue Reading
You get peace of mind not by thinking about it or imagining it,
but by quietening and relaxing the restless mind. – Unknown
Have you ever met a restless cat? I didn’t think so. Cats do everything they do mindfully. Whether they’re eating, grooming or sleeping, they’re fully present. We could learn a lot from them.
Even though a certain amount of restlessness can propel you out of a rut and toward personal growth, constantly feeling anxious, nervous, agitated or on edge is not good for your mental, spiritual and physical health. I know that whenever I feel restless, it’s usually either because I’m trying to do too much, or because there’s something going on in my life that I’m not willing to deal with.
Regardless of what causes restlessness, the only way to deal with it is to calm your mind. Here are some tips on how to do that:
Spend quiet time alone. You can’t be everything to everybody. Carve out some time for yourself every day, even if it’s only a few minutes.