Big Picture Master

A few weeks ago, I was asked to give a talk on organization to a group of entrepreneurs in the wellness lifestyle industry.  In pure irony, the notes I prepared for this talk look like a scrambled ramble of ideas.  The organizer appears messy but gets it all done.  Here are some gems from my notes for you, dear readers:

The key to my success: I know exactly what I want and I let NOTHING get in my way.

I’m a Big Picture Master, a Results-Driven Red (see The Four Color Personalities for MLM by “Big Al”).

I know nothing about running a non-profit organization, but I make a non-profit run.

Take an honest look at yourself and your habits or get a coach to assist you in doing that— it is from here that you get organized.

It’s really cute when people tell you to follow your dream or your vision if you don’t know yet what that is—it’s like telling kids in school to pay attention without ever teaching them to pay attention.  Check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic for more about this.

Play to your strengths.  Not mine.

I’m never going to be a runner but I run s…

You don’t get organized from a book or from anyone else’s system, if you want to lead.  I don’t know how to get your organized until you know your vision.

Once you have your vision, your dream, your goal, then (and not a moment before) you need:

-executable steps.

-consistency and routines.

-to stop doing stuff that doesn’t work.

For me, it’s committing one hour per day to my business, regardless of how active the day job and/or Rescue was that day, it’s keeping a consistent schedule and it’s TONS of personal development.  That’s how I stay organized.  That’s how I’m the Big Picture Master.  That’s how wellness, abundance and purpose continue to flow freely to me and my family.  Much love.

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Never Too Far

Help can take myriad forms.  For labeling purposes, help in the Rescue world takes the following forms:

-Catches/Rescues: safely containing and bringing an abandoned rabbit to safety

-Adopting: committing to loving and caring for a rabbit indoors for his/her life span

-Fostering: caring for and loving an adoptable or sanctuary rabbit in your home until a forever home is found

-Networking: spreading the word about rabbit care, adoption and the bleak situation for domestic rabbits on Long Island via social media, in person or any form of communication

-Events: attending and/or helping coordinate education and fundraising events

-Transports: bringing supplies, donations or rabbits from one place to another (often “far” distances)

-Donations: in priority order of their need for our Group at the present time: time, money, supplies

-Bunny Chores: taking that aforementioned donated time and spending it cleaning, feeding and snuggling our foster and sanctuary rabbits

-Collecting Newspaper and Other Supplies: We’ve got to line our litter boxes somehow…

-Emails and Phone Calls: responding to the 100+ contacts we get per month

-Scheduling: adoptions, volunteer shifts, education sessions and events

-Positive Vibes: Energy exists and moves!  Although intangible to some, the positive vibes are amongst the most valuable forms of help you can give!

I think I covered all the major categories of help, but even if I glossed over one or some, you should get the idea of just how much it takes to make this all happen.  We are saving more lives than ever before; just because the team is great at doing so doesn’t mean the workload decreases ever or at all!  For every individual rabbit saved, we need many hours of volunteer time and hundreds or thousands of dollars (yes, per rabbit) in donations depending on length of time in foster care, medical needs, etc.

To those on the outside, it might seem “easy”—just go rescue that rabbit, pop her in a cage and a life is saved.  In truth, an efficient and effective Rescue Group takes way more than that.  We were involved in a rescue this week of two rabbits over the course of 4-5 days.  That rescue took place well over an hour east from the volunteers who were able to coordinate this particular case.  They didn’t balk at the distance or even at the cold weather on the day that Orion (black and white) was rescued.  When Luna (brown and white) was brought to safety, getting her transported west toward our most-frequented rabbit-savvy vets proved a bit more challenging and the ensuing conversation amongst volunteers and supporters inspired me to write this today.

No, I’m not bragging about how much we do.  No, I’m not flinging guilt at those who don’t offer frequent tangible help (PLEASE see the Positive Vibes lines above).  No, I’m not complaining about what this takes—it’s volunteer.  No one “makes” me do this.

When you feel inspired, scan the list above and know you’re never too far to help in some kind of way.  And every second of help, in any form, is treasured and appreciated, always.  Much love.

