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
It is the still, small voice that the soul heeds, not the deafening blasts of doom. – William Dean Howells
“Learn to Be Still” is the fourth track on When Hell Freezes Over, the first album released by the Eagles in 1994 after a fourteen year silence. The album title is a reference to Don Henley’s comment after the 1980 breakup that the band would play together again “when hell freezes over.”
The song became my anthem that year.
1994 was an extremely challenging year for me: within a four-month period, my marriage of thirteen years ended and my mother died. After emerging from the initial shock and grief, I went through a period of re-examining my life and beginning my journey of finding my bliss. Those of you who’ve read me for a while already know that cats have been the catalyst (pun intended) for some very major life changes for me. What you may not know is that music is also very important to me. Continue Reading
I was recently interviewed by Julie Shubin, a labor law attorney and adjunct professor at George Mason University, for her labor blog Helitzer Blouse Girl: A Modern American Labor Journal, where she features a “day in the life” series of people from all walks of life. In her profile, Julie called me “a modern day renaissance woman, finding a way to fit all her passions into a small business.”
I was incredibly flattered by this description, because I don’t really think of myself that way. But as I thought about it a little more, I realized that I’ve been on a journey of following my bliss for more than two decades now. Since my current bliss involves writing about and working with cats, and since cats played a significant role in finding that bliss, I thought I’d share a little more about my journey today.Continue Reading
Spring is a time of new beginning. Nature renews itself, at first slowly, like those first spring flowers peeking out from underneath the dull winter grass, and eventually bursting into full bloom as the days become longer and warmer.
Spring can also be a time for mental and spiritual renewal, and for this, we can take our clues from nature. It’s time to emerge from the darkness of winter, time to open windows and doors to let the spring breezes in, both physically and in a larger sense.
For many people, this is also traditionally a time for spring cleaning – there is something very satisfying about airing out rooms that were closed up for most of the winter months, clearing cobwebs out of forgotten corners, and getting the dust bunnies out from under the bed. Clearing the clutter and getting organized for the new season on a physical level can also help clear your mental and psychic energy. Cluttered environments drain our energy. Continue Reading
Let go of fear, embrace change, and move toward joy. – Buckley
This was one of Buckley’s most profound lessons for me. I had grown up being a worrier. I could easily come up with the worst possible scenario for any given situation and turn it over in my mind endlessly, to the point where I often ended up paralyzed with fear. I knew that this propensity to worry was holding me back from really letting myself live my life to its fullest potential.
When I began to understand and really believe that we have the power to control our thoughts and that our thoughts are vibrations that affect what we experience in our reality, I was able to short-circuit the fear and worry cycle more easily. It became clear to me that wasting time being afraid of something that might never happen would only attract the very thing I did not want into my experience. Worrying also made a statement that I did not trust in the wisdom of the universe. I knew on a deep level that things would always work out. With time, it became easier to redirect my thoughts away from fears about the future and focus on the present moment instead.
A couple of months ago, our cat, Little, became voraciously hungry.
Little is my son’s cat, and having been raised by a young boy, he’s never wanted anything other than food and my son’s love. Little comes running when my son whistles for him, and like many cats he’s always been independent.
Then something changed. Little began crying for food all day long, looking up at whomever was in the kitchen at the time, insisting loudly on being fed. “Did you feed Little?” Became the question of the day, and I began to give him little spoonfuls just to keep him quiet.Continue Reading
Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry are caused by too much future,
and not enough presence. – Eckhart Tolle.
I’ve previously shared some simple steps to stop worrying. As with so many other things, my cats have been my greatest teachers when it comes to living in the moment, and when you do that, it’s pretty much impossible to worry. I try to listen to them whenever I find myself sliding back into my old worry habits, but when I find that I can’t break the worry cycle, then I know that there’s something else going on. And usually, that means that worry has escalated into anxiety.
Anxiety is worry’s ugly cousin. While worry happens in the thinking part of your brain, anxiety comes from the limbic system, which is responsible for our emotions. While worry and anxiety are closely related, it’s usually a little easier to short-circuit worry. Worry is centered around something specific, whereas anxiety is a more generalized feeling of unease.Continue Reading
I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities. – Whoopi Goldberg
Guest post by Angie Bailey
As humans, we sometimes make choices based on beliefs that are self-limiting and rob us of the radiant joy we so generously deserve. Dwelling in possibility and opening ourselves to unlimited good can definitely feel a little un-comfort zone-y, but relaxing and embracing our divine infinite potential is a sure-fire key to real happiness.
One of my favorite quotations comes from inner peace guru Wayne Dyer. He talks about “having a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.” This means that, even if an outcome looks differently than we expected, we stay in the flow and meet it with gratitude and grace, knowing there is always possibility at every turn. And later, we are usually grateful for the turn of events.
Cats are extremely sensitive to the energy around them, and, because of the deep bond between cat and human, they sometimes even take on their person’s problems. Due to the shared energy in such a close relationship, energetic imbalances are shared as well. Sensitivity to energy varies among people, but we’re all affected by it, whether we’re aware of it or not.
Have you ever felt completely drained after spending time with someone? Have you ever had an unpleasant exchange with someone, and just couldn’t seem to let go of the residual bad feelings? You’ve just encountered an energy vampire. They’re the complainers, nay-sayers, passive-aggressives, and doomsday predicters in your life. Like vampires, they feed off the life force of others around them, and they would love nothing better than to turn you into one of them. Misery loves company.Continue Reading
The authentic self is the soul made visible. – Sarah Ban Breathnach
Life is a series of conscious choices. Every moment present us with an opportunity to choose to be authentic. Merriam Webster defines “authentic” as “true to one’s own personality, spirit or character.” To me, living authentically means making choices that are in alignment with my value system. It means taking responsibility for my life, and for my choices.
It’s easy to blame things outside ourselves when life isn’t going the way we want it to, whether it’s the governemnt, the weather, or other people. We can’t control everything. Life happens, and trouble finds everyone at some point. Life is not meant to be perfect. But we can control how we react to life as it happens to us, and by making conscious choices, one moment at a time, we eventually create an authentic life for ourselves.Continue Reading