Meditation is usually viewed as a spiritual practice, but research shows that there are innumerable health benefits as well. Most physical illness is caused by stress, and meditation provides stress relief by calming down the mind and body. A regular meditation practice is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body.
I often hear people say “I can’t meditate. I can’t shut down my thoughts.”
You don’t have to. Simply making the commitment to sit quietly for fifteen, ten, even five minutes a day can have beneficial effects. Don’t judge yourself – if you find that you can’t quiet your mind, try and simply acknowledge your thoughts, and then gently let them go.
Your pets can help you meditate. If you can’t clear your mind, try focusing on the purring cat in your lap or the sleeping dog by your side. Focus on the love you share with your pet. While this may not be what some purists consider meditation, I can guarantee you that it will change your state of mind to one of peace and relaxation.
Amber is meditating.
There is an unseen energy that exists in and around every living thing. Some people call it God. It has nothing to do with a particular religion. Maybe you’re more comfortable with calling it Spirit, Universal Flow, All That Is. My preferred term is Source.
We are always connected to Source, but sometimes, we forget. It’s like our conscious awareness of this connection has temporarily slipped away. How do you know when you’re consciously connected and when you’re not? Your emotions are your guide. When you feel fear, doubt, worry, lack, scarcity, or even hate, you’re disconnected. When you feel love, joy and happiness, you’re connected. The ebb and flow of that feeling of connection is part of our journey and evolution. So how do you maintain this connection consciously and at increasingly deeper levels?
You find this connection by finding things that make you happy. Some things that help me feel and maintain my connection are:
- Looking deep into the eyes of my cat.
- Going for a walk outside.
- Spending time with a good friend.
- Listening to a piece of wonderful music.
- Reflecting on the blessings in my life.
- Watching a beautiful sunset.
- Curling up with my cat and a good book.
- Watching my cat sleep.
Identify your moments of connection, and consciously guide yourself back into connection when you feel it slipping away. Sometimes, even the memory of one of your “connection moments” can bring you back into alignment.
Animals are masters at maintaining their connection with Source. They live in the moment – one of the best and easiest ways to stay connected. As you can see from my own connection moments list, Amber plays a big part in helping me experience my connection with Source. Let your pets help you find your connection. It’s impossible to feel disconnected when you pet, play with or simply watch your pets.
Do you feel connected?
Amber feels connected
I’ve been a fan of ER since the very beginning and have not missed a single episode in its 15-year-run. Over the past few seasons, it’s been getting harder for me to hang in with it. While the show has always been filled with drama, disaster and negativity, some of the more recent storylines have taken this trend to new heights and they almost lost me when they started dropping helicopters on top of favorite characters. Even though I generally stay away from tv shows and movies that contain violence, tragedy and disaster, I’ve always loved medical shows, and I guess that’s why I’m hanging in with this one through its final season.
I was pleasantly surprised with this week’s episode. Yes, of course it was great that George Clooney returned to the show – who doesn’t like to watch George Clooney. But what was really different was that this was a mostly happy episode! Most of the storylines were happy – there were reunions with old friends, and lives were saved instead of lost. And in the final scene, George Clooney and Juliana Margulies were clearly happy together. Apparently, even dramas can have happy endings.
Be discerning about what you watch on tv. If you continually watch shows that depict violence, tragedy and drama, you may find that these lower vibrations are reflected in your real life. If it doesn’t feel good to watch something, don’t watch it just to pass time. Find another channel, or turn the tv off and do something else. You’ll feel better and lighter.
A word about pets and television: some people leave the tv on to keep their pets company while they’re gone during the day. Animal Planet in particular is a favorite channel for this. I have nothing against Animal Planet, it’s a great cable channel. But while it may be fun to watch for you, you might not want your cat or dog to be exposed to images of animals being hurt and taken to the ER if they happen to watch during one of those programs. In addition, the constant parade of other animals across the screen might be upsetting rather than calming to your pets. A better way to keep your pets entertained and calm is to play soft music while you’re gone.
This video is worth two minutes of your time. It really is a wonderful world – let the animals show you.
The single most effective step you can take towards better mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health is to stop watching the news. You are discerning about what you put into your body – why not use that same judgment about what you allow to enter into your mind? All the bad news and stories of gloom and doom are not an accurate reflection of what goes on in the world. Despite the distorted view we’re being offered by the media, there are far more good things happening in the world every day than bad things. Why do you allow yourself to be bombarded with a constant barrage of negativity when you have the choice to push the off button? Negative emotions such as stress, worry, fear and depression are vibrations that affect what you attract into your life. If all you’re seeing and hearing is negative, don’t be surprised if that’s what you see reflected in your daily life, and in the status of your health.
Try it for one day. Don’t watch any news, don’t read a paper, don’t listen to news radio, don’t scour the internet for news stories. You will be surprised how much better and lighter you will feel.
