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.
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 Conscious Cat Sunday 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!