Believe In Bunnies

Believe Healing

I Found an Old Journal…

Where are my fellow inconsistent journalers?

Whoa, inaccurate judgment of myself. I was an inconsistent journaler. Then 2 months ago, I found something that I’m actually sticking with… but more on that later! 

This week, I was cleaning off a bookshelf and I found a journal that I wrote in sporadically from 2015 to 2017. I have it open next to me right now and as I flip through and find some gems, I’ll share them with you.

An excerpt from November 21, 2015 (I remember writing this while waiting for a yoga and meditation workshop to start): I’m allowed to ask for what I want. My feelings are reasonable & important. I am rooted by my own strength. I honor myself. I honor what I want, need, feel.

Consciously engage with the flow. Show trust in how we are being led. I will always be led in the right direction if I listen to myself. When you trust yourself, nothing else matters.

An excerpt from December 5, 2015: Remember the things that feel right. Luxuriate.

On January 1, 2016: a page of ideas to name this blog. I Believe in Bunnies is the first idea on the list. Proof that first instincts are often the right ones.

Six pages of notes from April 8, 2016, the first time that I went to a talk given by my teacher Gabby Bernstein. The words are practically glimmering off of the pages as I reflect back. One gem that Gabby said: “When we pray for guidance, sometimes chaos shows up first.”

An excerpt from December 22, 2016: It’s after noon & I just realized I hadn’t breathed today. (I remember sitting in cafeteria duty writing that).

General observation: A lot of the goals and mantras in this journal are things I’m still working on… but damn how I’ve grown! Give yourself massive credit for how far you’ve come (I’m talking to myself and to you).

Wow, this was a moment, a sweet way to spend some time on this my last day of vacation. Lots of memories flooding back in… and, interestingly enough, those goals and gets that I thought I wanted in 2016 and 2017, that didn’t happen… when I look at my life now, those things were so not meant to be. Reflection is a good lesson in faith.

Oh, before you go… I told you that I would share about a journal/self-care practice that is consistently working for me: Silk & Sonder Go check it out!

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Where I spent my winter vacation
Believe Bunnies Energy Healing Teacher Life

Oh, Hey…

I wrote to you weekly for 6 years. I skipped maybe a handful of weeks scattered over those years, but since Believe in Bunnies launched, I sat faithfully at my keyboard on Sunday mornings to share a tale of rabbit rescue, or my spiritual journey, or walking alongside another being’s journey. My consistency wavered this past year; it’s been an effort to assure myself that it’s okay. I needed to get quiet a whole bunch… and I’m darn proud of myself for slowing down.

I make a point each day to listen to something from my teacher Gabby Bernstein. I play recordings of her lectures and workshops as I fold laundry, I run her YouTube videos in another tab as I answer emails, and I stop everything to tune into “Dear Gabby,” her Instagram-Live-turned-podcast show, when it’s on. While attending to some Rescue work last week, I was listening to a talk that I’d likely listened to before… but this time, a section jumped out at me. I ran it back thrice. I grabbed a pencil and scribbled down Gabby’s words as she gave voice to what I’d been feeling, or more accurately suppressing, for decades:

“I was walking around in a story of ‘If I am not productive, I am not alive’… it may be the key to any success I’ve experienced to date because I was moving and moving and going and going and multitasking and making things happen, but it can no longer be sustainable. It’s not the vibration I want to be in… My new mantra: Everything is happening around me and I am fully taken care of.”

I was off from work (if you’re new here, I teach high school English) this week. Historically, I’d pack these weeks off with 750 classes, talks, appointments, expectations of myself… and go back to work still needing a vacation! Fellow teachers are nodding along with that sentence. This week, I tried something radically uncomfortable– I scheduled nothing. Well, almost nothing. I had a Reiki session with my healer Lisa and a session with a one-on-one coaching client. But that was it for appointments and commitments. Outside of those two scheduled hours, I set my intention for the week off to be present and cultivate peace. I set daily goals of movement, either a workout or a virtual yoga class, mindful eating, and reading. 

Simple, right? On the outside, sure… on the inside, a challenge… as I’d been living the feeling of “If I am not productive, I am not alive” consciously and subconsciously FOREVER. Even in elementary school, I couldn’t just play with my friends; I had to organize, plan, structure. I’ll stop here on this thread before we head into a deep-dive of habits and paradigms. Today, I just want to be here. 

