Shoes and Trust

I had a shoe-mergency today.  I finished speaking at our wellness event, was walking back to my seat and I knew my right shoe didn’t feel quite right.  I sat down and investigated—a case of a loose platform.  I’ve had this particular pair of shoes for at least ten, maybe eleven years.  I don’t wear them often and I guess they wanted to show their displeasure with not being taken out more frequently.  You really learn who you can count on when you’re having a shoe-mergency.

Shoe

I turned to my colleague and friend who was sitting at the table.  She immediately offered to get some flipflops from the car (I normally come prepared with back-ups, but I’m rolling in a loaner car for the weekend).  Our other colleague, who also works at the venue, scrambled around for glue or something to repair my busted sole.  No glue on the entire premises… but who needs glue when you have friends to hold you together?

After her speech, which was FANTASTIC, the first colleague/friend I mentioned went out to her car and retrieved two pairs of shoes, one flats and one stilettos, for me.  I went with the heels, of course.  Crisis averted.

I was listening to Brene Brown’s Super Soul Sessions talk called “The Anatomy of Trust” as I was cleaning out my classroom last week, preparing for summer break.  Ms. Brown talks about the little acts that create trust in a relationship, how a small gesture or conversation, sometimes even comment, can form a bond.  And, in the spirit of balance, it takes an equally small gesture, or the lack of a gesture, or comment to annihilate trust that previously existed.

I’ve put up the front of not needing anyone plenty of times, as a way to protect the fragile little Denise inside of the woman filling the 5-inch-high shoes.  I’ve purported in various incarnations over the years that I don’t trust or don’t need anyone.  But, let’s be real—I was running defense.  Today, I wasn’t going to be running anywhere without some darn great ladies whom I trust.  I knew I could depend on them before their gestures today, for sure.  But how these souls stepped up for me when my sole wasn’t supporting me fills me with so much joy and love.  It’s these small, trust-building gestures that save an event, a day, even a life sometimes.  I see it in Rescue—the way our team shows up for each other is outstanding.  And I felt in first hand today with my Oil sisters.  Thank you, my friends.  Much love.

More about Masterclass

Gabby tells us to step in fully.  And I’ve been doing that, every day.  I’m stepping in and up, creating opportunities for growth in the day-job realm, going big in Rescue, arms locked with the most dedicated team, and establishing weekly classes for the summer to share our incredible wellness products.  I’ve stepped in fully, basking in the light from root to crown.

Today, I want to share a few more sparkly gems from my massive collection of notes from our Spirit Junkie Masterclass:

  • Lean into appreciation when you see yourself comparing.

Especially when we are flicking through our social media feeds, it is easy to start comparing, which breeds judgement, envy, annoyance, a host of negative emotions.  When you catch yourself comparing her experience, her presentation of her relationship, her possessions, etc. to yours, lean into appreciation instead.  Stop.  Breathe.  Be happy and proud for your friend (and if she’s not your friend, why are you looking at her stuff?).  Find gratitude and appreciation for what you have and what you are experiencing.  Make and execute a plan for change and growth for yourself.  Appreciate your opportunities rather than compare and judge.

  • A movement within creates a movement in the world.

We are making a difference.  It’s easy to miss that, especially if you watch “the news.”  But I know darn well that the light I stand in and spread to everyone I come into contact with is facilitating positivity.  It’s a domino effect, in a good way.  Is there a term for that, because domino effect is making me think things are falling down?  I haven’t had my coffee yet.  But you get me.  Make one person smile and they make another person smile.  It’s network marketing for the spirit.

  • Outside resistance reflects our inner resistance. Dissolve it with love.

When you are getting push-back, when doors aren’t opening up for you, when stuff seems impossible… all that is holding you back or telling you no or standing in your way starts from within.  When we are faced with rejection and we let that stop us, that stems from inner resistance.  When nothing seems to be going our way externally, that is rooted in something internal.  But please don’t blame yourself or beat yourself up.  Find that inner resistance and dissolve it with love.  Literally sit down, close those pretty eyes, and envision that inner resistance.  Give it a face or a symbol.  Then envision surrounding it with love, pouring love all over it and through it.  Dissolve it with that love.

Oh!  Now I’m inspired to lead a guided meditation and/or Aroma Freedom Technique session about dissolving our inner resistance with love… let’s make this happen.

