meditation

Review: Mindfulness for Cat Lovers

mindfulness-for-cat-lovers

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A growing body of research shows that mindfulness reduces stress, increases focus and cognitive flexibility, makes us less emotionally reactive, increases empathy and compassion and just generally makes us happier. In Mindfulness for Cat Lovers, Carole Bosanko, a clinical psychologist who has worked with the National Health Service for over 30  years, shows us how mindfulness and cats are the purrfect combination.Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: Why Coloring Books Are Good For Your Mental Health

color-cats

Adult coloring books are winding up on bestseller lists around the world, and it turns out that coloring is more than just a fun way to pass the time. Studies show that the structured, rhythmic motion of coloring eases you into a meditative state, which allows you to push negative thoughts and worries out of your mind, and which induces a profound sense of relaxation. Coloring is also a great way to explore your creativity. Spending 15 minutes coloring an image can give you a sense of having accomplished something beautiful, and that can carry over into other parts of your life.Continue Reading

Giveaway: Zen Cats: Meditations for the Wise Minds of Cat Lovers

Zen-cats

Every Sunday, we share purrs of wisdom and talk about the lessons our cats teach us in our Conscious Cat Sunday column. Today, in lieu of a new column, I’m delighted to give away a copy of Zen Cats: Meditations for the Wise Minds of Cat Lovers to one lucky reader. This beautiful little volume features gorgeous cat photos alongside excerpts from the Dhammapada, a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form and one of the most widely read and best known Buddhist scriptures.Continue Reading

The Cats at Shasta Abbey

Shasta_Abbey_cats

A king, a cat and a monk will all sit in the highest places. – Zen saying

Located in a rural area on 16 forested acres at the foot of Mount Shasta in Northern California, Shasta Abbey is a Buddhist monastery of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. Founded in 1970, the monastery serves as a training center for Buddhist monks and a place of practice for lay people.

It is also home to 12 cats, ranging in age from 3 to 18 . “The kitties just somehow make their way to the abbey,” says Reverend Helen Cummings. “They find us.” Only one of the current residents came from the Siskiyou County Humane Society, a local no-kill shelter. (The monks perform a monthly blessing for the animals at the Humane Society.)Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: Meditating With Cats

meditating_with_cats

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

Conscious Cat Sunday: Meditate with Your Cat

meditate_with_your_cat

The benefits of meditation are endless: from helping us handle stress better to getting in touch with our true spiritual nature, meditation has been proven to make our lives better. 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. Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: Allegra on Living in the Moment

Allegra_The_Conscious_Cat

I don’t understand why humans have such a hard time with what they call “living in the moment.” To us cats, it’s just living. Where else would you be, if not in this present moment? That’s where all the good stuff happens: it’s where the sunbeams are, it’s where the birds outside the window are, it’s where breakfast and dinner are. Why would you ever want to worry about what’s going to come next, or think about what already happened?

When we want to play, we play. When we want to nap, we nap. When we want to cuddle, we cuddle. I know humans have what they call “responsibilities,” the most important one, of course, being that they make sure we never run out of cat food, and I’ll concede that that requires some planning, but I thought I’d give you some pointers on how you can be more like a cat and enjoy the moment.

Conscious Cat Sunday: Take Time For Yourself

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Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take
between two deep breaths. – Etty Hillesum

We all have busy lives, and there are days when it feels like we’ll never get everything done. For most people, the first thing to fall by the wayside during busy times is time for yourself. I’ve never met a cat who says”I’m too busy to take a moment to stretch in the sun.” Why can’t we be more cat like when it comes to taking care of ourselves?

The following ten tips can help you carve out some time for yourself even when the world is screaming for your attentionime. I offer this thought to you: you can’t afford not to take the time. Your sanity, and your health, may depend on it.

  1. Say no to anything that’s not important. I’ve always liked Steven Covey’s system of sorting items on your to do list into urgent, important, not urgent, and not important categories. Surprisingly, it’s the items in the “important but not urgent” quadrant, not the things that are “urgent and important,” that should receive your greatest attention. For example, daily playtime with your cats is important but not urgent. Feeding your cats, however, is important and urgent! For a more detailed (and less cat-centric) explanation of Covey’s important/urgent matrix, visit Practice This or go straight to the source and read Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  2. Ask for help. Frequently, people who are constantly busyContinue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: the culture of fear

Conscious Cat Sunday: the culture of fear

Let go of fear, embrace change, and move toward joy. – Buckley

Fear is a normal response to a threatening stimulus or situation. Without the fear response, neither cats nor humans would survive. Fear prepares us for fight or flight. While our domesticated cats don’t often deal with fear of survival in their environment, some of these fears may be hardwired. The good news is that, with proper support from their guardians, cats can get over their fears. Allegra used to be terrified of bad weather, but has come a long way in the past year in overcoming her fears.

But what happens when fear becomes a part of our daily lives?

We live in a culture of fear. There has never been a time when people have been afraid of so much. Three out of four Americans say they feel more fearful today Continue Reading