‘Tis the season. Many of us are working on our taxes, which, depending on your record keeping system, can be a delight for your feline assistants. After all, what’s more fun than diving into a shoebox full of receipts and watching them fly all over the place?
I spoil the fun for Allegra and Ruby by not using a shoebox system. My bookkeeping software, along with a pretty well organized file system, makes tax time about as painless as it can get, but every year, there’s still that moment, when I see my CPA’s number on the caller id, when I have to take a deep breath and brace myself for the bottom line. I have been blessed with a steadily growing business, which, of course, means that every year, I pay a little bit more in taxes.Continue Reading
Weather seems to be the dominant topic of many conversations these days, especially during this seemingly never-ending winter. I think it’s because weather is a unifying force. Love or hate the weather of the day, we all have to deal with it. Sharing weather stories is a great ice breaker (I know, bad pun.) And while different folks have different weather preferences, weather isn’t nearly as polarizing a topic as so many others, although I will admit to being tempted to hide some of my snow loving friends’ status updates from my Facebook newsfeed in recent days….
Weather, especially the recent stretch of severe winter weather in so many parts of the US, also teaches us a few things about lifeContinue Reading
There is no question that meditation is good for us: it helps us handle the stress of daily life, it has numerous health benefits, and it is a wonderful way to get in touch with our true spiritual nature. In fact, there is so much evidence that meditation is good for you that it seems like meditation should be as much a part of our daily lives as breathing.
Once you’ve established a daily meditation practice, you can’t imagine not having it in your life, but until you get there, the thought of daily mediation seems to bring out a long list of excuses for most people. “I don’t have the time.” “I don’t know how.” “I can’t sit still.” You don’t have to meditate for hours to gain benefits from mediation. Even a 5 minute mini meditation can make a difference. Gradually increase the time. Ideally you want to meditate at least 20 minutes a day.
If you need inspiration to get started with a meditation practice, look to your cats! Continue Reading
To cure jealousy is to see it for what it is: a dissatisfaction with self. – Joan Didion
Jealousy is a complex emotion that everyone experiences at one time or another. It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. And yes, cats get jealous, too.
Jealousy can be toxic. It makes you feel small and petty. On the face of it, jealousy seems to be directed at the other person, but ultimately, the only one suffering is you. It’s not easy to admit to being jealous, because it means facing your own insecurities and fears. Jealousy feels awful, and allowing yourself to indulge in it will almost always damage your soul.Continue Reading
Sometimes, no matter how much you love your life, it’s good to get away from it all. And one of the best ways to really get away from everything is a personal retreat. When you work from home the way I do, it’s challenging to unplug completely. There’s always one more email to check, one more comment to moderate, and one more cute photo of Allegra and Ruby to share.
The idea of a personal retreat is to disconnect from the business and distractions of every day life, and to have a chance to regroup on a mental, emotional and spiritual level. Continue Reading
I try to embrace each season for its special gifts, but I’m a summer girl at heart. I thrive on warm weather and sun light. Come to think of it, I’m much like a cat in that respect! I don’t like cold weather, and I definitely don’t like snow. As a result, this time of year is challenging for me: the winter doldrums have definitely set in for me. Even though the days are already starting to get longer, spring still seems a long way off. And while I don’t have a true case of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), I still struggle with the lack of light, especially on grey, gloomy days.
People who suffer from SAD may sleep too much, have little energy, and crave sweets and starchy foods during this time. They may also feel Continue Reading
There is no doubt in my mind that cats have the power to change lives. I’ve experienced it in my own life more than once. Feebee, my first cat, was responsible for me leaving my soulless corporate job and embarking on a career in veterinary medicine. Buckley changed my life in more ways than I ever could have imagined. It took an entire book to tell her story! Amber, of course, inspired this website, and Allegra and Ruby are continuing the tradition of feline change catalysts in my life.
The word “catalyst” refers to a substance or force that accelerates change at a faster rate than is otherwise possible. Catalysts help others achieve their goals in a more positive way. And how purrfect is it that the word “cat” is at the root of the word “catalyst!”Continue Reading
Ah, the New Year. A clean slate, the promise of a fresh start. It’s like the ultimate Monday. Did you have a bad weekend? No worries, it’s a new week. Did you go through some challenging times last year? It’s January. You can start over.
Unfortunately, for many of us, this “fresh start effect” doesn’t last. The trouble with the concept of a fresh start is that it takes us away from living in the moment. It makes us look back over what was, and forward to what we want to be. This is not where life happens. Life happens in the present moment – and that’s where the real promise for lasting change lies.Continue Reading
When I asked Allegra and Ruby about their New Year’s Resolutions, they gave me a funny look. Allegra said New Year’s Resolutions are a silly human invention. She said cats live in the moment and don’t worry about what they should be doing next, so they don’t need resolutions. Ruby said she resolves to get more treats this year.
I stopped making New Year’s resolutions several years ago. Since I still like the idea of the “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.” According to Merriam Webster, the definition of resolution is “the act of determining.” There’s nothing there that says we’re actually going to do something. This is why I prefer to set New Year’s intentions. The definition of intention is “a determination to act in a certain way.” The difference is subtle, but one (intention) implies that we are actually determined to do something differently, whereas the other (resolution) simply states that we’ve decided to change something.Continue Reading
For many of us, the magic of the holiday season comes from memories we have of childhood Christmases, and we often hang on to traditions in an effort to recreate those special moments from our past. Setting aside time for family, friends, and of course, our cats, during this busy season helps us add to the reservoir of meaningful holiday memories.
Psychological research seems to suggest that cherished memories from the past promote mental health and well-being. It appears that the more nostalgic people were about their past, the more they perceived their lives as meaningful. Interestingly, researchers also found that when they induced nostalgia in people who felt that their lives had no meaning, it improved their psychological well-being and reduced stress. (Source: Psychology Today.)Continue Reading
Five years ago, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I had to say good bye to my precious little Buckley. Even though I still miss her every day, after five years, the sadness is tempered by appreciation and gratitude for the amazing changes she has brought to my life, and, through her book, to the lives of so many others.
I had never lost a cat during the holidays, and that first holiday season without her was very difficult for me. I love the holidays, and my cats have always been an integral part of the celebrations. The year Buckley died, all I wanted to do was hole up in my house, and pretend that the holiday season wasn’t happening all around me. Thankfully, I had put up my Christmas tree the day before she died. I already knew then that she wouldn’t be with me at Christmas that year, and I needed to see her with the tree one last time. Otherwise, there probably wouldn’t have been a tree that year.Continue Reading