Much love.

masterclass stuff

Ashley

You bought a rabbit.  I don’t know why.  Maybe your kids were begging you for one, promising they would take care of her.  Maybe you thought a rabbit would be an easy starter pet.  Maybe you didn’t think much about it, just bought her on a whim—she was cute.  Or maybe someone bought her for you—thank them for me and be sure to share this with them.

Less than two months after Easter 2017, likely when you got her, you decided you didn’t want her anymore.  You decided the responsibility that you chose was over.  So, you set her “free.”

On the first of June, 2017, a stray rabbit was brought into a local animal shelter.  White, black and near death.  This rabbit, a little girl, was emaciated, anemic and infested with parasites.  She couldn’t hop.  She couldn’t hold her head up.  Because you set her “free.”

The shelter called April, one of our most dedicated and compassionate volunteers, as the shelter isn’t equipped for rabbits—but they absolutely do their best.  April went to the shelter with supplies and care instructions.  Upon seeing the dire condition of this little rabbit, April recommended immediate veterinary intervention.  The shelter brought the rabbit to an emergency veterinary clinic where she stayed for four days.  She was given fluids, medications and critical care food.  Because you set her “free.”

When she showed some signs of gaining strength, the hospital released this rabbit into April’s care.  April named her Ashley, a tribute to the caring director at the shelter.  Ashley the rabbit’s condition was still critical.  She couldn’t eat on her own.  She could only move a bit.  But she was finally feeling love and support—you know, the stuff you promised to give her when you bought her.  But you were done with that.  So, you set her “free.”

Our team showed up for Ashley in such a beautiful way.  April got Ashley to eat some greens on her own.  Jacey and Bryce visited her daily when April had to go to work.  Lisa drove well over an hour (maybe 2?) one way just to meet Ashley and give her some love.  When Lisa arrived, Ashley was having a very difficult time.  Lisa called the talented team at Catnip and Carrots Veterinary Hospital, who said to bring Ashley right in.  Dr. Miller and staff cared for Ashley, assessed her needs, ran blood work and some other tests.  With their magic and skill combined with the love from our team, Ashley was sitting up on her own that night.

Lisa, Maria and Ricky cared for her overnight before her odyssey back to April’s house (I can’t help but joke about the distance—our team spans the entire 118-mile length of this island).  Dr. Miller called me the next morning with the blood work results.  Nothing was good.  At all.  Despite that, April and her family, with the support of the other volunteers, committed to doing ANYTHING it took to give Ashley a chance at life.  This included syringe feedings multiple times per day and many other demanding efforts.  But April was willing.  We create a fundraising page to help with the costs of Ashley’s care, which raised over $500 in less than a day.  The time, love, energy, financial support, good wishes from so many people—that’s what it takes to counterbalance your decision to set her “free.”

Last night, I was smiling big time.  I came home from my godmother’s 65th birthday party.  My other half and my favorite of his friends were outside putting together our beautiful new gazebo and patio set.  80 degrees, sunny and we were dancing on the deck.  My phone rang.  It was Jacey and Bryce.  They had a call in to the 24-hour emergency service for the vet.  Ashley was limp.  She wouldn’t take her syringe-fed water, as she typically would.  Her temperature had dropped to 93 degrees.  They had her on heat and poured love on to her.  Maria and Ricky got in their car right away, heading to Ashley’s side.  April left work.  I was standing by, relaying messages from the veterinary team.

Jacey called again.  Ashley began to have a seizure.  We knew her time in this dimension was coming to a close.  Bryce and Jacey held her, loved her, told her it was ok to let go.  You know, like how you let her go, set her “free.”

Ashley passed away before April could make it home.  Jacey and Bryce stayed.  We are truly a family in this group.  Ashley suffered.  Immensely.  She was starved to near-death and infested with parasites when she was finally brought to safety.  She had liver damage among many other issues.  And if you’re saying “it’s just rabbit,” tell that to April, Lisa, Jacey or Bryce.  Look in their eyes and say it, please.  Just a rabbit to you— a precious, innocent soul to all of our team.

In case you ever wonder what happened to that little rabbit whom you set “free”…

Binky free, sweet Ashley.