Feeling Poorly…

Last Sunday, literally minutes after I posted my blog, I began to peel a banana.  Bunny families know the mayhem that ensues at first snap of the peel (does the long part have a name? Is it a stem?).  Well, Tater Tot didn’t come running– Usually he zooms in when I so much as glance in the direction of a banana.  I held my breath and prayed he was just in such a deep sleep in his Sunday afternoon spot that he didn’t smell the nanner.  I approached.  I wafted the fruit.  I broke off a little piece, while Peanut was bopping up and down in his crate, anxiously awaiting his sweet treat.  I stuck the piece under Tater’s nose.  No go.  Uh oh.

I dropped everything that my typical “lockdown but rarely sit down Sunday” entails.  If he’s not taking a treat, something is definitely and seriously wrong, or about to be.  Our emergency kit is at the ready (and thankfully not used often).  I began to lay out the supplies, sent a text to M., my rescue director and mentor, and contacted Dr. M., our beautiful and beautifully dedicated veterinarian.  I cannot stress enough the value of having a truly rabbit-savvy vet, especially one open 7 days/week and who takes emergencies 24 hours/day.  I snapped into Nurse Mommy mode the best I could.  Tater’s temperature was 100.7—not horrible but low enough to be a sign of something wrong.  He was refusing every treat or green we tried to tempt him with.  I gave him a dose of gas drops and a dose of pain reliever, as directed by M. and Dr. M.

Bunny daddy and I brought the Tot into our room, a room he never goes in, to tempt his bunny instincts to explore.  As we suspected some GI issues brewing, we wanted to keep him moving as much as possible.  He wanted none of that!  He just wanted to lie down.  We alternated between poking him to move and giving him tummy rubs.  Our darling little boy.  45 minutes later, his temperature was 101.2 but still no desire for food, treats or activity.  There was one medicine that we didn’t have in our emergency kit (but we do now!) so our options were to drive the 40ish minutes to the vets’ office to pick up the meds, then 40ish minutes back home and hope that they were the right ones for whatever was brewing… or just pop the little one into his travel carrier and take him to see Dr. M.  We went with option two… car rides can often help loosen up anything in the little tummy that could be causing issues.

As suspected, Dr. M. felt a tummy full of gas!  She gave Tater Tot two more meds and sent us home with a supply of meds and instructions.  After a few days of meds 3 times/day and thankfully only one day of force feeding, the little potato is all better.  And he’s still with us today, bunstructing everything in sight because:

-we are attentive rabbit owners.  We know his habits and knew quickly that something wasn’t right.

-we took immediate action.

-we have an emergency kit on hand at all times.

-we know how to use the items in our emergency kit. If you own a rabbit and don’t know how to take temperature, get lessons!

-we contacted our support team (experienced rescue director and rabbit-savvy vet) right away.

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Tater Tot, from his 5th birthday photo shoot.

And yes, sometimes, even these measures are not enough and our little beloveds have to cross the Rainbow Bridge.  It’s all a part of our experience in this dimension.  But being as prepared, in both knowledge and execution, as possible helped keep our Tater Tot with us.  My darling boy.  And all this on the eve of his 5th birthday.  I’d write more now, but he’s surely destroying something in the living room and I must attend to that! Much love.

Together

People show you who they are.  Time after time.  If you pay attention, their truth is there.  If you choose to ignore it, that’s on you.

Yesterday, we took part in an education event at a local public library.  Two summers ago, our team, a fledging version of the current incarnation, rescued three rabbits in the dirt and grass behind this library so it’s especially important to me to take part in this event, to give back to the place who helped us save Bambi, Mickey and Storm.  We don’t bring a spokesbunny to events like these where many other groups are present, as there are often dogs and many children.  We did bring lots of smiles and positive energy.  And it paid off.

I poured on my Abundance oil before leaving the house and tossed the bottle into my bag.  As we were setting up, one of our parrot rescue colleagues remarked on how lovely I smelled—the oil was already bringing an abundance of happiness to those around us!  I anointed our donation box with the oil as well and our total at the end of the event was triple what we raised last year!  Beside monetary donations, yesterday yielded an abundance of something even more valuable for our mission and purpose.  That invaluable abundance came in the form of people.

