12 Life Lessons I Learned from my Cat

20/02/2013

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12 Life Lessons I Learned From My Cat

1. Pounce on opportunity. He who hesitates, misses catching the passing lizard.

2. Patience. Infinite patience.

3. Concentration. A cat studying an opportunity just beyond his grasp is the epitome of focused attention. He doesn’t even blink as he tunes out all distractions. His body is completely still except for his wildly twitching tail releasing his nervous energy.

4. Nothing is worth disturbing your beauty sleep.

5. Catnap. Even a few moments of shut-eye is refreshing.

6. If you’re happy, purr. Show your appreciation by letting people know that you like what they do.

7. Do cat stretches – and other yoga poses, and try Qigong. Especially as we age, gentle stretching is one of the best things we can do for our bodies.

8. Wrestle with your best friend. She likes it when you’re playful.

9. Eat when you’re hungry and not by the clock.

10. Ask for what you want. If you are lovable and patient, you will probably get it.

11. You can’t have everything you want. If you put your claws where they don’t belong, you’re going to get spanked.

12. Revel in life’s simple pleasures. A ball of string is magic. Catnip is heavenly.

~~ Origin: Unknown ~~

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Mindfulness

06/02/2013

Apple

A friend’s son was in the first grade of school, and his teacher asked the class, “What is the color of apples?” Most of the children answered red. A few said green. Kevin, my friend’s son, raised his hand and said white. The teacher tried to explain that apples could be red, green, or sometimes golden, but never white.

Kevin was quite insistent and finally said, “Look inside.”

Perception without mindfulness keeps us on the surface
of things, and we often miss other levels of reality.

~~ Joseph Goldstein ~~~


The Communication Principle

30/01/2013

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The Communication Principle

The communication principle is, “Be clear, concise, open, and honest.”

Communication is an art. I have seen some great communicators at work. These are some of the lessons I have learned:

Let others talk.

Avoid arguments.

Don’t complain.

Give honest and sincere compliments.

Be more ready to compliment than to criticize.

Invite input.

Make a point to remember people’s names; it is music to their ears.

Never be afraid to seek advice.

Never criticize someone in front of other people.

Be aware of other people’s desires.

Find joy and pleasure through taking an interest in people.

Talk about yourself only if asked.

Smile–it is contagious and opens people’s hearts.

Learn to listen.

Remember people’s birthdays and anniversaries–it shows you care.

Encourage people to share about themselves.

Engage people where they are–talk in relation to their interests.

Help other people to discover their uniqueness, to feel special and important, without patronizing them.

Respect other people’s opinions.

Admit when you are wrong.

Be kind and friendly to every person you meet.

Ask questions people respond to positively.

Encourage other people in their dreams–particularly children.

Try to see it from the other person’s point of view.

Hold up ideals.

Challenge people gently.

Talk about your own failures.

Appeal to higher motives.

Always look for yourself in others and others in yourself–it affirms the oneness of the human family.

Affirm the highest values of the human spirit.

Never pass up an opportunity to speak a kind word of appreciation. There are six billion people on the planet, and 5.9 billion of them go to bed every night starving for one honest word of appreciation.

~ Matthew Kelly ~

Image origin: unknown, found circulating on Facebook


Me-iaow

23/01/2013

I receive the PDSA’s quarterly magazine as they are one of the charities I support, and had to grin when reading this article because it just goes to show, humans are “owned” by cats *grin*!

