Believe In Bunnies

Browsing Category:

Uncategorized

Believe Bunnies Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

Equivalent Advantage

Members of our Rescue team were on two missions today: one squad was out on a catch and another squad was conducting adoptions.

The catch was unsuccessful and the adoption didn’t happen. The abandoned rabbit was super scared and elusive. The environment in which he’s been abandoned is complicated. The adopter came to meet adoptable rabbits but decided to wait before making a decision. She left with an empty carrier. It would be easy to feel defeated, to feel like we lost today. We didn’t lose. We are experiencing temporary defeat.

The only way we lose is if we stop.

In Outwitting the Devil, Napoleon Hill asks and the “Devil” answers:

Q: Is failure ever a benefit to man?

A: Yes. Indeed, learning from adversity is the third of the seven principles. But few people know that every adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage. Still fewer people know the difference between temporary defeat and failure… If they knew the difference between temporary defeat and failure, they would not quit when they meet with opposition from life. If they knew that every form of defeat and all failures, bring with them the seed of unborn opportunity, they would keep on fighting and win. Success usually is but one short step beyond the point where one quits fighting.

My fellow volunteers are the most persistent people you’ll ever meet because they work with purpose. They experience emotional and physical hardships in our work. They push through heartbreak, through thorny bushes, through dismissive comments, through bitter winds.

They lean on each other, they regroup and they plant the seed of equivalent advantage acquired through each temporary defeat. Conversations tonight have not been ones of frustration. They’ve been about fresh approaches to catching this terrified little rabbit and about best practices for communicating with potential adopters.

When you need inspiration to persist against all odds, look to our team. I am honored to work with them, to organize and communicate while they are on the frontlines, impressing the stuff out of me seven days a week.

Our work is rarely easy, but always rewarding—the reward is saving and protecting animals and building character and community beyond expectations.

Local? Join us: Volunteer with LIRRG

Continue Reading
Believe Healing Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

Who am I to…

Yesterday afternoon, I sat on a blue and teal seat, facing forward (although facing backward doesn’t bother me) on the Long Island Railroad. I was Manhattan-bound to see one of my spiritual advisors, psychic medium Calise Simone. On my journey, I read from The Gifts of Imperfection by Dr. Brene’ Brown. This is the book we’ll be discussing at book club at the end of this month. If you’re local, you should join us.

Somewhere between the Merrick and Freeport stops, I read this passage. Then I re-read it, highlighted it and wished my Kindle had a print feature. Taking a picture of the screen would have to suffice. Dr. Brown writes:

Squandering our gifts brings distress to our lives. As it turns out it’s not merely benign or “too bad” if we don’t use the gifts that we’ve been given; we pay for it with our emotional and physical well-being. When we don’t use our talents to cultivate meaningful work, we struggle. We feel disconnected and weighed down by feeling of emptiness, frustration, resentment, shame, disappointment, fear, and even grief.

There it is, in a block quotation—me, before Rescue rescued me. The years of feeling directionless, of feeling purposeless in a career that felt like I was squeezing my foot into a shoe two sizes too small. The annoyance and resentment that manifested as anger, as buckets of tears because I felt stifled, like those walls were somehow crushing my insides.  The moments of disappointment in myself for playing small, for holding back to fit in with the rest of them. The days on end where I slept, masking depression.

What I was doing every day, the same stuff I was told I would be doing for 30 or so years, just didn’t feel like enough for me. I felt empty because the system does not allow me to use or grow my gifts. I felt frustrated and resentful because I was told, down to the literal shoes I was wearing, how I should best try to conform with the system and the rest of them. I was disappointed in myself for squashing the little girl with big dreams, afraid that this was it for me forever and grieving the contributions I wasn’t going to make to the world.

Tears are coming now, but they aren’t sad tears. I am no longer squandering my gifts. I’m still in the same career but I rock it differently. Don’t worry—I teach to the state standards, but I’m unafraid now to season the work heavily with texts and activities that will foster confidence and empowerment in my students. I take the time, when appropriate, to have purposeful conversations, to address their world and their experience, rather than just stay on the curriculum schedule for that prescriptive schedule’s sake. I teach people.

