WORD'S WORTH“Each small meanness, each thoughtless expression of hatred, each envious and bitter act, regardless of how petty, can inspire others, and is therefore the seed that ultimately produces evil fruit, poisoning people whom you have never met and never will. All human lives are so profoundly and intricately entwined – those dead, those living, those generations yet to come – that the fate of all is the fate of each, and the hope of humanity rests in every heart and in every pair of hands.”  Dean R. Koontz

WORD'S WORTH“Give yourself time to make a prayer that will become the prayer of your soul. Listen to the voices of longing in your soul. Listen to your hungers. Give attention to the unexpected that lives around the rim of your life. Listen to your memory and to the inrush of your future, to the voices of those near you and those you have lost. Out of all of that attention to your soul, make a prayer that is big enough for your wild soul, yet tender enough for your shy and awkward vulnerability; that has enough healing to gain the ointment of divine forgiveness for your wounds; enough truth and vigour to challenge your blindness and complacency; enough graciousness and vision to mirror your immortal beauty.”  John O’Donohue 

Dear Cat Owners.

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I so respect your right to have any pet you want. I even respect your right to have a pet that I would never want to have. Truly, I have your back on that issue. I would never chose to have a cat as a pet but you go right ahead.

I think some people chose a cat as a pet because they do not require a lot of upkeep. Compared to a dog, they are smaller, more independent, seldom hurt or kill other people, cost less to feed, do not need to be exercised and know how to bury their own faeces in a neat little sandbox you can empty once in a while without too much hassle. Not having to “train” them in the art of bathrooming is a big plus. You can give your child or yourself a furry companion but not be tied down in the same way you are with a dog. Cats are pretty resilient and much more forgiving as far as recovering from neglect. But let’s talk serious here for a moment; having a pet comes with lots of responsibilities. I am sure that you bought your kitty lots of cool toys and that you feed them regularly. You may even let your cat sleep with you. Funny how they become such a big part of your family so quickly, isn’t it?

You know what is not funny? It’s not funny that YOUR cat roams all over the neighbourhood forcing all the rest of us to share in your cat ownership. You see, I would love to have a pet. I don’t because our lifestyle would not support that. We travel a lot and I know we would not be able to commit to the time and energy a pet would need. I thought a lot about that, and sadly, realized, it would be irresponsible for me to try and take on a pet, even an independent cat.

So what I do, is I have compensated. I love the birds and the little lizards, geckos, the possums, the wallabies and the kangaroos. I even love the little rabbits that occasionally show up in our yard. We planted our yard to facilitate all of them. I have a debilitating illness that sees me spend most of my time indoors so my husband went to some lengths – effort and finances – to plant all kinds of trees and bushes outside the windows of my office and my bedroom to attract the birds I love. It has allowed me to enjoy them up close and personal. These have become MY pets and while none of them share my bed, I can assure you that I love them and take pleasure in them every bit as much as you do your cat. Continue reading

WORD'S WORTH“We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.”  Hermann Hesse

WORD'S WORTH“Do not exploit spirituality (universal truths) for personal power, fame or financial gain. Spiritual wisdom is universal and inherently belongs to everyone equally, no one is excluded or denied.” Anon I Mus

The Breath of Life.

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I wanted to share this with you.  I could not advocate anything more.  Deep breathing is vital to our well-being.

When we are in nature, when we sleep deeply or when we meditate, we breathe deeply and this can enable us to to feel relaxed and calm.  When we are relaxed and calm it impacts our entire body.  Deep breathing signals our brains that we are no longer stressed and we no longer require the amped up body response of fight or flight.

The more stressed we are in our day-to-day the more it impacts our breathing.   It does not take long until we are breathing shallow as a matter of routine.  We don’t even realize that we have stopped breathing into our diaphragm as intended and are only pulling air into chests before expelling it quickly.  It becomes a cycle.  Stress causes us to stop breathing deeply and as we breathe shallow we are reinforcing that we are in stress.

The body’s response to stress is the same as if our life were to be threatened.  Remember those times when you thought there was a monster under your bed as a child, or you thought you heard someone in the house as an adult?  Remember how you stopped (or almost stopped) breathing?  When we live our lives filled with stress our body reacts in the same way.   Our body needs oxygen.  It is vital to our well being.  Stress impacts the central nervous system and causes the hypothalamus in the brain to release cortisone and adrenaline, flooding your body.   From there a whole laundry list of body responses occur as the body tries to compensate for the lack of oxygen occurs, many of which, long term, can end up killing you.

Breathing is life.  Cessation of breathing is death.  It follows that the more deeply we breathe, the more connected to life and health we are.  We give our body, our brains, and our spirits what they need to be able to fully function.

Take the time when you are driving, riding the bus, walking to work, sitting in a meeting … to just consider your breathing.  Check that you are taking air right down deep into your belly.  Practice taking it in slowly, holding it, and slowly releasing.  Relax your body as you exhale, releasing all your tensions.  Let go of your worries.  Just breathe in and out.  As we become more mindful of our breathing, even just for a few minutes each day, we begin to see a noticeable difference.  Just a simple cycle pattern of breathing can reset our batteries and remind us to relax.

Here is the cycle I use:

Become aware of your breath, breathe normally in and out.

1. Breathe in to the count of 10 – slowly.
2. Hold to the count of 10 – slowly.
3. Release to the count of  10 – slowly.
Repeat 1 -3, 3 times.

Breathe normally for a half dozen breaths.

1. Breathe in to the count of 12 – slowly.
2. Hold to the count of 12 – slowly.
3. Release to the count of  12 – slowly.
Repeat 1 -3, 3 times.

Breathe normally.

You can up the number of your count as your ability to breathe deeply improves.  This alone will help you to relax, refocus your mind and therefore help you to concentrate on the task at hand.  The stress and jitteriness that you may feel when you try to meditate or go to sleep often occurs because you are breathing in a very shallow manner.  Using the method I have outlined can also help you to relax your body so that you can focus on meditation or it can help you drift off to sleep.  It is a wonderful, healthy and simple way for you to take back the control of your “self” that our day-to-day stressful lives continually erode from us.

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