I treasure my Rescue family, as I’ve written about here many times before.  Yesterday was a reaffirmation of that and perhaps an amplification of that.  A young woman came to the event specifically to meet us, to tell us about her dear rabbit who recently crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and to inquire about adopting a rabbit through our group, as advised by her veterinarian (the very same veterinarian whom we recommend to any and all small animal families!).  She answered every screening question with earnest, with knowledge and with a refreshing openness to learning even more about rabbit care (not every experienced owner is open to new or different ideas!).  By the grace of the Universe (and some technological assistance) we did a home visit and she will come to adopt this afternoon.  She said her home feels empty without four paws and a cotton tail.  In a few hours, it won’t feel empty any longer.

As magical as meeting and screening our newest adopter was, it was even more magical to sit amongst the dedicated team members who came out to support and to educate.  We sat, we laughed, and we ate a lot of candy.  We networked with other rescue groups and traded stories of our own furry family members.  There’s just something so affirming about spending time with like-minded, like-purposed people, people who are kind to each other, people who give without expecting anything in return.  Every single angel with whom I sat or stood yesterday reminds me that together, we are unstoppable.  Together, we hop the hop of compassion for ourselves and for others, all species and breeds.  Together, we show up, we can be counted on and we can count on each other.  That’s the kind of abundance I treasure.

Hoppy Family

I never took a business class in high school or college.  Ironically, I taught college-level business classes at a small college a few years ago.  With teaching, when you have “it,” you have “it.”  Just give me a few moments with the book and I can get the content out.  But anyway… last January, I read Jack Welch’s book Winning.  No, it’s not a tome dedicated to Charlie Sheen; it’s a business-oriented success story.  While it was somewhat out of my realm, I’m often reminded of this one line that I copied into my journal: “Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team…”  I spent the afternoon with our team yesterday.  I’m the one who feels upgraded today.

Every few months (and hopefully every month moving forward), we have a Hoppy Hour, a purely social event where we bunny-minded people get together and hang, without hay and litter boxes (although I did get two bags of pellets yesterday. Thank you, R).  With about 20 people in the core group of volunteers and over 200 people in our Friends of LIRRG group (supporters, adopters, volunteers, foster families), it’s terribly difficult to find a date, time and location that works for everyone but we try to keep it varied and open.  And let’s be honest, not everyone wants to be Hoppy with us anyway…

Bunny-daddy and I joined the squad at Amity Ale’s yesterday, a spot I picked self-servingly—amazing portabella burger!  The usual LIRRG fam showed up and a few faces who don’t always make it to the Hoppy festivities.  It was just bunderful (as we say in the biz) to be amongst those with similar life purpose, those who dedicate hours every week, some, every day, to saving and caring for Long Island’s abandoned, neglected and abused domestic rabbits.  We didn’t even talk much rescue business, just enjoyed the company of other’s who probably had some fur on their clothes and maybe some hay fragments in the bottom of their purses (Or is that just me? And how does it get in there?).

A few years ago, a group of friends drifted from my life, somewhat inexplicably.  I was sad, sometimes mad and a bit baffled—weren’t these supposed to be my friends for life?  But now I understand: the Universe was making room in my life for my boys, for Rescue and for my LIRRG family, the team that I spend my “free” hours relentlessly upgrading but whom, just by existing, upgrade me and my spirit so very greatly.  First Welch was Winning, then Sheen was “Winning” (pardon my anachronism in the first paragraph) and now, with my team surrounding me, I am forever winning.  See you at the next Hoppy gathering.  Much love.

 

Progress

I’m living parallel story lines in my personal life and my Rescue life.  Both of these story lines are unfolding at their own pace, despite how much I might try to control them.  Patience was never my strong suit.  Some people like to brag about how few effs they give or how unfiltered they are; I was always quick to tout my quick fuse.  That trait was of little value, other than some entertainment of course, so I’ve been working my self-improvement make-shift program to channel those energies into something more positive.  I spent much of the summer patting myself on the back for just how patient I was with this personal life story line.  I know that I show up and I do my part immediately as it is warranted.  Expecting the same from others (individuals, businesses, and municipalities) has resulted in a range from disappointment to frustration, with the occasional pleasant surprise sprinkled in the mix.  Just send good vibes and you’ll be alerted when all of my patience has paid off… sorry for the vagueness.  Just know that, even as I type this, things are progressing.