At school, I lead young people to find their joy. In Rescue, I work alongside incredible volunteers to protect and care for those who need it. In my wellness business, I coach people to live their healthiest, happiest, safest lives. I am no longer squandering my gifts!

I don’t just have to be a teacher and like it. I can flourish, in multiple areas. I spent so many years holding that back, playing small. Thank you, Dr. Brene’ Brown and your colleagues whom I study, for putting on paper what I’ve been feeling since I was a little Denise, walking around the house with a notebook, a pen and big dreams. Thank you for affirming in black and white that my struggles were very real and that I absolutely must cultivate my gifts. Much love.

Continue Reading
Believe Bunnies Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

Year End 2018

Our little Rescue group closed 2017 with 54 adoptions. If that wasn’t a record for us, it was close for sure. The record-keeper, the scribe, the organizer… I excel in my self-appointed roles. I set the 2018 adoption goal to 55, 2017’s accomplishments plus one.

We hit 55 in mid-June.

Long exhale… and now what? On July 2nd, I set our new 2018 goal to 79. I picked that because 4 adoptions per month is a sustainable, manageable expectation.

I sit here, less than 2 days left in 2018. We are at 88 adoptions. 88. Eighty-Eight. Wild…

Long Island Rabbit Rescue Class of 2018.jpg

We accomplished such an incredible feat because of one word: Trust.

Trust from our leadership to empower those volunteers who have stepped up into leadership roles themselves. Trust in the team. Trust from me (finally!) to delegate and watch others shine. Trust from the abandoned, abused and neglected rabbits who allow us the honor of rescuing and caring for them.

Radical honesty: I, like many of you, have been let down by people in my past who have said they were going to do things that they just didn’t do. Maybe they intended to but a limitation or limiting belief got in the way. Maybe they were giving a lot of talk to placate me. Whatever the reason, past disappointments created a paradigm for me that I have to do everything on my own, that no one can help me, that no one will show up for me or the things that mean a lot to me.

This year, I’ve started to trust more and I have no doubt that my new-found trust is rooted in the support from our Rescue team. I’ve watched dozens of people step up selflessly, doing not only what they said they would do but beyond. We are soaring because we have each other. As we soar, we save more lives and complete more families than ever before.

In Angel Numbers 101, 88 is described as “a very auspicious and favorable sign… actions, prayers, visualizations, and manifestation work have resulted in a large inflow of abundance. Open your arms and receive!” I think our Rescue group has done just that in 2018.

As we look into the future, I’m inclined to say that I don’t know how we are going to top 88… but I don’t need to know how. I just need to know why. Why we rescue is so strong that the how figures itself out on an even bigger scale than we could have imagined.

Look out for our newly-updated Rescue website in 2019! I trust that you’ll love it.

 

Continue Reading
Uncategorized

Do It Your Way

Surprise… it’s Tuesday. I slept in today (for me on a weekday). I woke up in my best friend’s apartment and, as much as I love my home and miss my Peanutty, I didn’t want to leave. There’s just something incredibly magical about spending time with someone who makes you feel nothing but good.
6 months ago, I called her and asked, “What are you doing on October 29th?” Knowing me for 18 years, she didn’t flinch at the thought of looking half a year ahead. She accepts my planning nature, much like I wouldn’t flinch if she called me and asked what I was doing in 29 minutes. She’s the free-spirit. She was the light even before I knew light existed.
I didn’t let the fact that it was a Monday night, a work night, a borderline winter night (I know it’s early in the season, but to us downstate people, you get a lot of winter up there!) hold me back. I saw the opportunity and seized it. I bought the tickets. Just like I dragged her to Mariah Carey in 2003, I was dragging Bestie to Metallica in 2018 (less of a dragging this time but she’s always down, no matter what). #MetInAlbany 🤘🏼

My message for you today: Do not someone else’s idea of what you should do when dictate your life!
We get messages all the time, based on other people’s thinking and patterns, their paradigms, of what we should and should not do. Very often, we follow those messages because that’s how society programs us. I could limit myself to those paradigms:

  • Teachers shouldn’t listen to metal.
  • You shouldn’t go out on a work night.
  • Don’t spend your money on _______.
  • You can’t like Metallica and Mariah equally (Bestie, stay ready. She’s touring again in the spring).
  • Don’t travel without your spouse.
  • Have a spouse.