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Me-iaow

In a testament to feline adaptability and ingenuity, cats, it appears, have hit upon a surefire method for getting what they want: sound like a baby. Inspired in part by the early morning mewing of her own cat, Pepo, Dr Karen McComb led a research project at Sussex University into the pitch and tone of various purrs and identified one particular vocalisation that owners find almost impossible to ignore. Woven into the low, gravelly throatiness of a normal purr is a sharp cry, the frequency of which is attuned to that of a human infant. Its plaintive dissonance grates upon the ear so insistently that the beleaguered owner, even while comfortably ensconsed in bed at some unearthly dawn hour, is invariably compelled to trek to the kitchen and to fill the empty food bowl in order to quell the annoyance. Recordings of the ‘soliciting’ purr were played to groups of cat and non-cat owners. In both cases the Sussex researchers found that the human response was the same: the pestering purr, with its piercing shrill whine, was deemed urgent, unpleasant and demanding of action – the opening of a tin of tuna – if only to silence it. What makes the soliciting purr irritating is its embedded high frequency. Cats create the usual low frequency feline purr by a gentle tightening of the vocal cords, yet subtle alterations in their vocable mechanisms mean that they are also able to lock and bury within its burr a high-pitched cry. Presumably having learnt that by liberating and exaggerating this cry humans can be coerced into bending their wills to the wishes of their pets, cats now regularly employ the tactic whenever they feel a little peckish or in want of attention. Tapping in to our instinctive urge to be attentive to the needs of a baby, cats have become the masters and mistresses of their owners.

From: PDSA Magazine, Issue 51

Image origin: unknown, found circulating on Facebook


Christmas is for Love

02/01/2013

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Christmas Is for Love
~ unattributed  ~

Christmas is for love. It is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly decorated packages. But mostly, Christmas is for love. I had not believed this until a small elf-like student with wide-eyed innocent eyes and soft rosy cheeks gave me a wondrous gift one Christmas.

Mark was an 11-year-old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter middle-aged woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister’s son. She never failed to remind young Mark, if it hadn’t been for her generosity, he would be a vagrant, homeless waif. Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.

I had not noticed Mark particularly until he began staying after class each day (at the risk of arousing his aunt’s anger, I later found) to help me straighten up the room. We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude of that hour of the day. When we did talk, Mark spoke mostly of his mother. Though he was quite small when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman, who always spent much time with him.

As Christmas drew near however, Mark failed to stay after school each day. I looked forward to his coming, and when the days passed and he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked why he no longer helped me in the room. I told him how I had missed him, and his large gray eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, “Did you really miss me?”

I explained how he had been my best helper. “I was making you a surprise,” he whispered confidentially. “It’s for Christmas.” With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. He didn’t stay after school any more after that.

Finally came the last school day before Christmas. Mark crept slowly into the room late that afternoon with his hands concealing something behind his back. “I have your present,” he said timidly when I looked up. “I hope you like it.” He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palms was a tiny wooden box.

“Its beautiful, Mark. Is there something in it?” I asked opening the top to look inside. ”

“Oh you can’t see what’s in it,” he replied, “and you can’t touch it, or taste it or feel it, but mother always said it makes you feel good all the time, warm on cold nights, and safe when you’re all alone.”

I gazed into the empty box. “What is it Mark,” I asked gently, “that will make me feel so good?” “It’s love,” he whispered softly, “and mother always said it’s best when you give it away.” And he turned and quietly left the room.

So now I keep a small box crudely made of scraps of wood on the piano in my living room and only smile as inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when I explain to them that there is love in it.

Yes, Christmas is for gaiety, mirth and song, for good and wondrous gifts. But mostly, Christmas is for love.

Image origin: unknown, found circulating on Facebook


Affirmation of the Week

31/12/2012

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“I AM OPEN TO NEW POSSIBILITIES”

And so we hit the last day of 2012 which heralds another week beginning, as does another month and another year… that’s a lot of new beginnings!

Celebrate endings – for they precede new beginnings.
~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie ~

I don’t know how anyone reading this blog is feeling (please feel free to post a comment and share), but I’ve definitely felt a shift of energy as we’ve moved towards this new year. Lots of change has been happening which has been accompanied by the usual increase in intensely vivid dreams (always an indicator of change for me) and a feeling of needing to declutter and simplify… again. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve got that much left to throw out *grin*.

