Believe In Bunnies

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Believe Energy Healing meditation

She’s In There

For years, I’ve heard great things about psychic medium Paul Saladino. Yesterday, I had the honor of attending his Inner Child workshop. So. Darn. Good.

Paul started the workshop asking us to rate our childhood happiness and to assign it a color. He talked us through the different numbers and colors, “translating” numerology to inner child work and connecting the colors as symbols (the English teacher in me swoons).

I was able to pick a number right away… but oddly, the color was eluding me.

Paul talked to us about emotional ages and how blocked energies create illness. He encouraged us to be playful and nurture out inner child. How often do we get caught up in the obligations and routines, forgetting to play, even when we have little people asking us to play with them? Loosen up. Step out of the realm of acceptance.

Paul talked us through visualizing and connecting to our inner child. He shared about fears that we carry into adulthood and their origins in our childhood. He reminded us that what you had as a child will follow you your whole life until you do the work to release it. And that’s what we were there to do, or at least start doing.  Time to recognize and embrace the inner child.

Paul guided us through a meditation. When it was over, I grabbed my notebook and wrote, “I no longer seek acceptance from people who do not reciprocate love. I share love and friendship with those who align with my light. I surround myself with love.” I’m breaking the pattern. Growing up with so much unconditional love… I labeled my childhood at home a 10 in the beginning of the workshop (Paul said 10s are pretty much impossible, and I get that). Growing up in a 10 family made me expect 10s everywhere… and I sure didn’t get that outside of the happy little family unit. I’m working now to heal her disappointment.

I rely on being in control in most situations. When I’m in control, I set the number. The last thing I wrote in my notebook yesterday is a paraphrase of something Paul said toward the end of our 2 hours together: Control is often a deterrent to vulnerability.

Helen Keller wrote, “A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.” Taking part in workshops like I did yesterday helps me do just that. I am grateful for people like Paul who share their gifts and wisdom and for Bella who encouraged me to join her there.

Little Denise… you’re in there. And I’m working to nurture you as much as you deserve… and you deserve it all. Much love.

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Believe Coaching Energy Healing Purpose Rescue Teacher Life

Mr. Denise

Get ready for one of the most ridiculous anecdotes I’ve ever shared with you.

You know how there’s always one kid who accidentally calls the teacher “mom” and then gets teased about it for at least the rest of the school year? In 14 years of teaching, I’ve never been called mom. But about 6 or 7 times, I’ve accidentally been called “dad” (and once this year “King” but that was just cute). The second day of school this year, a senior, whom I taught when he was a freshman and a sophomore, passed me in the hallway and said, “Hi dad.” He then stopped, walked back a few steps and said, “I just called you dad.” To that I replied, “Yes, it happens” and we both went about our days.

From that encounter, I started thinking about these verbal slips as more than just a misspoken word.

I am a cisgender female. I wear high heels every day (except on Pajama Day when I don my work slippers). I wear makeup. I have long, layered hair. I don’t have the most soprano of voices but I’ve never been mistaken for a man on the phone. So… what gives?

It’s energy.

In a class, one of my mentors Kerissa Kuis, founder of the University of Wellness, taught us a bit about feminine and masculine energies. As the lesson unfolded, I was immediately reminded of the anecdote I opened with. As much as I look, sound and identify feminine, my masculine energies are overpowering. I lead with my masculine, the assertive, the dominant, because that’s what’s keeps me safe and successful. It’s not a conscious choice, but bringing in the feminine and balancing the two needs to be.

It’s yin and yang, but the classic black and white symbol is balanced… and I’m not yet.

There are benefits to my energies as they are currently. I can handle the toughest animal rescue situations with discernment and detach from the emotional aspect. I can put these personal stories out to the world without (too much) trepidation of judgment. My current energetic state is goal-oriented and gets stuff done.

In doing a little research before writing today, I found a great article, appropriately titled “Balancing Your Feminine and Masculine Energies” by Deganit Nuur. If you know me, you’ll read the Greater Yang section, nodding, thinking, “This is so Denise.” I love reading that a way to balance for my energy type is to delegate. I’ve been doing more delegating in my Rescue and business endeavors and I feel great… now that I’ve surrounded myself with incredibly passionate and capable people.

While I have gel French nails and Hello Kitty merch, I might get called dad tomorrow. And I’m not mad at that. My dad is awesome.

In effort to bring some balance in, I’m reading Rise Sister Rise by Rebecca Campbell. Drop me a comment or an email about what you do to bring balance… Much love.

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Believe Coaching Teacher Life

Power & Respect

I’ve nicknamed the school at which I teach “Happy High School,” not to be derisive—it’s truly a happy little place. I’ve been there 11 years. On average there is one fight a year, sometimes in the cafeteria, sometimes in the hallway. Just a one-on-one exchange, not some sort of organized rumble. That one fight usually isn’t so bad and then peace resumes for the rest of the year at Happy High School.