But I decided, incrementally over the years and fully recently, that I do not have to seek the opinions and validations of others. Keep your paradigm if it works for you— I’m traveling 3.5 hours, seeing a metal show on a Monday night and taking a personal day from work to travel home. Don’t fret. You don’t have to follow my way. I already have a +1 (but there’s always room for more if you want to join!).
As I watched Mr. Hetfield raise his arms in the air after closing the show with “Master of Puppets,” I soaked in the moment with gratitude. Gratitude for being at a show of such magnitude. Gratitude for having my soul sister at my side. Gratitude to watch legends, together for longer than I’ve been alive, bring it with full force. Gratitude for the crowd— without fail, the kindest people are at metal shows. Don’t believe me? Come with tomorrow night. 
Do not be a passive observer. Say yes to the opportunities that excite you. Seek them out. Say yes. And smile… “Life is ours; we live it our way.”

Continue Reading
Uncategorized

Let’s Get Together 

For some glorious reason, I listened to the travel agent when she recommended the upgraded airport lounge prior to my departure home from my dear friend’s wedding in Jamaica. For $30, I get to spend the next 2.5 hours before boarding (the company determined the pickup time— not I) in a comfy chair with fewer screaming children (but there’s always one), a small buffet and, gratefully, plenty of outlets to charge my phone that loses battery faster than you lose your $20 in a slot machine.
But anyway… a funny thing happened when we arrived at the reception last night. The following is in NO way a criticism of anyone or anything— just an observation. 

There were no assigned seats. I traveled alone to this destination wedding and only casually know maybe 7 of the 60 attendees. The bride is one of my very closest friends. We met through business, became friends quickly and most days are in contact from eyes open to lights out— we just vibe like that. I latched on to one of the bride’s very good friends whom I met twice before and her cousin with whom she was traveling. Sweet women. We picked a table at the reception that wasn’t on top of the speaker and wasn’t too close to the dais— leave that for family! 

As the rest of the guests filtered in, they chose their tables around the dance floor. No one sat with us. Then came the awkward “Is anyone sitting here?” moments as, one by one, the 7 empty seats at our table were dragged through the sand to other tables. The table diagonal from us now sat 15. To our left, another crowd. I eyed the buffet with fervor until it opened.

We laughed, we danced… I stayed out way, way past my bedtime, even with a looming 5am wake up call. I had a truly great time. But the table thing got me thinking about separation and about comfort zones. Most people stick to what they know, who they know and what feels safe. Most people stay in that comfort zone, even when uncomfortable in it. Maybe today, say hello to someone fresh. Take a different spot in yoga class (just don’t take THAT lady’s spot). Angle yourself on a new perch. Join that group you’ve been considering, even though none of your current friends are involved… yet.  

Now, a large yet sparse table at a wedding is not a bad thing— but separation in life can be. Separation can lead to judgment, fear and a host of other elements I’m prepared to rage against. Someone has to. Our separation last night was momentary; we all joined on the same dance floor and I wouldn’t be surprised if some are still there dancing as I watch the sunrise from this airport lounge.  

Embrace another perspective. Dare to leave the chair there and sit in it, rather than drag it over to your comfort zone. Much love.

Continue Reading
Uncategorized

Father’s Day Pivot

60,000 thoughts per day.  60-80% of those thoughts (depending on which research you follow) are negative.  That’s part of the negativity bias.  And hey, the negativity bias does protect us.  It plays a needed role in our days, but maybe we don’t need it as often as it shows up, like it did for me this morning.