Over this past week, there were moments of difficulty and moments of flow. I’m leaning heavily on my new (borrowed) mantra that “Everything is happening around me and I am fully taken care of.” Nothing fell apart this week. Lessons and classes will flow just fine when the bells start ringing tomorrow, even though I did minimal school work over break. I tell the students that break means break– I deserve that too! I’ll get to the dermatologist soon for that annual body scan. Oh, and Rescue work… my goodness, have we formed an unstoppable team. I’ll have to tell you soon, dear readers, about the records we broke in 2020! I used to tell myself that I had to do it all or it wouldn’t get done; that couldn’t be further from the truth now (thank you K and S). 

The long and short of it… I’m happy to be back at the blog helm and even happier that I gave myself a break… and more breaks to come. It’s all about intention and vibe over here, no longer pushing to produce just because. Look at me… learning to chill. It’s kinda wild, what comes so simply to some can be an epic journey for others. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some actual relaxing to do. Much love. 

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Believe Energy Young Living

Ah, the Holidays…

Dozens of fall and winter celebrations around the world… and yet, those three hours you have to spend with that relative can feel like the most pressing global event to happen since Brangelina split (to be honest, I’m still in denial about that, but that’s entirely irrelevant). As we approach Thanksgiving, which some view as the kickoff to the holiday season in the U.S., I felt this to be an apt time to share my holiday survival guide with you.

Whether you’ve been in the spirit since the 4th of July or just can’t seem to care this year, holiday stuff is cropping up all around you. Add that on to everything else this unique year has brought to us… 

The good news: you get to decide if you care. Everything just is; you give it the direction. You can decide to be stressed, you can decide to leap headfirst into chaos, or you can decide to take a breath, sit it out, and do whatever resonates with you.

I hear you: “But Denise! I have to ______!!!” 

No you don’t. You choose to. You feel like you have to and you probably still will… but allow yourself a few moments to think about what would change if you didn’t _____. Or if you still did _____ but you detached from the outcome. Or, even better, envisioned it exactly how you wanted it and let the scenario fulfill your high expectations… 

When you expect that one person or situation to give you a hard time, that’s often what comes true. Try expecting differently this time.

And also:

  • Plan for your self-care just as much as you plan your shopping lists, meals, and travel.
    • Pop a citrus oil in your diffuser to keep the vibe right. Citrus Fresh is my go-to while I’m mapping out the plan.
  • Keep the peace. Correction: Keep your peace. Walk away from conversations that aren’t in line with your desired holiday spirit. 
  • Catch yourself overindulging in the food and treats? Before you pile extra onto your plate, ask yourself: Am I hungry or am I anxious? No matter the answer, food might be what you need in that moment, so honor that. Give yourself grace. Deprivation and negative self-talk will only exacerbate the situation.
  • Get your sleep, sweet friend. The to-do list will still be there tomorrow. If you aren’t rested, you aren’t getting those tasks done with acuity anyway!

Exhale, dear ones. We are in this holiday season together. Much love.

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Believe Teacher Life

Afterthoughts…

I wrote these words on the morning of Wednesday November 4, 2020, just for some context…

It goes without saying (but I’ll say it) that it’s not about one dude or another dude– this isn’t American Idol circa 2003.

This is about people. This is about the students who look me in the eye and tell me they are scared to come to school, something I never heard before 2016. You might not like reading that, but this is a fact from my experience. This is about my friends who are hurt on the daily. In my view, no one deserves that.

You also might not like reading this: Some people see red, white, and blue, while some people solely see white. If your eyes darted back to that sentence and then flared with anger, I implore you to consider why you’re angry. Are you angry because I’ve identified something in you that you’re ashamed of? Oh, gentle reminder that this isn’t necessarily about you, but if you feel like it is, maybe you have some reflection to do… or maybe not. You get to feel however you want to feel. You get to value whatever aligns in your heart and mind. But, if you are acting, feeling, speaking, or thinking in a way that doesn’t feel right, perhaps it’s time to accept a shift or change in your life. Nobody gets to control your thoughts but you. If you haven’t audited your thoughts in a while, or ever, there’s no time like now. 

If you think, “I could never vote for a woman…” or “I could never vote for a person who looks like/loves like/smells like…” I want you to think about why. Then, if you’re good with your reasoning, if you make sense to yourself, if you are solid in your convictions, if that aligns with your values, then stick with that way of thinking. I’m not telling you not to be who you are; I’m simply encouraging you to be honest with yourself. And, yes, that can be difficult or scary… but I believe in you. 

Kindly don’t “Yeah, but…” me here. I’m not interested in deflection. I’m always down for dialogue, particularly dialogue with a foundation of compassion and respect.

Much love… and pride in a better today and an even better tomorrow.