In Rescue life, some of the team has reached out to their legislators, proposing that Long Island follow suit with NYC, Chicago, Boston, LA, etc. and ban the sale of domestic rabbits.  Yes, there are volunteers who disagree with this idea.  And they are allowed to feel that way.  But for me, I am a data collector.  I reflect on that data.  I do some, albeit informal, analysis of that data.  In 2016 alone, we’ve been contacted via email about over 400 unwanted, abandoned, neglected and abused rabbits in our two counties.  Whenever possible, I ask the source of these unwanted buns.  The answer is always a pet store or a breeder.  Always.  Add to this 400, the rabbits about whom we are contacted on social media, via phone, contacts to individual volunteers and, of course, the ones we plain just don’t hear about… the number will surely reach 1,000 by the close of 2016, if it hasn’t already.  You don’t have to be alarmed by this… but I am.  And I’m doing something about it.

Amazingly, we’ve already made progress!  I received a phone call from the aide of a local legislator last week.  Because of our efforts, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters were added to a proposed bill in Suffolk County that will regulate the sale of cats, dogs and the aforementioned animals.  This isn’t a ban, but it is progress.  This progress will protect those who are sold in pet stores.  This progress will put an end to the harsh, neglectful situations that some animals face while waiting to be purchased.  This progress holds those who do sell animals accountable for the treatment of what they deem as product, what I deem as living, loving beings.  To me, animals are not a commodity.  I fully acknowledge that they are to some people and I’m not looking to argue that.  I’m just here to dance in the metaphorical confetti raining down on me and the squad who are advocating for the safety of domestic rabbits across this island and around this world.

So, it’s about progress, steps.  The personal life situation will work itself out, as long as the bunny-daddy and I keep doing our part… and staying on top of those other parties who need to do their parts as well!  And the Rescue life situation… I am overjoyed to be a part of a step in the right direction.  I just got off of the phone with the Legislator who is helping us advocate.  I’m proud to know her and proud to be a part of the progress she’s making.  Just do the next right thing, my friends.  Much love.

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Grab your party hats and celebrate progress!

What’s Important…

2016 has been cleaning house (in the metaphorical sense. Literally, however, my house is a mess and my desk is back to its disastrous state).  We (the collective We) lost Bowie, Prince, Chyna, Eli Weisel (potential the first time they’ve been listed in sequence anywhere)… I’m so parenthetical today.  We (the rabbit We) have lost far too many fur-babies, celebunnies and local loves, most recently Sylvia, beloved diva-bun and one of my first Reiki clients.

So here I am, contemplating what is really important, in my classic Type-A ways, organizing what matters and what doesn’t into definitive categories in my overly-active brain.  I keep telling myself that social media and the phone, other than for calls and texts, don’t matter… but then I continue to check them constantly (unless I lock the phone away in a drawer. Seriously).  So it must matter.  It must be important to some seeking part of my existence, checking for updates, change, news or something.  Searching for something, I guess.  Every minute I spend with the screen I think I should be doing something else, usually something simple like snuggling the boys, but definitely something else.  Important or not, I think about it like this: if this were my last moment, my last breath, I doubt I’d think or say, “I wish I checked Instagram one more time.”  So it’s time to get focused.

And why all this searching for substance?  I can’t seem to let myself be. Be present.  Be here now.  Just be.  My meditation coach and dear friend Debbie says, “Start where you are.”  And that’s a powerful message for me in this moment.  There’s no use beating myself up for checking Facebook 74 times today.  There’s no good to come out of wishing I visited Sylvia more often.  There is power is remembering the magical visits we did have though.  And there’s even more purposeful power in:

  • Doing what’s important to you (not by someone else’s definition, definitely not by society’s definition).
  • Allowing yourself to change which things/people/ideas/etc. are important to you as often as you need to.
  • Being as present as you can be, but not beating yourself up when you drift, or worry or obsesses. Just come back to now.

So what’s important?  What’s important is whatever you want it to be, in that moment.  It can change, flex, bounce back, reshape, flip, disappear, whatever.  For me, today, in this moment, it’s family.  I spent the afternoon with the extended family, the Originals as we call ourselves, two of my very best friends, celebrating family.  I’m spending the rest of the day and night with boys and their father.  I’ll try to stay off the phone.  I’ll read my book (loving Tyler’s The Accidental Tourist.).  And no matter what, what’s important is my inner peace, so I can, in turn, spread that peace around.

Peanut
And a random baby picture of Peanut for your enjoyment!