It’s Father’s Day.  My father is awesome.  I count him (and mom) in my top 5 best friends of all time.  We are a triumvirate.  But, thank you negativity bias, when I started to think about Father’s Day and father-stuff, I started beating myself up about all of the times I wasn’t nice to my dad… thinking about the countless times I was impatient, rude, defiant to the bad-ass who raised me.  Thinking about the moments that I wish I could go back and repair.  Thankfully, nothing horrendous happened, nothing so irreparable that I should be thinking about that today.  But that’s the negativity bias, the same part of our conscious mind that replays the one time we flubbed a word reading out loud in class rather than the thousands of words we read out loud with perfect pronunciation.

I’m not letting the negativity bias win.  Instead, I’m letting it work for me on this sunny, warm Father’s Day.  Rather than ruminate on past cringe-worthy moments, I’ll step into my loving light and make beautiful memories for today.  At any point, we can pivot and choose again, choose differently.  When those thoughts of a rougher nature crop back up today, as they likely will, I will lean into the lesson and the love.  My pivot will cultivate positive moments and memories.  When Dad has the Mets game on louder than I would like, I can choose to accept the volume, curb the eye rolls, let the man have the volume he wants in his own home on the day we designate to celebrate him.  That small right action will keep the negativity bias away for that moment.

And I’m just enjoying this Father’s Day, moment to happy, silly moment.  That man makes me laugh, but not as much as he makes himself laugh.  It’s endearing.  See, I sat down anxious and angry at myself for being occasionally imperfect as a daughter over the past 36 years yet I took this time to process, to share with you and now I’m smiling, choosing some of my 60,000 thoughts to be of those moments where Dad cracked himself up to happy tears.  In classic Leo fashion, his self-esteem is solid.  I’m grateful to have inherited that from him.

Pivot.  Choose again.  Smile.  Happy Father’s Day.

Continue Reading
Believe Bunnies Energy Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

The Great Slow Down

Alternate title: How We are Crushing Our Goals

As I write this, the Rescue group with which I volunteer is processing its 40th adoption in 2018.  40. 4-0.  In 2016, we completed 51 adoptions.  For 2017, we set a goal of 52 adoptions; we completed 55.  For 2018, we set a goal of 56.  Here we are, less than 4 months into the year, and we are CRUSHING our goal.  Every adoption is another life saved.  Every adoption is another family made complete.  Here’s how we are making it happen, from my perspective.

We, the collective of volunteers, supporters, adopters and foster families, believe so deeply in our mission.  Just above my desk is my vision board.  At the center of my vision board: Domestic rabbits are safe and protected.  That is the center of all of the action that I take.  Our group is rich with like-minded people who will stop at nothing to carry out this mission.  Belief and inspiration in action.

On November 30, 2017, I went to hear my mentor Gabrielle Bernstein speak at her “SuperAttractor Workshop.”  In talking about her principle of taking spiritually-aligned action, Gabby said, “You speed up by slowing down.”  That struck me—and not just the juxtaposition of words.  Do you mean to tell me that I can accomplish even more if I just slow down?  Even me, who needs to go-go-go (and maybe go some more) so I don’t feel like time is precariously wasting away?  Ok… I’ll give it a shot.  I’ll breathe.  I’ll stop working with a sense of frenzy and choose a peaceful mood.  And I’ve made it part of my practice to work on one task at a time, to use my laser-sharp focus with more grace.

In early 2018, I started reading You2 by Price Pritchett.  I wrote to you about it.  Plain and simple: it works.  It was recommended to me by my business mentors and the Universe started showing me its power immediately through the Quantum Leaps in Rescue.  I even wrote on the bottom of page 1 of my copy: “Slow & steady is not necessary!  Rescue had a leap in January 2018 to show me the possibilities.”  Now, I am in no way taking full credit for 40 (any minute now!) adoptions in 107 days.  But I sit at the hub of this incredible group and we energize each other.  We made a committed decision to save as many lives as we possibly can.  Radical honesty: some of the team wanted to set the 2018 adoption goal much bigger than 56.  Fear-based, I thought, let’s just add one more to last year’s record.  I was playing small.  The Universe has shown me that we can add more than +1 in a year.  I may be going slower, but the Universe is not.

