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

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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.