Shadows on the road
are like those moments in the future
you cannot yet see.
Shadows on the road
are like those moments in the future
you cannot yet see.
Pets are on my mind. I’ve finished viewing “The Truth about Pet Cancer” which I alerted you to in my previous post “Your Pet Trusts You.” And with today being National Pet Day I’m thinking about these beloved creatures more than usual. According to PetSecure.com, “Americans spend over $50 billion annually on their pets, and 36% give their dogs birthday presents.” But why wait for one special day when animals freely give us their love, forgiveness and attention 365 days, year after year after year?
Don’t have, or can’t have a pet you say? It doesn’t matter. Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter American animal shelters every year. These animals don’t have a pet parent or pet guardian — their only hope is caring humans. Cats and dogs come in varied sizes, so are the ways you can help. Here’s some options:
Shop on Amazon Smile and get 0.5% of your purchase donated to a 501(c)(3) pet charity registered on their site. Even better, buy some pet supplies via Amazon Smile then donate them to your local SPCA, no-kill shelter or rescue group.
Support no-kill shelters. Look for no-kill shelters in your area: https://www.nokillnetwork.org/no-kill-animal-shelters.php
Aid rescue groups. Some rescue groups are breed specific:
For some tips on rescue groups visit: http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/dog-breeds-breed-specific-rescue-group-adoption-tips or http://www.avianwelfare.org/links/organizations.htm
Assist with dog transport and save the life of a dog on death row:
If you’re on FB or Yahoo, take a look at these sites to see what you can do:
Animal Rescue Transport Network: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Animal-Rescue-Transport-Network/117998798306519
Rescue Angels on Wheels: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RescueAngelsonWheels
Rescue Transport: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RescueTransport
Help find homes for orphaned pets by signing-up for Shelter Pet PR and promoting the pets on your social media site: https://www.dosomething.org/us/campaigns/shelter-pet-pr
And what about that beloved pet you do have? I thought I gave good care — at least until I realized that Big Farma and Big Pharma have also corrupted the pet food and medical “industries.” Remember, your animal friend relies on you to give them the best of health. It’s not that difficult (and you’ll become healthier too).
Feed a breed-specific diet and the best diet you can afford. For instance, use quality canned food for cats who can dehydrate easily and need more moisture; and if your dog can’t tolerate a totally raw diet, select kibble without soy, corn or rice, and is preferably organic. Supplement a few times each week with raw meat-based scraps and chopped brightly colored veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli and carrots. Blueberries and even a raw egg now and then are good too. Just skip the pizza crust and other highly processed foods! That includes colored food treats too.
Offer plenty of clean water — spring or distilled rather than fluoridated city water — in metal or ceramic bowls. (Get rid of plastic dishes.)
Play with nontoxic toys, get lots of exercise and sunshine!
Consult a holistic vet especially if your pet buddy is already not feeling well. They are trained to help pets achieve quality living without costly surgeries, pharmaceuticals or side effects: https://www.ahvma.org/find-a-holistic-veterinarian/
Bess still thanks me for taking her for acupuncture. In two treatments she was running like a pup again — even though she was 11 (and now doing well at 13). She’s not leaving a spec behind of the raw purple cabbage and kale with flaxseed oil and organic raw chicken added to her kibble!
Include animals in your will. If you have a chunk of cash to leave behind, consider naming a charitable pet organization in your will. None of us will be here forever so make sure your pets will be cared for in the event you depart first. For some helpful info, visit: https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/protect-your-prized-pet-create-a-pet-trust or https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/pet-trusts.html
Of course, the standbys of donating money, supplies, and volunteering your time are always needed. Hopefully, National Pet Day is the kickstart for you helping animals all year long — just like the love they give to us every day.
Oh, and if you missed National Hug Your Dog Day yesterday (4/10) — just give them a hug every day too.
A young friend, who is a talented musician and new father, shared his disappointing Christmas with me. When asking his brother if he would like to hear the latest song he recorded, his brother’s response was, “Sorry man. I can’t. I have 10 seconds until the tournament starts.”
My friend then revealed to me that his brother is addicted to gaming. “He’s usually stockpiled in his room, stacking empty dishes of food my mother brought him because he can’t tear himself away from the game. I’ve told him he’s disgusting, often not showering for three days,” my friend said. I shudder in the realization that this technology problem is much bigger than I surmised and a grave concern to what we are doing to our society. Isn’t the opiod crisis enough?
My young friend continued, “You remember Jack at my wedding? We use to talk on my drive home from work and had big plans for recording together. Then he told me he bought a gaming system and wanted me to get one too. He doesn’t return my calls anymore. He won’t even pick up the phone. I know he’s addicted to gaming too.”
My friend, at age 30 is already a wise old soul. I was proud of him when he announced he gave up his cell phone because he was texting while driving. And when he fired the babysitter because she placed an I-phone in his infant’s hands, I felt more pleased. “I want my son to experience life,” he said. “I want to take him cross country to see the beauty of the land and meet different people.”