So, here’s to slowing down.  When I slow down, I get even more done.  When I slow down, I receive clarity about what needs to get done.  When I slow down, the Universe speeds up and brings my vision to me.  We are crushing our goals with ease, belief and inspired action.  I am beyond proud to be a part of this team.  Much love.

Continue Reading
angels Believe Bunnies Energy Healing Purpose Reiki Rescue Uncategorized

Cameron

On the last Monday in March, I paid a special visit to a special little boy.  Quick backstory: Cameron was rescued with four other rabbits right before Halloween.  He was adopted shortly after the New Year and returned right before Valentine’s Day.  We don’t get many returns (thankfully).  Cameron had fallen ill and his adopters decided to return him.  Volunteers rushed to get him back into our care.  Cameron developed neurological “issues”—could be genetic, could be a result of trauma sustained when he was trying to survive post-abandonment/pre-rescue.  His adopters gave up on him.  His foster family never will.

Cameron has been making great strides.  He’s a bit wobbly at times.  He needs an enclosure specially designed for his mobility needs.  Other than that, he is a perfectly happy and hoppy boy.  I was delighted to have the opportunity to share Reiki with him.

He had a lot to “say” compared to most of my clients.  He “told” me that the “rolling” his body experienced when he first showed symptoms of illness really scared him.  When working on his throat chakra, he “showed” me that he was weeping happy, grateful tears for being safe.  He asked about Lil’ B, a bun with whom he was rescued.  He showed me the number four—well, he was rescued with four others.  He lives with four humans.  In Angel Numbers, four means “the angels are with you.  They send you the number 4 to reassure you that they’ve heard your prayers and are helping you.”  I quite like that number for Cameron and his foster family.

He’s a young soul.  He’s on his first pass through this mortal coil and he really trusts people now because of his foster family.  Being a young soul, he can let go of his abandonment (twice now, that we know of) easier than others can.  No resentment present in that furry little body!  Cameron knows he’s “different” but feels confident and secure, which he confirmed by licking his paw.  Throughout most of our session together, he stayed flopped under his bench.  When I was working on his spine, however, he came toward me then ran away quickly to show he’s strong.  He started eating immediately after to confirm that physical and emotional strength.

Cameron feel clenched in his hips and lower body.  I told his foster family to give him some gentle hip massages.  He told me that he likes to be around one person at a time, rather than a crowd.  His favorite color is blue (which his foster mom guessed correctly in our post-session conversation).  As I closed our session, Cameron stood up very strongly, like Mountain Pose in yoga, to show me that he feels very loved and safe.

It was a honor to work with Cameron and I am grateful to his foster family for welcoming me and Reiki in their loving home.  Cameron is looking for a forever home, preferably with an experienced family who knows that different is so very beautiful.

You can follow Cameron’s foster family’s blog here.

Continue Reading
Bunnies Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

Revisit

It has become tradition for me to re-post this story at this time of year.  It will remain tradition until all domestic rabbits are safe and protected.

Found, but still Lost

I am the initial point of contact when someone emails information@longislandrabbitrescue.org.  This month, the number of “finder” emails we have received is more than double the number we receive in a typical month. We define a “finder” as someone who has either spotted a stray domestic rabbit or has rescued an abandoned domestic rabbit and is reaching out to our group for resources and recourses.  I have typed the following sentences an alarming number of times this month: “We don’t have a shelter facility; all of our rabbits are fostered in private homes. If you or someone you know can provide an indoor foster home, we can…”  And it’s not even Easter yet.