Last year’s fight was a rough one in the standards of our typical altercations. It took place in the cafeteria. The antagonist, a freshman in one of my classes at the time, was suspended for several weeks. Quiet, grew up in a different place, likely not vibing with the ways of Happy High School. We didn’t connect much because the course in which he was enrolled with me was only a quarter long, just 10 weeks, and he was home-bound for a chunk of our time together.

This school year, our same antagonist got into another particularly brutal fight in the hallway. I’m going to call him M from here on because calling him an antagonist, although he technically threw the first punch (and several dozen more), feels like a label he doesn’t deserve. The altercation took place in the English wing (my English classroom is one of the few that is not located in that wing). An English teacher broke up the fight. She’s braver than I am when it comes to things like this.

Both M and his opponent, sophomores now, were suspended from school for 6 weeks. When students are suspended for more than a handful of days, they receive homebound instruction—either their main subject teacher or a tutor from an agency our district hires meets them at the public library for 2 hours per subject each week. M’s English teacher couldn’t take the job, as she works a second job in the evenings. None of the agency tutors were able to work with M either. The boss asked if I would be able to take on the hours. Although the thought of adding another two hours of work into my slammed schedule caused me to hesitate, I said yes.

Our sessions at the local public library were quiet. M did his work with skill and focus. Of course, the life coach in me comes out sometimes… so during our second session, I asked M who his best friend is. His response: “I don’t have friends here.” He said it very matter-of-fact, like he didn’t want friends in this corny little town. I replied that he “could have fooled me,” as he’s often flocked with other boys as they travel from class to class. But I understood him—he doesn’t feel like he belongs. I dropped the conversation right there, got back to the work his teacher assigned.

If only M knew that he had a lot more in common with his colleagues at Happy High School, that so many feel like they don’t belong for various reasons… some just teenage worry and some with more depth.

During our last session, while M was completing some work assigned by his teacher, I scribbled down something I wanted to tell him. At the close of our session, I collected the work to submit to his teacher and took a deep breath. Then I said some version of what I had written down:

When you remember that the only respect you need is your own, then you’ll have all the power you need.

I ripped that scribbled section off of the manila folder, because I knew I’d share this with you. M doesn’t have to fight anymore to prove he deserves respect. And you, my dear ones, don’t need to seek approval or validation from anyone or anything outside of yourself. Respect yourself, empower yourself and there you will find your truth, your happiness.

And if you need help getting started, I’m here for you. Much love.

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Believe Bunnies Purpose Rescue

Same Old Story

For the longest time, I wouldn’t tell people I was a teacher. There were just some things about the job (or at least how I was doing the job) that didn’t align with whom I feel I am. Now that I’ve committed to daily personal development, I proudly say I’m a teacher. The job didn’t change; I did.

In most settings when I meet new people, I don’t mention that I am an animal rescuer. On the completely opposite side of why I used to run away from the label of teacher, I hide rescue from “strangers” because the conversation all-too-often goes badly… like it did yesterday.

I was at an event where I met dozens of wellness-minded women and we had tons of fun trying natural skincare and makeup from Young Living. The ladies at our table started to connect and share contact information. In searching for me on social media, one of my tablemates came across the title of my blog. She looked up slowly and said, “Bunnies?” to which I said, “Yes, they are my life’s work. I help run a rabbit rescue.” Her response, “Do you want a rabbit?” Cue the lump in my throat and rage in my heart. Here we go, again.

Why… how… why does it seem like everyone I meet either has a rabbit they don’t want or has some horrifying story about a rabbit that they, their cousin or their neighbor had when they were younger? And why do people think I want to hear those stories?

This woman was very well-meaning and I knew the outline of her story before she even told it, the same story I read in emails 15 times per week (or more). Her daughter came home with a rabbit one day without discussing it with the family. Now, no one takes care of the rabbit. I assumed she was talking about a child, but no, her daughter is an adult with a child of her own. The grandchild is the one who wanted the rabbit in the first place. The daughter is the one who purchased a living being who requires special care and lives 10-12 years without doing any research or thinking about long-term plans. They have 3 dogs at home. Daughter and grandchild are moving and don’t plan to take the rabbit. I quietly listened as I tried not to fling an all-natural face scrub across the table.

When she was done, I made a comment about the 10-12-year commitment her daughter made when getting the rabbit. The woman next to me whispered in my ear that she used to do dog rescue and sympathized. I referred her to rescue groups local to her, gave her some care tips and changed the subject as quickly as I could.

So I struggle with keeping my Rescue life quiet to strangers. I don’t want to hear this same old story from people looking to dump a rabbit. I don’t want to hear about the hutch bunny your neighbor neglected during your favorite childhood summer. I want the neglect to cease. The only way we are going to stop the abandonment and suffering is education but it seems like most (NOT all) of the people who want to rehome their rabbits are just looking to flake on a responsibility they chose. Where’s our sense of integrity? Our follow-through? Our commitment? Maybe I expect too much, in some people’s eyes. But on behalf of our fluffy, big-eared friends, my expectations will never be lowered.