I then shared with him a startling conversation I had with my older and over-weight brother in-law during the holidays. His wife (an I-phone and Candy Crush addict) proudly told me she could start her oven with her I-phone. “Why would you want to?” I asked. My brother in-laws response? “So you don’t have to get off the couch.” I felt stunned. We already have an obesity problem in America and now technology is helping people stay inactive, indoors and isolated. What are we doing?
I understand gaming rehabs are some of the most expensive and that a gaming addiction is as difficult to treat as bulimia. Drug rehabs are big business and a revolving door of profits. When will humans wake up to realize they are giving up free thought and subsequent health under the guise of convenience but the truth of corporate profit?
Addictions — whether drugs, technology, gambling, food, shopping, etc. — would doubtfully be so overwhelming if people tempered their device with the wisdom and beauty of Nature. Nature is free and it’s everywhere, reliably standing by, willing to offer peace and insights for living life. Take a hike. Plant a garden with your child. Walk the dog and say hi to the neighbors. Get off the couch to cut your own grass, and turn on the oven yourself.
It all begins with one conscious choice.
…is a word I’ve replaced with synchronicity mostly after working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way book. Before that, I viewed coincidence in the sense that there are no coincidences, meaning God has a hand in everything. And I’m not referring to God of any particular religion but God as in a Higher Power.
When my thinking evolved toward synchronicity, I continued to view things in a spiritual way. Like manifesting my dreams. I became more aware and more in tuned to the little things that were helping me along my way.
My most recent synchronistic experience relates to my lifelong dream of visiting Scotland, along with some other recent nudges. Since practicing Qigong the last few years, my thoughts of God and the Universe are directed toward nature which has led to an interest in studying the Tao. Participating in World Tai Chi & Qigong Day (WTCQ) has also been on my list but scheduling conflicts prevented me from taking part in this annual international event. (It’s always held at 10AM on the last Saturday of April.)
But, this year I was free to drive an hour-and-a-half to participate in WTCQ Day with a group of seeming strangers in a lovely rolling green park dotted with blooming cherry blossoms. (A favorite springtime site that takes my breath away.) Imagine my delight when I heard the announcement, “We have a monthly discussion group on the Tao. If anyone is interested please see me for details.” Wow! Did I hear that right? Two dreams come true via one event.
A month or so afterward, while perusing Dr. Elaine Aron’s website for Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs), she discussed spiritual pilgrimages and the varieties to choose from. Hmmm. I began rethinking my trip to Scotland. I never travel as a typical touristy tourist and having a loose framework of where I want to go, this concept appealed to me.
Then, when I first attended the Tao discussion meeting in July, I learned that one of their mutual friends runs sacred travel pilgrimages in Scotland. Woo hoo! Synchronicity at it’s finest, I’d say. A week later I ran into a fellow yogi I hadn’t seen for a while. “I just got back from Scotland yesterday,” she reported. “Already I can’t wait to go back!” She smiled and I smiled too. Another confirmation the Universe was guiding me toward satisfying this long time desire.
Coincidence and synchronicity are mystical experiences for me. My thinking has changed over the years from too good to be true to believe in the magic. Awareness is the key for so many things, and particularly for unlocking the gifts of this phenomenon. I believe synchronicity is happening all the time, I only need open my eyes and see. Then, I open my heart in gratitude and smile wide.
I’ve just returned from a smooth jazz festival in Cancun. Based on the line-up, I knew the music would be excellent but I hadn’t counted on it raining every day. This could have ruined a beach vacation but instead restored my hope in humankind.
Moving the outdoor stage indoors due to the rain created extremely long delays. Attendees grew agitated standing in the hot, crowded lobby waiting for a show 2 hours past due. Several shrieking whistle calls and nearly universal “Shhh!” tried to temper angry shouts from the crowd blaring out explanation of the delay. Even after the update, offer of chairs and cold drinks, some stiffly crossed their arms while drilling holes into the doors with their glaring eyes.
And then something happened. Programmed music came on and a few started dancing. And then a few more. I could feel the shift. More and more people began dancing until most of the grumbling lobby turned into a dance floor of good vibes and smiles.
Watching the people transform an unpleasant situation into an uplifting one was magic before my eyes. (After that night, attendees danced to programmed music from any delay until show time.)
I think a lot of us learned from that experience — if the people come together and choose light, it will be light. Just ask, “Do I feel better complaining or does it make me feel more miserable? Does staying angry make me feel powerful, in control? Or do I feel better being part of the solution?”
A postscript…message received from a friend this evening…
“Peace of mind is an internal matter.It must begin with your own thoughtsand then extend outward.It is from your peace of mindthat a peaceful perception of the worldarises.”
— A Course in Miracles
Driving home this evening with the moon roof open and windows down, I was still savoring a glorious day with an old friend. Kicking off the afternoon in her favorite gardening center and seeing new varieties of trees and plants made my spirits soar.
