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!
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
I knew it wasn’t a cat book, but I asked for a review copy anyway. I usually run book reviews on Fridays, but this book is such a perfect fit for our Conscious Cat Sunday feature, I decided to share it today.
The book claims to be (tongue in cheek) the self-help book to end all self-help books,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