Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Heart of Gold Leads to Second-Chance "Tails"

I am fortunate to be surrounded by many talented and intelligent friends. Friends who are kind, caring and possess a keen sense of humour, like my friend Cindy. I briefly introduced you to her before - she's the one with a heart of gold who painted that timely picture of Murphy.

Cindy and her good-natured dog, Kone, are often seen padding through the the hospital and care homes in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Their regular visits help to ease the stress (negative thoughts and emotions) of patients, residents and staff. This Halloween, Cindy (bee-keeper) and Kone (bee) buzzed through the hallways, positively pollinating the day with laughter and good cheer.

When Cindy retired as a principal, she also began volunteering at Thunder Bay Animal Services.

Concerned that a number of cats were being euthanised, she took some of them home to provide them with care and comfort ... many began to thrive. Realising that there was a gap in services, Cindy and a small group of dedicated volunteers formed Kitty Kare, a non-profit cat rescue group in partnership with the City of Thunder Bay. Their mission is to foster and adopt out rescued cats/kittens; educate the public on the need to spay/neuter pets; promote responsible pet ownership and prevent animal cruelty.

I urge you to sign up for their newsletter. It documents the work of Kitty Kare and the stories of the rescues, as well as the on-going work of the group. Through the dedication of Kitty Kare volunteers, these cats go from alarming to amazing. Happily, with proper care - nutrition, medical attention, shelter and love, many of these "fur babies", as Cindy calls them, go on to bring joy to the families who adopt them.

As you read these "tails", you'll soon come to the conclusion that Cindy and her colleagues have a great gift for bestowing names on these "second-chance" cats and kittens. There's Angelina, the big-lipped kitten, Cory (Ten Boon), named after the survivor of the prison camps. I'm sure that Mama Cass needs no explanation.

There is a special bond that forms between the pet and rescuer - one that I've been fortunate to experience with our adoptees. Making room in your home and heart for a pet that someone else has discarded is good for the heart and soul. It is a wonderful stress undresser, provided you approach it with the right attitude. (Overcare can lead to burnout and produces stress.)

For $8.00, excluding shipping, you can support Kitty Kare by purchasing About Mandu, the story of Cindy's first feline rescue.

“About Mandu” is a love story leavened with gentle humour. It begins with someone who thinks she's incompatible with a cat, then feels the spark of attraction, falls in love, and encounters  a variety of complications.  This true story explores their deepening bond, the struggle to cope with life-threatening illness and the support she receives from friends, family and professionals in both veterinary and alternative animal care.  As with many classic love stories, the ending is bittersweet. ~ Bobbi Florio Graham, International Award Winning author

To order your copy, please email Kitty Kare.



Sunday, November 28, 2010

Death of Desire - Breath of Acceptance

When you live with a chronic debilitating disease, you often find yourself at a crossroads.

The desire to do so much - the desertion of your body to carry that through.

It can be frustrating, even downright infuriating. It's a great lesson in acceptance - one that I struggle with, at times.

My house isn't as neat and tidy as I'd prefer. I'm not playing in the dirt, as Your Garden Nanny, would say. Nor am I currently swimming, walking or dancing through life with grace...more like moving mechanically and jerkily like a poor prototype of a robot.

Who knows why the body turns on itself? An over-protective immune system with a wonky on/off switch that wreaks havoc with joints, muscles, ligaments, organs and life.

This fall has been a trial. I've thrown everything I've had at this bugger of a disease, to seemingly, very little avail.

Sometimes you're on the crest of the wave, other times in the trough. So goes life.

At the very least, I'm able to stay afloat while in the trough. A part of me knows that this will pass, the inflammation will settle down and I can get back to a more regular lifestyle. In the meantime, I know to take extra care - to treat myself well.

Things happen over which we have no control. However, we do have control over how we react to those things that come our way. At times, it is very easy (perhaps too easy?), to just let go and sink below the surface. With stress techniques, I'm able to use them and take a breath, then another one and another.

Related Post - Climate Control - My Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Image courtesy of Michelle Dennis.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Six Signs That You May Be Tweeting Too Much

  1. You say "LOL!", instead of laughing aloud.
  2. Before engaging with someone, you want to know their bio.
  3. You're dropping parts of the sentence or question, all the time. "Do you want..." becomes "Want...".
  4. Whenever you type an email, it is filled with abbreviations: @ for at; w/ for with; 2 for to, too; u for you; urself - yourself; abt - about; and on it goes
  5. You say "Retweet," when you ask someone for a second time to do something.
  6. "Call me," is replaced by "DM" me.
What have you noticed as a result of your tweeting habits?

Image courtesy of Jade Gordon.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Groovin' to the Music of Your Life - Undress Your Stress!

I have been practising these stress techniques that I teach for almost four years. From time to time, I revert back to my old ways of doing things, despite knowing better. What this tells me is that the journey that is our life is a process.

Sometimes, you dance merrily along, easily keeping time to the music that accompanies your life. Other times, you find that the music doesn't please you, or you've that you've lost the beat. Perhaps the band decided to take a break? You may even discover that you are partner-less on the side of the dance floor.

How do you get your groove back?

By paying attention to how you are feeling. When you notice that you are engaging in non-resourceful thoughts and emotions, have techniques on hand to:
1. stop the cascade of 1400 chemicals
2. add deeper techniques that move you into feelings that transform your stress.

I notice the old patterns creeping in when I move out of my heart. That's not surprising, as the heart is the organ that pulls the other systems into synchrony. When your system works in synchrony, it works more efficiently and burns less energy, which leaves more for you to do the things you want to do. Think of the heart as a conductor that keeps the rest of the orchestra in time and on tune.

When you engage in positive heart-felt emotions, you will be back on the dance floor, swaying to the music.

How does that feel?

Photo courtesy of Asif Akbar.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Add Elegance - Use Heart Power

Your brain can mess you up.

Don't believe it? Do any of the following apply to you?
  • Worrying endlessly about something to the point that you lose sleep? 
  • Trying so hard that you fail miserably. 
  • Knowing the right thing to do, yet you do the worst thing you could do.
  • Beating yourself up over ________.
The brain is a marvelous thing. I wouldn't want to be without one. However, like all good things, it can run amok.

One of the best ways to get back on course is to add elegance to your brain function.

The heart is the way to go. Did you know that when you are stressed you are using different neural pathways than when you aren't? By using the power of your heart as a catalyst, you engage the prefrontal cortex, as opposed to activating your survival mechanisms - flight or fight.


The prefrontal cortex is responsible for the expression of personality, moderating social behaviour like choosing what is appropriate to say, predicting future events and decision-making. In the words of your kindergarten teacher, it's part of your "thinking cap".

Open the door to your heart and activate some genuine heart-felt feelings with some simple to use techniques. Then, marvel at how easily and elegantly your "thinking cap" works!

To ponder:
  • When do you do your best work? 
  • How are you feeling? 
  • Have you noticed stress getting in the way of your ability to make sound decisions?
Image courtesy of Artem Chernyshevych.