I learned that the tree I noticed on my walks this week is a Limelight Hydrangea — absolutely beautiful! In the next row I discovered a Firelight Hydrangea sporting white to pomegranate colored flowers all on the same shrub — delightful! A Dappled Willow caught my eye then the frost white needles on the Korean Fir...and flowing heart-shaped leaves on the Alley Cat and Ruby Falls Redbuds — heavenly! Kalmia Latifolia Minuet (Mountain Laurel) surprised me while the Tricolor Beech tree was deceptively interesting. Manhattan Euonymus and Pulminara Moonshine’s brillance drew me in and I’m already envisioning it gracing my entryway.
Thankfully, the humidity that stole Summer thus far was absent today. I drove home in laid back contentment, drinking in the beauty of the mountains and luxuriating in the 72 degree breeze kissing my skin while gently tousling my hair.
But, rounding the corner to a glowing sunset on the lake overwhelmed me with gratitude for the ability to see Nature’s exquisiteness.
These guys (or gals) don’t look alike but they respectfully share from the same feeder, while happily chirping away. People could learn a lot from them.
I learned a lot from Jamaicans when visiting their homeland. Most Americans warned me ahead of time to “not go off the resort premises,” but strolling down the beach while mesmerized by the turquoise sea drew my curiosity beyond the boundary line. Haphazard tin-roofed shacks from whatever washed ashore leaned every which way — a yin-yang contrast to the well-manicured all-inclusive that was my home for 7 days.
The Jamaican Patois (pronounced Patwa) beckoned me into the makeshift beach mall. My ear took some getting used to their creole language but I appreciated the creative twist on english. In and out, I scanned the line of booths sand to ceiling but most of the wares were tchotchkes made in China that I could purchase in my hometown dollar store. Still, each proprietor smiled widely while proclaiming, “Tank yuh. Tank you fi looking. Tank you fi di respect.”
Most Jamaicans live in poverty. Tourism, music or selling drugs sadly seem to be the major opportunities to increase their standard of living. I’ve had panhandlers in other countries follow me into the water ruining an afternoon swim, or camp out just beyond the garden patio, calling for me to buy their goods. (One couple from Manhattan quit their Grenada vacation early, stating, “The panhandling isn’t this bad at home. We came here to relax…”) But, Jamaica was different. The people spoke to my heart and I quickly understood a universal desire for respect.
“I love your food. The Jamaican Jerk is delicious…nothing like back home,” I shared with the merchants. “I’ve been listening to a lot of your music on MTV in my room. I never knew there are so many types of Reggae. Do you have Tanya Stephens or Beris Hammond? I’d love to take some CDs home,” I explained to the last few shopkeepers. (Yes, I’m of the generation that still listens to an armoire full of CDs. Just another segment of my staving off technology.)
Walking back to the resort, a young Jamaican boy ran down the hill toward me, waving his arms. “Yuh di lady looking fi music?” he asked, showing me a handful of CDs.
“Well, yes I am. What do you have there?” The jewel cases sported homemade labels depicting the very artists I inquired about. We exchanged smiles as I paid him then crossed the boundary line to the resort.
That night, I watched a Jamaican grandmother teach her granddaughter the art of basket weaving while a Rastafari man let me listen through his headphones to other Jamaican musicians I might like. The next day, the little boy made me nearly a dozen more CDs which I carefully wrapped in the intricately hand-woven two-toned basket for my travels home.
For me, the best souvenir is a meaningful piece of culture. The best vacation is connecting with natives of the homeland. I travel to experience diversity. Maybe that’s what the cardinals and chickadees do too.
It’s all a matter of respect.
Some less respectful tidbits about Jamaica…
Don’t refer to a Rastafari as a “rastafarian” as they connect “ians” and “isms” to oppression. Likewise, referring to their philosophy as a “religion” or “ism” is against their beliefs.
Dudus (Christopher Michael) Coke led the violent Shower Posse drug gang that exported marijuana and cocaine to the United States. In 1992 he took over his deceased father’s position as leader of the Tivoli Gardens community in West Kingston. Providing programs to help the poor community garnered him so much local support that Jamaican police could not enter this neighborhood without community consent.
I didn’t make a connection with a stranger on “social media,” but I did through a review on TripAdvisor.com. In reading reviews about a place I long wanted to visit — the Caribbean island of Nevis — I sent an inquiry to a woman who posted that she and a friend had an enjoyable lunch at the Oualie Resort — a pricey place beyond my budget.
As it turned out, Mary and I connected instantly — she was also from my home state of Pennsylvania but started a new life in Nevis with her own business. Knowing the manager at Oualie, Mary got me a significant room discount.
When I visited Nevis a few months later, Mary and the resort manager welcomed me with dinner and cocktails. We had dinner a few more times during my 10-day stay, and she was kind enough to give me a complete tour of the island as well as invite me to her home in the rain forest. For years I had been drawn to this island without knowing why. The friendly strangers I met all around Nevis made this an unforgettable journey of Synchronicity.
Some lesser known tidbits about Nevis…