I have always believed that animals come into our lives to teach us. First and foremost, they teach us about unconditional love. But they also teach us to stretch and grow, to reach beyond our self-imposed limits, and to expand our consciousness. I’ve been fortunate to have had a number of these animals in my life, and not surprisingly, most of my animal teachers have been cats.
I feel blessed that I’ve learned to open my heart to the lessons cats have taught me in my life. It all started with Feebee, my first cat, who was not only my primary support during some very dark days, but was also instrumental in guiding me toward a new career in veterinary medicine. He was followed by Amber, the original conscious cat, who is the subject of an upcoming book, and Buckley, the feline master teacher who changed my life in ways I never could have imagined. Allegra and Ruby are carrying on the tradition of teaching cats in my life.
About a year ago, I began sharing some of these feline lessons in conscious living in my Sunday Purrs column every week. The column became extremely popular Continue Reading
Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back
into the slow circles of nature, is a help. – May Sarton
Patience has never been my strong suit. My mother used to tease me about being impatient when I was little, and apparently, I haven’t changed much since then, because being patient is still a challenge for me. Oddly enough, I became a writer. If there’s anything that requires more patience than sitting in front of a blank screen, waiting to turn it into a book, I don’t know what is. For some reason, I can be patient with the writing process, but in other situations, I find it challenging.
Patience comes with wisdom, and you can learn to be more patient. Ironically, it takes patience to learn to be patient. The following tips can help:
Identify your triggers. Figure out what sets you off. Is it something a family member or co-worker does? Do you become impatient in certain situations, such as being on hold? For some people, physical triggers such as hunger, fatigue or thirst can trigger impatience. Continue Reading
The compassion of true forgiveness is the state of grace necessary to move forward with peace in our lives. Whether it’s forgiveness for others who we feel have wronged us or toward ourselves for self-directed resentments, nothing physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually positive can arise from grudge-holding.
Cats have taught me a lot about forgiveness and unconditional love. Some mornings I’ve watched myself racing around, running late for work, completely ignoring my cat’s obvious affection-sharing efforts. When I arrive home later in the day, he’s completely forgotten the previous morning as we settle in for a sweet snuggle. In these types of situations, I’m much harder on myself than he is on me. I feel badly for not giving him the attention he wants and think about it during the day, sometimes telling myself I can be a better cat-mom. Does this persistent negative thinking serve anything? No. Certainly we can learn from our actions, but we absolutely don’t need to belabor scenarios for which we cannot go back and re-live.Continue Reading
Surrender is faith that the power of love can accomplish anything…
even when you cannot foresee the outcome. – Deepak Chopra
I admit it: I’m a control freak. I like predictability, consistency, and routine. Maybe that’s one of the many reasons why I love cats so much. They tend to thrive on those things, too. I often waste time trying to control, plan and prevent things that I can’t possibly control, plan and prevent. My cats don’t do this. Despite the fact that they’re creatures of habit, they seem to be much better at going with the flow.
This was really brought home to me during our recent two-day power outage. While I was stressed about not having air conditioning, internet access and refrigerated or cooked food, Allegra and Ruby simply went about their usual business. They trusted that they would be fed, loved and cared for, whether the power was on or not.
Given that we live in a world that’s anything but predictable, wanting to be in control of the universe can be frustrating, not to mention futile. Continue Reading
I have always believed that cats come into our lives to teach us. First and foremost, they teach us about unconditional love. But they also teach us to stretch and grow, to reach beyond our self-imposed limits, and to expand our consciousness.
I’ve been blessed that I got to share my life with the original feline master teacher, Buckley, and the original conscious cat, Amber. Both of these cats changed my life in ways I never could have imagined.
And both inspired books. Many of you have already read Buckley’s Story. I’m currently working on a new book which will feature Amber, and will be both a prequel and sequel to Buckley’s Story. You’ll be hearing more about it very soon!
Reiki is an energy therapy that originated in Japan. The word Reiki (pronounced “ray-key”) is a Japanese composite word usually translated as “universal life energy”. It is based on the idea that all living beings have life energy flowing through them. When life energy is high, you, or your cats, are healthy and balanced, more relaxed and less likely to get sick. When it is low, cats and humans alike will be more easily affected by stress and less resistant to illness. Reiki helps return the body to its natural state of balance and well-being.
One of the tenets of Reiki are the five principles, sometimes also known as the five precepts. These “rules to live by” are based on the teachings of Mikao Usui, who developed the practice in the 1920’s. And you don’t have to be a Reiki practitioner to find these principles helpful Continue Reading
Don’t postpone joy until you have learned all of your lessons. Joy is your lesson. – Alan Cohen
Are you a procrastinator? Do you habitually put off doing things you know you should be doing now?
According to Wikipedia, procrastination is defined as the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority, or doing something from which one derives enjoyment, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time.
But there’s more to procrastination than just not getting things done. Contrary to what many people believe, procrastination is not a time management problem. Procrastination is about postponing the life you were meant to live. It keeps us from living in the moment, from living a life filled with joy.
Procrastination is about fear, and living your life from a place of fear leads to living a very small life. Continue Reading
Memorial Day 2001, 11 years ago, I adopted a cat from a local humane society who has transformed our little family with her larger than life personality. To celebrate her adoptiversary, I wanted share some of the things Coco Bear has shown me.
Each day is a wondrous gift, with the potential to be amazing: When the alarm goes off in the morning and my eyes aren’t even open, Coco leaps out of bed and starts rolling around on the floor kicking up her legs, just delighted to have a new day dawning. She makes me smile and share her optimism about a new day to live.
Throw yourself 100% into everything you do: Nothing is done halfway with Coco Bear. Playing, eating, kneading, showing love, sleeping – all done with nothing held back, and no apologies.
If you mess up, charm can help you make amends: Particularly as a young cat Coco was always doing something to make me tear my hair. Continue Reading
How much of your day is spent “playing?” Really — think about it. In a world where working overtime is applauded and rushing our kids from activity to activity has become the norm, who’s got time to relax, laugh, and truly enjoy life?
One of the reasons I am writing about this subject is to remind myself of this very thing. I spend much of my day working from home. I love what I do, but I sometimes become driven and look past a game with my kids or a walk in the woods because there’s always “something I have to do.” Some days I even eat while I’m working. I have to remind myself to take breaks, read a book, play with the cats, or enjoy some music with my husband. It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing those things, I just desire more balance in my life where play comes more naturally.
Honestly, sometimes when I’m working at the computer and my cats are playing with a catnip toy, I feel inspired. Continue Reading
After having just celebrated a birthday, the subject of aging was on my mind this past week. Even though this birthday wasn’t one of the “traumatic” ones – you know, the ones that have a zero at the end – I like to take time each year on my birthday not just for celebration, but also for reflection.
I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my age. Most of the time, it really is just a number to me. I haven’t felt my age for a long time, and I’m frequently caught by surprise when I look in the mirror. How is it possible that someone with grey hair and a few wrinkles is looking back at me, when, at heart, I still feel like a much younger version of me?
I won’t claim that I have the answers to aging gracefully, but I think maybe our cats do. When I worked at veterinary clinics, I was always drawn to the senior cats, especially the really old, grizzled ones. There was just something so beautiful about these cats who were clearly on a path of physical decline, yet their spirits were as full of life as that of a newborn kitten. Cats don’t care about getting white muzzles,Continue Reading