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Believe Coaching Energy Healing Teacher Life

It’s Working

This shouldn’t feel like such a revelation to me. All of my teachers, coaches, gurus, and role models have been saying it to me (directly or through their work) forever. It took some serious intention and work over the last few months, but it clicked in this past Tuesday night when I flung open the garage door and asked the Bunny-Daddy: Why don’t I feel like an anxious mess right now?

He said: Because you slowed down.

It was the evening after our first day back in the classroom. Teachers are sold the paradigm that we’re supposed to be exhausted, or worse, after the first day. But I didn’t feel tired.

I work at one of two high schools in our county that went back “all in,” with something like 91% of the student body opting to come to school in-person rather than attend virtually. Masks, barriers, distancing, staggered passing in the halls, teaching that handful of virtual learners simultaneously along with the in-person students. I was supposed to be in fear and doubt… but I was rolling with it.

I had my Rescue and business responsibilities to attend to, personal and professional preparations to manage, all the things I’ve been working towards and on for a few years now. But the pressure to get it all done right now I would normally feel, that pressure that would typically manifest as a lump in my throat and moving at a chaotic pace was missing. That’s why I went out to the garage to ask, to seek clarity, to ask What am I forgetting to do? Because I felt at peace, I felt in control, I felt genuinely good… and I couldn’t understand why or how in that moment.

A-ha… all the work is working. Call it surrender, call it letting go, or quote my teacher Gabby and say, “Slow down, sister.” I never thought I could slow down. I didn’t trust enough to delegate. I cared too much about the wrong things to even understand the concept of surrender. I used to say, to anyone who would listen, that I needed a retreat… and then I would follow up with a word-vomit of how I could never even take a half-day of a break, no less go on an actual retreat.

What I did, however, was capitalize on time at home over the past few months. I lived without the pressure of doing more and doing everything. I started digging deeper with my angel of a therapist. We worked (and are still working) on the causes, not just on the symptoms. One’s relationship with food is often a symptom. Overdoing it with substances, work, exercise, or distractions is often a symptom. Gotta find that cause, then honor, treat and heal it!

Once I saw and felt true progress, I hired a coach to keep me accountable and focused. It would have been so easy to slip back into the ways I’d always done things, the ways that didn’t feel great but felt familiar. I was not going to backslide. And, of course, along the way I oiled up, I opened up, and I committed to consuming only what made me feel good– that includes food, conversations, and media.

I needed to slow down, just a notch in some areas, completely in others, to feel better. My pace was crushing me. I’m happy to report that I’m embracing feeling good now. I’m still doing a lot… but it feels different. Ah, the feels…

I don’t say this to impress you. I say this to impress upon you that you can choose a better feeling thought, you can develop your mindset, and you can get real with just how darn powerful and magical you truly are. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some breath work to do. Much love.

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Believe Coaching Energy Healing Teacher Life Young Living

Grand Plans

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.” -V. Woolf

Once a year since we’ve moved into our home, I’ve had our treasured housekeeper clean all of the windows. Feel free to cringe if once a year isn’t enough for you. Only Judy can judge me. When we transitioned to working from home in the spring I thought I’d clean the windows myself this year. Dalloway vibes… but little follow through. I’ve been home for five and a half months and I’ve cleaned five windows. 

They are regular suburban house windows, nothing ornate or oversized. I’ve spent probably less than an hour total on these five windows. Glancing around, there aren’t many windows left to clean; like I said, regular suburban house. So, why haven’t I cleaned them all? And… the five I cleaned in April… they aren’t looking so pristine anymore.

You know me by now, dear readers– this isn’t a cleaning story. There’s a lesson here. There’s always a symbol, a metaphor, a reading deeply into the basic. 

Flashback to the fall semester of my senior year in college. I remember waking up early one morning, grabbing the syllabi for each course in which I was enrolled and thinking to myself: I’m going to sit at this desk and write all of my papers today for the whole semester. Get it over with, marathon, be done, be free of looming tasks. I wrote three papers that day… but seven were left untouched. Seventeen years later, I can still recall the palpable feeling of failure. I didn’t give myself even a moment to celebrate writing three papers in a day– I only focused on what was left undone.

Back to present day… we return to school in a week. I did a lot in the five and a half months I’ve been home. A solid portion of what I accomplished was finally slowing down, taking on less, and shedding a layer of work/accomplishment addiction. Yet I sit here, feeling that familiar lump in the throat of the windows left uncleaned, like the papers left unwritten. All of the personal development I do (and teach!)… but the subconscious and the body… their programming runs deep! 