Your pets will thank you, too. Animals are sensitive to the vibrations around them and pick up on your stress and negativity. For more infomation on how your stress affects your pets, click here
Amber doesn’t watch the news.
I just watched Friday night’s 20/20 special about Siegfried and Roy’s final performance, and it touched me deeply. I have always been in awe of the connection Roy shared with animals all his life, and his words “don’t shoot the tiger” after he was so gravely injured five years ago to me were the ultimate testament to his love for these beautiful animals.
I was fortunate to meet Siegfried and Roy at a book signing in 1992. They brought one of the big tigers and a litter of five tiger cubs to the bookstore with them. I got to pet one of the cubs. They were very gracious to every single person in the long line waiting to get their books signed, and they signed my book “To Ingrid. Love, Siegfried and Roy”. What I remember most about that day, though, was the incongruent sight of this huge, magnificent white tiger in the middle of a bookstore.
In 1993, I got to see their show at the Mirage in Las Vegas from front row seats. It was truly a magical experience.
Siegfried and Roy have always been about magic, about mastering the impossible, about dreaming big and and making those big dreams come true. This final performance was a triumph of their determination and the fierce belief that Roy would not only survive, but recover from his injuries. They are living proof that thoughts fueled by belief create reality.
We never stop seeing, perhaps this is why we dream.
Siegfried and Roy
We’re getting a taste of spring here today – sunny and feels like it’s in the mid-70s if not warmer! All the windows are open and Amber is enjoying the spring breeze wafting in through the screens.
I spent some time outside cleaning up the deck, and while I was at it, I cleaned the house. I no longer use cleaning products that contain chemical ingredients. I don’t care to have those ingredients around for my own health, but I especially don’t want them around for Amber. Many ingredients in household cleaners contain hazardous ingredients that are toxic to pets. Cats are especially susceptible because of the way they lick themselves when they’re grooming. In the process, they ingest anything that has come in contact with their fur or paws.
Amber hates it when I clean the house. She hides in the downstairs bathroom when I run the vacuum cleaner, aka “The Monster”.
I’ve been dealing with some neck pain lately – just some muscle tightness, and I’m well on my way to recovery with the help of some soft tissue work and chiropractic adjustments, but it’s, well, a pain in the neck. Something that really helps is lying on the floor with a rolled up towel supporting my neck for 5-10 minutes a couple of times a day. It helps re-educate the muscles to what proper alignment is.
I keep the rolled up towel under my coffee table to remind me to do this.
Amber demonstrates proper neck support
I’m currently working with a life coach. This afternoon, I met with her for an hour and a half. I always come away from these sessions energized and excited about the possibilities life holds for me. Webster’s defines a mentor as a “trusted counselor or guide”, and that’s exactly how I view my coach. She helps me see things more clearly, stretch beyond my limits and visualize my ideal life. She doesn’t let me get away with being less than true to my authentic self.
Amber says she’s been trying to tell me this all along. Cats are always true to themselves.
Everywhere I go, people are complaining about the economy. People are worried about their future. They see their investments plummeting and they’re not sure when this free fall is going to end. Reality, they say, is scary right now.
I’m not immune to these fears. It’s hard to insulate yourself when gloom and doom seems to be the order of the day, especially if you listen to the media. (CNN stands for Continously Negative News, so don’t watch it and other news outlets and expect to feel better.)
We can’t control the market, we can’t control the economy, and we can’t control the news media. We do, however, have control over our thoughts, and by extension, what we talk about and how we frame our conversations. Thoughts are energy. Negative thoughts are negative energy. Putting out negative energy attracts more negative energy. So why not harness the power of our thoughts to our benefit?
Instead of telling the story the way we see it (the reality of it), why not tell the story the way we want it to be. Instead of worrying about what might happen, why not focus on what we want to have happen? Tell your story the way you want it to be. You can’t keep telling the same story and expect different results.
You can use this technique in conversations where the other person is focused on fear and bad news and concerned about her investments. Instead of getting sucked into the other person’s negative story, acknowledge what they said, and then turn it around. “Sure, ” you could say. “Things seem to be pretty bad right now. But this is just a cycle. Think about how well we’re all going to be doing once this cycle turns. Once the market recovers, we ‘ll all be rich!” You might be accused of being a Pollyanna, but there are worse things in life than being accused of being optimistic and happy go lucky!
As much as I can, I’m going to tell my story the way I want it to be.
I decided to name this blog “The Conscious Cat”. I’m on a wonderful journey to consciously create my life in ways that allow me to express my authentic self, and along this journey, some of my greatest teachers have been my cats.
Buckley, who passed away in November, was and continues to be a feline master teacher. You’ll learn more about her in my upcoming book, “Buckley’s Story”. Amber, who has been with me for the past eight and a half years, is an eternally wise soul in a feline body. Together, the two of them taught me to open my heart in ways I never thought possible.
Animals are great teachers. All we need to do is listen with our hearts.