Masterclass

Where do I even begin?  Maybe this will be a 12-part miniseries…

I am a certified Spirit Junkie.  I completed the level one Spirit Junkie Masterclass training with Gabrielle Bernstein.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday surrounded with like-minded, amazing women and men.  On Sunday during the lunch break, I texted one of my dearest friends to tell her that although I was ready to come home, I never wanted to leave how I was feeling, never wanted to leave the place my heart, soul, spirit and mind were in.  Talk about pure bliss…

Masterclass cert

So I’ll grace you with some of the highlights from my 37 pages of notes.  Forgive me if some of my words and some of the speakers’ words blend together.  I tried to paraphrase and quote with accuracy, as my formal training dictates but in the flow of the weekend, some elements mushed together.  And believe that I feel a shift for which words will do no justice.

In her opening talk, Gabby circled around humility, love and transformation.  She, in certain terms, told us all that we have to do this work and must step in fully. She prompted us to lean into appreciation when we see ourselves comparing our journeys, our experiences and our concepts with those of others.  Powerfully and frequently throughout the weekend, Gabby urged us to be unapologetic about what we’re here to do.

Proudly, I introduced myself as an animal Reiki practitioner and rescuer to my new-found sisters—I didn’t hide behind the day job (but shout out to the Spirit Junkie who described herself on mic as a spiritual teacher disguised as a school teacher… because I’m so using that line!).  I’m fully stepping in.

And as I sit here, I realize that it is time to fully step out.  I am tired.  So there’s just a taste, a teaser of sorts, just the opening chapter… stay tuned for the next installment.  Much love.

World’s Best Boss

The best boss I’ve ever had isn’t my boss at all.  Technically speaking, she has a leadership role in our Rescue group, but there’s no sense of wielding power or even a chain of command.  She co-runs the show with an equally wonderful and inspiring woman. She treats every volunteer fairly and with compassion.  She gives everyone a chance.  She listens far more than she speaks (a trait I am desperately trying to emulate).

My boss made me feel like a peer from the very first day I volunteered.  I was immediately comfortable asking questions and asking for more responsibilities when I saw opportunities where my strengths could be put to good use in the Rescue group’s mission.  I call her my mentor.  I feel something in my soul when I say that.

And I’ve learned so much working with her.

As naturally as “big picture” work comes to me, I can get frenzied quite easily.  Of course, I should turn to my essential oils and my meditation skills in those moments—how easily we forget to open our metaphorical toolboxes when we need them!  Besides the rabbit care, catching, husbandry, etc., the two greatest lessons I’ve learned from my mentor are:

  • Urgency: Especially when you are dealing with life and death situations and neglect/abuse cases, everything can seem urgent.  I’ve learned from my mentor to better discern what is urgent and what is important.  I’ve learned that every email will get answered and it’s ok if it doesn’t get answered within 30 seconds of its receipt.  I’ve learned how to prioritize cases.  I’ve learned that even if something seems urgent at first glance, few things are truly that way.  Her approach is mindful and not reactive.  Channeling that skill, I can target and handle the truly urgent situations far more effectively.

 

  • Unplug: Well, here’s a lesson I’ve learned, I know but I haven’t quite mastered yet. We are all works in progress!  My mentor will occasionally say that she needs to “unplug” for a while.  These unplugged instances are not often and are not long (although she deserves them to be more frequent and lengthy!) but she does take purposeful time to give herself a break from being “on call.”  My loyal readers and real-life friends know that doing this for myself is something with which I struggle.  Between Rescue and business, I feel the need to be connected and plugged in constantly.  Yet, my logical brain knows I do far more effective work when I balance that out with unplugged moments.  Thank you, Mentor, for reminding me to unplug.  Now if someone could just confiscate my phone…

My mentor, my friend, my best boss ever… Thank you for the life lessons, the opportunities and the boundless love and support.  Here’s to many more years of saving and loving those big floppy ears…

My Mentor MM

Mother 2017

If you would have told me that I’d be sitting here at 35 years old with a guinea pig in my lap… but I guess motherhood presents many unexpected turns.

Mother

It’s in my nature to “break stuff down.”  So I was thinking last night about what being a mother necessitates at its core.  Sure, there are many things that people think mothers should do.  Mothers have myriad responsibilities thrust upon them.  But if you really take it down to the core, to the basic, all a mother actually has to do is get the being out of her.  Of course, nurturing, protecting and other elements of that ilk are necessary and lovely and lots of other adjectives are great but that comes next, and honestly, those things can come from anywhere.  In fact, I think we benefit when they come from multiple, safe sources.  I very much subscribe to the It Takes a Village philosophy.