I don’t mean to conflate five wiped-down windows with three academic papers– but as different as the things are, the feelings, the habitual thinking, the paradigm is the same. And now I get to decide if I’ll beat myself up for the tasks left undone, the windows left unwashed… or if I’ll pick up the Thieves cleaner and a rag… or, even more radical, just let it be. You see, everything just is. We choose the direction, the feeling, whether positive or negative, whether roadblock or stepping stone.

This story is a parable of awareness and of growth. I promise, whatever I choose to do for the next week before Denise transitions back into Ms. B., I will not be sitting here in seventeen years from now thinking about the windows I didn’t clean in 2020. I choose. I surrender. I am enough.

Much love.  

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Believe Energy Healing Purpose

Happy? Happy.

Summer Denise is a voracious reader. September to June, I am consumed by reading essays, writing lesson plans and going to bed at 8 pm… sometimes 7:15 pm. Tightly wound, but efficient as all-get-out. It’s a trade-off.

My mother bought me a copy of The Ultimate Happiness Prescription by Deepak Chopra several years ago. I put it on the bookshelf… and there it sat. During my July hiatus from, well a lot of things, the book jumped off the shelf at me. Sometimes… I think these shelves are spring-loaded. It was time to crack the spine and see what Deepak prescribes for Summer Denise. 

This slim-yet-deep read did not disappoint. Here are a few of my many take-aways:

“Animals do have memory. If you kick a dog it will remember the experience and may snarl at you if it encounters you ten years later. But unlike a human being, a kicked dog won’t plan for ten years how to get even” (20).

Of course this passage spoke to the animal rescuer in me… but even more so to the part of me that is learning to let go, release, and surrender. We’ve all had those moments, going about our day and then out of nowhere that mean comment that a random classmate said to us in the 6th grade flashes through our minds… like, where was that stored in the files? Why am I holding onto that? Granted, I’m not plotting revenge, but that hurt is stored in my body. Good thing I have tons of practices at my fingertips to help release those kinds of memories!

“Awareness heals, because awareness is truly whole, and healing is fundamentally a return to wholeness” (38).

No need to comment on that sentence. Just re-read it several times and feel that tingle in your heart-space.

“Once you know who you really are, being is enough” (53).

But… how do we know who we are? Are we who we see in the mirror? Are we who other people tell us to be? Have we spent years or even decades silencing the voice inside of us, our instincts, our true selves? Exhale, dear readers. I wasn’t kidding when I called this a slim-yet-deep read.

“Most people are trapped trying to impose their viewpoint on the world. They carry around beliefs about what is right and wrong, and they hold on to these beliefs for years. “I am right” brings comfort, but not true happiness… no one has ever been made happy by proving that they are right. The only result is conflict and confrontation, because the need to be right always makes someone else wrong” (75).

Every time I catch myself writing an impassioned reply to a social media post that I initially found offensive, annoying, or “wrong,” I bring myself back to this concept. Then, 97% of the time, I deleted what I was about to reply and move on with my day. Like Marianne and Gabby teach: would you rather be right or be happy? I pick happy… and when I pick happy, I am happy.

 

Dear readers, it was good for me to take a few weeks break, but I did miss you and it feels good, feels right to be back with you. Cheers to another month of Summer Denise and lots of great books! 

 

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Energy Young Living

My Summer Essentials

Summer Denise is officially here. Distance learning has wrapped (at least until September…) and my mantra is “I am on vacation.” I repeat that to myself as I start each day, reminding me to slow down and bring vacation vibes to all that I do for myself, for my family, for Rescue, and for my wellness business. I can still make it all happen and be on vacation… island vibes.

Armed with my mantra, I am committed to feeling good every day. I am spending less time on the phone and more time outside—less distraction, more appreciation. Allow me to share with you my five summer must-haves, the essential items that Summer Denise uses every glorious day.

  1. Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Do your research, dear readers, to find out what studies show Oxybenzone and Avobenzone, the active ingredients in conventional sunscreens, do to your body. When I say “do your research,” I don’t mean Google and believe the first blog that comes up—even if that blog is mine. Take some time. Gather some reliable research sources. Then, do some research on mineral sunscreens.

I opt for Young Living’s Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, because I know YL can backup their claims of being clean, reef-safe, and vegan-friendly.

  1. Lavaderm Cooling Mist

It’s hot out there. It’s humid. I mist Lavaderm all over myself when I’m reading in my deck chair and after a shower. A beautiful aroma… and it cools me down!

  1. Lavaderm After Sun Spray

This stuff works. Thankfully, I haven’t had a sunburn in years… but I’ve used this on bug bites, minor cuts and scrapes from my loving fur-children (Peanut does not like to be picked up), and minor skin irritations. Lavaderm After Sun works incredibly quickly, taking away itching and helping to restore my skin to a healthy-looking, smooth state! I use this all-year-round.