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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.

 

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Bunnies Purpose Rescue Uncategorized

Moving Parts

What didn’t happen yesterday in our little Rescue world?  I’ll just timeline it for you:

7:21 am: The first email inquiry of the day from a parent wanting a rabbit as Christmas gift for a young child arrived in our inbox.

NOT Holiday Gifts

Photo Credit: D.C.

8:15 am: Assembled a team of volunteers to standby for the potential influx of emails like the aforementioned, in effort to educate these well-meaning families that living things are not toys.

9:00 am: Volunteers cleaned, fed and snuggled buns at our main foster home.

10:00 am: Ontario, adopted out last year, was transported back by volunteers to our main foster home, as her family could no longer care for her.  Welcome back, sweet girl.

Ontario

Photo Credit: LIRRG

11:00 am: Secured a foster home for the “Frat Party Rabbit.”  A father contacted us during the week that his daughter saved a rabbit from a college fraternity party but they could not keep the rabbit long term.  Volunteers then sprung into action, once foster home was secured, to transport rabbit from rescuer’s home to foster home.

Throughout the Day: Emails are thankfully and surprisingly slow… or it just felt that way because I had a lot of great help!  Connected 4 potential adopters to volunteers for screening and helped a few other emailers with questions.

3:33pm: Lil’ B, a boy from our recent big rescue in Baldwin, is adopted as husbun to LIRRG alum Brooke.  That makes 51 adoptions in 2017, just one shy of our goal.

4:00 pm: “Frat Party Rabbit” picked up by loving volunteer and father of rescuer gave very generous donation.  Bun is transported to foster home and is now a member of our sorority; she’s a young lop-eared lady.

Frat Party Bun

Photo Credit: N.S.

6:23 pm: Two strays that a former adopter has seen in her neighborhood (and offered to foster if we help catch) are spotted.  Team springs into action and heads way out east.  One rabbit is brought to safety… turns out this case is far more complicated than two abandoned rabbits and the authorities are called in.

6:33 pm: Compiled the volunteer coverage schedule for the upcoming week.  Grateful to the solid team of helpers!

8:01 pm: LIRRG alum (and my tiniest niece) Laila Bunny is not eating and her temperature is low.

8:55 pm: I leave the house (in my pajamas) to medicate Laila Bunny.  She seems to be getting better (but she didn’t get better overnight and has been hospitalized this morning).

9:43 pm: Volunteer who sustained scratches at the evening catch texts me to ask if Sacred Frankincense will work on her skin like “regular” Frankincense will.  Yes… and I love the crossover between my Rescue and wellness worlds, lots of people living lives of wellness and purpose.

 

I think I got everything… and that’s just the “stuff” that I helped with; we have quite the kick-ass team out there, saving as many as we can!

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Believe Bunnies Rescue Uncategorized

Dear Mom…

My mother never let me have pets other than Betta fish.  My Betta Bonus lived 5 or 6 years and traveled back and forth from Connecticut to home on every college break.  I was never much of an animal person anyway.  After college, but still living home, I asked if I could get a rabbit.  For no known reason, I decided I wanted one.  Mom said no.  She said, when you have your own house, you can have whatever you want.

I never, and I mean never, have wanted human children.  When certain people hear that, they flick back with trite retorts like, “You will someday” and “You’ll change your mind when you’re with the right person.”  Mmm hmmmm.  Socrates said, “Know thyself” and I always have when it comes to this topic.  And I know human children are not for me.  When I met my “right person,” it was maybe our second or third date when the topic of pet rabbits came up.  We both wanted one yet never had one.  So, in my own way I guess, I did become a mother when I met the right person.

To me, being a mom or serving in any loving role is about spiritual connection.  The labels of mother, father, grandchild, uncle, what-have-you are all human constructs.  On the level of the soul, in our truth, the labels don’t exist.  Love is love.  Care is care.  Compassion is compassion.  Connection is connection.

Judge all you want, but my love for my boys Peanut and Tater Tot and the love I see my fellow bunny moms, dads and volunteers give to these four-legged angels is the truth.  If you need to label it, the connection is as maternal or paternal as a human-human relationship.  Just like I don’t have the desire for human children, not everyone with a pet wants or will reach or can reach the connection.  Those are the people who indiscriminately or circumstantially give up their pets.  But that’s a topic for another day.

So Mom, thank you for not letting me have a rabbit when I wasn’t ready.  You are a phenomenal mother (obviously, look at what you made!) and you knew yourself and knew me enough to know that pet-parenting was not appropriate at that time.  When the time was right and I became a bunny-mom, you embraced your grandbunnies more than I even expected, since you aren’t necessarily an animal person.  But I know you admire and respect the love I have for my boys and the compassion I channel for all of Long Island’s domestic rabbits through rescue work.

Happy Mother’s Day, whether your children hop, bark, talk… whether they live with you, live with another family, live in a rescue or shelter… they are your children, if you feel the love and connection in your soul.

Special shout out to the foster moms out there—you are love.

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