Many mothers that I know, those who are mothers to their biological children and those who are mothers to beings they did not birth, have to handle a lot—you literally feel the pressure to keep another being alive while keeping yourself alive.  And of course we take the responsibility beyond that (in many ways we should), like keeping our beings, our babies, hooked up with an excess of toys and treats.  I’m all for spoiling—as I often remind you, I’m an only child with no cousins.  But I think some of us mothers can benefit from taking a page from the furry moms handbook.  Think about a rabbit mom or a bird mom.  They make the babies; they get them out of themselves.  They give them a few weeks and then those offspring leave the nest.  Damn, I feel for you human mommas with full nests of 30+ year olds… because that’s a lot of nurturing, of giving of yourself, your time, your resources.  Please make sure you’re putting yourself first sometimes, too.  Don’t forget you have a village out there for support.

Our Rescue has a private Facebook group for adopters, volunteers and supporters that I think of as a parenting group in many ways.  The members give advice about nutrition, shelter, toys and other creature comforts.  We support each other when behaviors of our children are tough to manage.  We celebrate the cute hops and silly antics of our cotton-bottom babies.  We are the village, coming together to save and raise these big-eared children.

This Mother’s Day is a celebration but I want you to celebrate every day.  Appreciate, recognize, bask in the connection that family brings.  Family can and should look and feel differently for everyone.  My immediate family has as many furry members as it does ones with just skin.  I home-school and cage my children.  I don’t recommend that for every mother out there.  Families of 1, families of 2, families of 222 and all the fams in between, feel the blessing.  Much love.

Hoppy Mother’s Day.

Failure

I’ve been devouring Napoleon Hill’s Outwitting the Devil this week—mind-blown with Hill’s observations about society, education and religion in post-WWI America, mostly because it’s still true today!  If you told me this was written in 2017, I wouldn’t have batted a mascara-coated eyelash.  But don’t be disheartened that Hill’s 1938 assessments and commentaries still fit today for most people and groups… because we are not like most people.

Fail

In his alleged conversation with the Devil himself, Hill proposes the “capacity to surmount failure without being discouraged” as one’s “chief asset.”  The Devil affirms.  The fear of failure or worse, the stopping after one perceived failure, is crippling, stunting, or downright deadly.  Do you really think you’re supposed to do everything perfectly right the first time?  Are you seriously supposed to marry the first guy you date?  Would you truly be fulfilled working for 20 or 30 years at the place where you went on your first job interview?  Life is supposed to be experiential!  Sometimes a struggle, sometimes a jaunt through a field of cotton candy and rainbows, but regardless of circumstance, we are designed to keep going and keep flowing.

I’ve heard the cliché “Failure is not an option” and I’m sure I liked the sound of it at times.  But not anymore.  Not at all.  Failure is wonderful option.  Rescue had an education event and fundraiser yesterday.  We raised $1.  Yes, one dollar.  So, by most people’s definitions, yesterday was a failure and we shouldn’t waste our time dragging out the team, the green plastic storage bin, the flyers, and the spokesbunny again.  I’m turning that attitude on its head.  Yes, rescue walked with one hundred pennies yesterday BUT we have goals for next time, we have lessons learned.  We bonded, made new connections and fortified some others.  We’ve had fundraisers in the past where we raised over $3,000.  Yesterday was just as special and important as those events.

I refuse to pack it up and walk away after a “failure.”  I’ll be out there again and again.  The Devil told Hill, “Decide definitely what you want from life; then create a plan for attaining it and be willing to sacrifice everything else, if necessary, rather than accept permanent defeat.”  My purpose here in this lifetime is to advocate for and care for domestic rabbits.  Temporary defeat, what many of you call failure, exists daily in this work.  Stores on this island are still selling live rabbits as Easter basket toys.  People, some ignorant, some cruel, are releasing domestic rabbits into the “wild.”  We raised $1 yesterday.  There is struggle in this, yes, but it is not permanent defeat.  I will not accept it that way.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our favorite kind of failure in Rescue life: Foster Failure.  I’m asking you, darling readers, to take the fulfilling feeling you felt when you just read those two F words together and apply that grateful sense to all failures you come across this week.  Sometimes, it will be a stretch but you can reach it.  Much love.