  1. Insect Repellent

Bugs love me. I’ve tried everything, even those sprays that are intended for camping trips in the deep woods… and I would still get eaten alive! A single mosquito bite would make my face swell up. I ran out of many summer BBQs with my head down, jetting to the car before anyone could see what one little bug could do to me. For real. Ask the Bunny-daddy. A few summers ago, Young Living came out with the plant-based Insect Repellent and that was the first summer I could truly enjoy outside! I am still in awe, and am incredibly grateful, that I can hang out outside without being swollen, itchy, and in pain. I have legit love for this product. It has given me freedom.

  1. Vitality Drops

Replenishing your electrolytes is essential for hydration and for feeling great! A new addition to my essentials, Vitality Drops + Electrolytes are delicious. I like “plain” water, but sometimes I can drink water nonstop and still feel thirsty. One squirt of Vitality Drops in a glass of water… and I feel the difference in my hydration. Feel great… accomplish great things, including great relaxation!

 

Yes, my summer essentials all come from one place. I love convenience. I love products whose labels aren’t flashy claims without substance. I love getting rewarded when I shop. And I love sharing the things that make my life high-performance and abundantly happy!

Much love from Summer Denise.

 

Hop over to this link to take charge of your wellness with easy, effective, and affordable solutions for your every need: Young Living Essential Oils & Wellness Products

I’m an email away if you have any questions: believeinbunnies@gmail.com

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Believe Teacher Life

Class of 2020

As we bid adieu to the Class of 2020 in unique ways, I’m reminded of the pressure to graduate in a numerically outstanding year. You see, dear readers, I am a member of the high school graduating Class of 2000. It almost felt like a burden, in a way, to make it count that much more because of the number itself (once we survived Y2K, of course).

Class of 2020, you outdid us for sure.

And hey, I get that it’s frustrating that you aren’t celebrating in all the ways you thought you would… but I know you and I know you never wanted to be just like everyone else. The Class of 2020, at least in the school where I teach, holds some of the most outstanding personalities, young people who are unafraid to speak their truth, to stand up and stand out. Accordingly, your send-offs are as unique as you are.

 

But back to me, before you straighten your cap and flip your tassels…

Milestone years… like 2000 was, like 2020 is… I sit back and marvel. From my experience:

2000, I graduated high school and went off to college.

2005, I started teaching.

2010, I moved into my first apartment (we don’t count college living on this timeline) and started seeing the man you now know as the Bunny-Daddy.

2015, I launched the first phase of my wellness business.

2020, I’ve done so much… and it’s only halfway over!

 

Those increments of 5, those half-decades, seem to mile-mark my life… but none of those accomplishments would have happened if I sat in a puddle and cried that my prom wasn’t what I wanted it to be.

2020 doesn’t look how anyone thought it would. I get it. Frustration is unmet expectations and, for graduates and for everyone, there are lots of unmet expectations in the world right now. This is the perfect time to remember that you don’t have to live your life or to commemorate your journey the way that everyone else does! If you’re graduating this year or you graduated 50 years ago, I call on you today to blaze your own trail. Just be kind to everyone, including yourself, along the way.

Much love.

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Believe Purpose Teacher Life

Speak.

I wasn’t going to write today. I haven’t been in the spirit of it. I haven’t felt like I have much to say. And, for the first time maybe ever in my life, I’m not forcing myself to do, to produce, to go-go-go. I’m allowing myself to just be.

That said, this is not the time to be silent.

Name a riot in our history that happened for no reason. I didn’t say to name one that happened for a reason you don’t agree with. I didn’t ask for your opinion on riots. I didn’t ask for facts on the consequences of riots. I’m just asking: has there ever been a riot for no reason at all?

I can’t think of one.

I also can’t think of one that didn’t explode from perceived injustice.

I don’t use the term “perceived” here to indicate that those injustices were not real; I just acknowledge that not everyone in the world saw or sees the injustice. But those who were compelled to speak up, to protest, or to riot certainly perceived the injustice.

And they fought back.

This is not the time to be silent.

And I’m no keyboard warrior. My work does not end here.

A former student wrote to me on Thursday. She wants to know what she can do in these intense times.

I simply reminded her to make sure that she treats herself and every single being she encounters in person and online with kindness, respect, and compassion. Her behavior, her choices are all she can control.

And if everyone made the commitment to treat themselves and others with dignity, what a different world we would live and breathe in.

Small right actions add up to lasting change.

This is not the time to be silent. Be safe. Much love.

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