I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions. I guess I believe in intentions that can change in any moment. I don’t need to wait until New Year’s Eve to decide what’s important to me and set goals for myself. But since many people use the new year as a kickoff point, I thought I’d once again look to my wise felines for cues as to what I’d like to intend for myself in the new year.
Be present with one thing at a time
I know I’m a good multi-tasker, but that doesn’t mean it’s always a great attribute. Sometimes when I’m busy with one activity, I’m thinking about something else. Cats are laser-focused on whatever they currently have their paws on, and when they’re finished, they move on to the next thing. Presence is something for which I constantly strive. Keeping one browser tab open at a time on the computer is a start. It’s way too easy to pop over to Facebook and waste some major time when I have an article deadline. I can find myself easily distracted — and that does nothing for my time management or presence. Cats don’t care about multi-tasking, tabs or time management — they just live in the flow, which is an excellent example for all of us.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. – Lao Tzu
The new year is only five days old today. How are your New Year’s resolutions holding up?
I’m all about reinventing yourself, and finding your bliss, and the clean slate of a new year seems to be as good a time for it as any. And therein probably lies one of the reasons why so many New Year’s resolution fail. Why only pick January 1 to change your life? You can change your life on any given day – it’s YOUR choice, YOUR time.
I stopped making New Year’s resolutions a few years ago. Since I still like the idea of a “fresh start” a new year offers, I set New Year’s intentions instead. I think New Year’s resolutions are destined to fail, because there’s an inherent flaw in the term “resolution.”Continue Reading
The week between Christmas and New Year can be a good time to clear the clutter from your life – and that includes both physical and mental clutter.
The physical surroundings we live in every day in our homes, offices and cars have a strong impact on us. Cluttered environments drain your energy. Just think about the last time you organized a drawer or cleaned your car – do you remember how accomplished you felt, and how you were able to approach the rest of your day from a much lighter perspective? That’s because you released stagnant, cluttered energy.
Allegra, Ruby and I have been working on decluttering for the past few days. Continue Reading
Cats and Christmas trees can make for a challenging combination, but I love the holiday season, and one of my favorite parts has always been the annual decorating of the Christmas tree. Until the tree is up, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas to me, and even though it’s been a little more challening for the past couple of years with two young cats, I’ve made it work.
I’ve collected ornaments for the past thirty some years, and inevitably, bringing out the ornaments each year leads to a lovely, if sometimes bittersweet, trip down memory lane. I grew up in Germany, and traditionally, our Christmas tree was not decorated until Christmas Eve. As a small child, I was not allowed into the living room while the tree was being decked out in its holiday glory. I can still remember the eager and impatient anticipation of the moment when my parents would ring a small brass bell that hung on the tree, and I could finally enter the room. It was pure magic each time. The tree was decorated with multi-colored glass balls, sparkling tinsel, and real candles – something that we can’t even imagine in these safety conscious times we live in.
When I moved to the United States in my mid-twenties, I was introduced to the traditionContinue Reading
In Minnesota, it’s officially cold outside and the holiday season is in full swing. This time of year, I sometimes find myself complaining about the frigid temperatures and stressing about my massive Christmas card list, buying the perfect gifts, and baking 120 dozen treats. OK, I’m exaggerating a bit about the treats, but you get the point. Meanwhile, my cats leisurely nap under the tree, snuggle in cozy blankets and romp in and out of gift boxes. What’s wrong with this picture? Clue: It’s not the ones rolling around on crinkly wrapping paper.
First of all, let’s talk weather. Living in the Upper Midwest means several months of the year will present less-than-tropical temps. We can choose to whine through the inevitable or we can look for the snow cloud’s silver lining. My cats love the seasonal opportunity to press their entire bodies flat against heating vents. Continue Reading
Let go of fear, embrace change, and move toward joy. – Buckley
Fear is a normal response to a threatening stimulus or situation. Without the fear response, neither cats nor humans would survive. Fear prepares us for fight or flight. While our domesticated cats don’t often deal with fear of survival in their environment, some of these fears may be hardwired. The good news is that, with proper support from their guardians, cats can get over their fears. Allegra used to be terrified of bad weather, but has come a long way in the past year in overcoming her fears.
But what happens when fear becomes a part of our daily lives?
We live in a culture of fear. There has never been a time when people have been afraid of so much. Three out of four Americans say they feel more fearful today Continue Reading
I nabbed the photo above from Richard Branson’s Facebook page because I loved the quote so much. And okay, I couldn’t help embellish it a little, because how cool would it be if Allegra and Ruby actually got to hang with Richard Branson?
But back to the quote. I consider myself fortunate that I love what I do for a living, and much of my work feels like play. I love working from home, and being my own boss. But with all this freedom come some challenges when it comes to what is known in popular parlance as “work life balance.” I can’t remember the last time I worked an eight hour day, and I definitely can’t remember the last time when I took an entire weekend off. But does it really matter, when I love my work?
Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the United States. As we’re looking forward to spending time with family and friends and dreaming of turkey dinners, I think it’s important not to lose sight of the true meaning of the holiday: a time to count one’s blessings. Three years ago, I started my tradition of making a “Thanksgiving ABC’s” list. Some of the items on the list repeat year after year, others are new.
Here is this year’s list of what I’m thankful for:
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