We get at least a hundred emails to the aforementioned address per month—only three times in my almost three years of being at the email helm has someone reached out because their rabbit had actually gone missing. So I can safely conclude that these “found” rabbits are abandoned, dumped, neglected.

Abandonment happens one of two ways, from my perspective.  There are the scarily misinformed, who think their rabbit, who no longer serves a purpose in their family, will survive in the woods or in a park because other rabbits live in the wild.  Yeah… those are wild rabbits.  Not domestic rabbits.  Domestic rabbits will not survive and will face the harsh elements of the seasons and starvation, and predators.  A horrible fate.

Then, there are the heartless, who just don’t care, who need this “thing” out of their house.  Sometimes these people try to seek help before abandoning their rabbit, but most town shelters aren’t equipped to handle rabbits and most rescue groups are overloaded, no matter the animal on which they focus.  For these, about whom “careless” is the nicest word I can muster, the living being they once chose to care for has passed his/her expiration date and must be tossed out.  Just a note—if caught abandoning an animal, one faces $1,000 fine and other legal consequences.  If you see something, take pictures. Send them to me.  I’ll turn them in for you.  I’m not shy.

We need:

  • Stores and breeders to stop selling rabbits.
  • People to make more informed decisions before adding any living being into their families.
  • Foster homes, donations and volunteers to save the abandoned animals.
  • You to speak up, if you know someone has dumped an animal.
  • Compassion for all things living.

As a rescue group, our resources are limited but trust that we use them to their maximum potential!  Thank you for being one of our resources.  Spread the reality about rabbits as pets—10-12 year commitment, specialized veterinary care, bunny-proofing (As I hear my chief destruction worker bunny Tater Tot tearing in to what I hope is his cardboard tunnel in the next room…).  As awareness is heightened, I hope there are far fewer rabbits out there to save.  But for now, many rabbits are found but still lost, as the number abandoned far surpasses the number of foster homes and adopters.

Continue Reading
Believe Bunnies Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

Before

Before having two rabbits of my own, I did not consider myself an “animal person.”  You may have heard clippings from this yarn before.  Here’s some of my companion animal history…

When I was born, my parents had a rescue dog Bonzo, named after John Bonham.  I don’t remember her but I hear she was my big sister and protector.  She passed when I was maybe two or three years old.  I texted mom for a more precise date but she hasn’t answered me as of time of publication.

Shortly after Bonzo passed, Midnight, a female German Shepard puppy joined our family.  I remember her.  She knocked me over and, thankfully gently/playfully, bit my head.  I hesitate to say “bit” because she didn’t break skin or injure me physically but biting is technically what it was.  There started my fear of dogs that stayed with me for nearly three decades.  Midnight was rehomed for my safety with a colleague of my father.

My only cousin growing up was a cat named Sammy.  Sammy didn’t like me. Sammy belongs to my uncle who taught me the true responsibility of caring for an animal.  I credit this uncle for my perfect balance of compassion and no-nonsense.  His example is the foundation for what I do, for my life purpose and work.  Direct all complaints his way (pause for laughter).

Various fish, a turtle and a container of Sea Monkeys filled my younger years.  I can still see, like a short film playing in my head, when my uncle (not the same guy from the previous paragraph) was returning the Sea Monkeys to their spot on the table in the basement (I just had to bring them upstairs and show them off!) and accidentally dumped them over, the red lid of their container rocketing off and monkey-water cascading out.  Rest in Peace, Sea Monkeys.  And while we’re on the topic, what the heck are Sea Monkeys?  Pause for a Googling.

Ok then… Bonus was my longest-lived Beta Fish.  She went away to college with me and she accompanied me on many Connecticut to Long Island and back road trips. She was a cool chick.  When I met the Bunny-Daddy, I was sharing my apartment with a Beta Fish named Ham that my grandmother brought home for me from a bridal shower.  Ham was the centerpiece… really people?!

Shortly after moving in together, the Bunny-Daddy and I got Tater Tot and Peanut… the rest is history, chronicled here.

I’d say I’m an animal person now. Much Love.

 

Continue Reading