So yet again, a time to move forward, and of course, once we have decided what we can, or indeed, must… leave behind… that will then create a gap for something new to come in. However, rather than attempt to draw something specific in, that fits a *perfect* criteria… I thought this affirmation was great for helping to keep our hearts and minds open to all possibilities… without judgement, without expectation… after all, it’s all very well to hope for something, but if we determine beforehand every single option, then that’s actually kinda rigid thinking don’t you think? Though do feel free to disagree with my train of thought 🙂

Whatever you want in life, start today.
Not tomorrow – today.
Let it be a small beginning – a tiny beginning.
Your happiness depends on starting today – every day.
~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie ~

Of course we may not know what *new* things we want to accomplish, we may not even have a goal in sight at present, but by being open to possibilities, we open our awareness to the opportunities that may present themselves, so we don’t have to know these things. It is, in fact, enough just to be open, to take one baby step at a time… to have trust that we will know when a possibility presents itself, to believe that something will actually turn up… to have faith that yes, we will then know what to do.  One step at a time. And each step along the way will constitute a journey that one day we will look back on and see how far we have come.  Of course, it may be a bit easier if hindsight were to accompany us from the start, but alas it insists it will only appear further down our path!

Anyway, a new year lies ahead, one that is filled with new days which can bring anything and everything into our lives… I know I don’t want to limit what those possibilities are, and I know I want my heart to be open to them.  Do you?

I am the New Year
~ Author unknown ~

Life, I am the new year.
I am an unspoiled page in your book of time.
I am your next chance at the art of living.
I am your opportunity to practice
what you have learned about life
during the last twelve months.

All that you sought
and didn’t find is hidden in me,
waiting for you to search it out
with more determination.

All the good that you tried for
and didn’t achieve
is mine to grant
when you have fewer conflicting desires.

All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do,
all that you hoped but did not will,
all the faith that you claimed but did not have –
these slumber lightly,
waiting to be awakened
by the touch of a strong purpose.

I am your opportunity
to renew your allegiance to Him who said,
‘behold, I make all things new.’
I am the new year.

Affirmation questions to consider for this week are:

What do you want to leave behind?
How can you stay open to all possibilities?
How open is your heart?
How much do you trust in opportunities becoming available?
What positive step forward can you take right now?
What would you like to dream into existence today?

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

Image origin: Unknown

© 2012 Michelle Payne


Affirmation of the Week

17/12/2012

GIVE

“I GIVE”

A few years ago there was an Oprah Winfrey programme on called “The Big Give” that I happened to catch a couple of the last few episodes, including the final.  The premise of the show was 10 contestants, given a certain amount of cash each week and they had to give big by raising more money, putting on shows, helping people… and I think it was a different city each week. Then each week one person would be sent home until the end… you get the picture.

Given how close it is to Christmas, I thought how appropriate that kind of attitude is to have not only at this time of year (though, really, shouldn’t that be a daily thing we try to absorb, embrace and exemplify?) but to also use it for this week’s affirmation!

I’m not suggesting we all go out and raise money and achieve what these contestants did…  although, if we could (or did), wouldn’t that be wonderful… generally though we can’t afford to give up our daily lives to do something like that. Instead, I thought about what if each and every one of us considers how we give to others… and to ourselves.

Seriously… what do you give to yourself? What do you give to others? How do you do this? If you don’t give… why not? If you do… what do you think the benefits are?

What do you consider to be “giving”?

One reaction to that could be of presents (well it is Christmas time)… gifts… material stuff… another could be the thought about how giving it is to smile at a stranger and what that might actually bring to their day. What about opening a door for someone… apart from having manners of course… what about letting that car out in front of you even if it delays you by 30 seconds? What about texting someone just to say hello if you haven’t heard from them for a while? Saying I love you, I missed you… or  thank you for being there for me?

What then of giving to your self? Do you give your self a hug when you need it? How about a pat on the back and congratulations for something achieved or well done? What about a word or two of encouragement when you feel down and it’s hard to get motivated again?  Don’t most people find that they can give to others but then treat themselves the harshest?  Self love and self care are also part and parcel of our innate self-respect and self-worth, and very often a lot of people forget that they too deserve these things!

What are you and those closest to you in need of right now? And how can you give those gifts to them all (your self included)?

There are many many benefits to giving… not least the sense that we have helped to make someone else happy, have maybe lightened their burden… there’s also the fact that it can also obviously make us feel good about ourselves as well, but to me this is about unconditional giving… not expecting something in return, because we are giving because we want to, we choose to and because, hopefully, that will bring about a positive moment in a person’s life (be that another or our own)!

We do not remember days
we remember moments
~~ Cesare Pavese ~~

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

Image origin: Unknown

© 2012 Michelle Payne


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