Maddie and Teddy

I drove to Brooklyn and back, all by myself. I brought my passport, just in case they checked at the border and gave some cute stamp. But enough about me—this is about Maddie and Teddy.

Several weeks ago, Maddie developed an abscess on the bottom of her back paw. Maddie and Teddy’s mom sought immediate veterinary treatment at the incomparable Catnip and Carrots Veterinary Hospital and her foot has since healed well.  Over the course of the healing, Maddie and Teddy’s mom and I got to talking about the emotional and metaphysical connections to physical changes and injury. We talked about the connection to feminine energy and the side on which Maddie developed the abscess. I told their mom to read some of my past blog entries about Reiki and rabbits. We decided a Reiki treatment was in order.

I took my pilgrimage west. Upon my arrival to their home, Maddie and Teddy promptly hid behind furniture—stranger in the house! To start our session of sharing energy, I anointed myself with Frankincense and called on our guides to support all beings and objects who are open to the energy.  I started “working” on Maddie first. She “showed” me the color grey. Her third eye chakra is blocked and she has trouble believing in her own instincts so we worked together to shift that energy (and I knew it! There’s the connection to the abscessed feminine energy in her paw!). Maddie “told” me that she feels very secure and loved.

Her root chakra is very solid.  She did not want any hands-on work, which is incredibly interesting when compared to the ridiculously lavish snuggle session she and I had after the Reiki was over. Maddie flopped as soon as I started working with her husbun Teddy.

Teddy doesn’t want anyone to know his “secrets” or about his past, in a silly, playful way, so much so that he ran across the room and up the stairs! Teddy is very funny, like a cartoon character in his spirit. He “showed” me the numbers 2, 3 and 2 again. His sacral chakra is low or blocked so we worked to open up that energy. Overall he has a very chill energy. He loves music and the flow of water. It is likely that he is a water sign, but tough for us to do his astrological chart since we don’t know his exact birthdate!

Together, Maddie and Teddy love being a couple and they know they are with this family forever. I am very grateful to Maddie and Teddy’s mom for allowing me to share Reiki with her furbabies. Much love!

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Ella and Monkey

The Catnip and Carrots waiting room is like Cheers for our rabbit rescue family.  Anytime you walk through those doors and sit on those benches, you are bound to meet someone who knows your name, even if it’s just from interaction in our incredibly supportive online community.

An afternoon in July of 2014, I sat on one of those benches.  Two women, a mother and a daughter, sat on an adjacent bench.  In their carrier was their elderly guinea pig.  From careful eavesdropping (teacher-hearing comes in handy outside of the classroom too), I learned that they take this beloved guinea pig to the vet weekly—sometimes several times in a week.  Considering that most guinea pigs don’t get any medical care, I judged this family to be super pet parents.  I was right.

The daughter looked at her phone and started to read an email to her mother.  The email was an apology for a delayed response.  I heard her mention a big rescue case in Mastic that was the excuse for the delayed response.  I realized that I wrote that email.  These are people that we are screening for adoption!

I’m not shy.  I said, “Excuse me.  That email is from me.  I’m Denise.”  They introduced themselves and we conducted the step in the screening process that is usually a phone interview, live in the waiting room.  Each answer confirmed the judgment I already made about them—these women are part of an exceptional pet family.  Home visit… adoption day… they brought their adorable Monkey Bun to “speed date” with several of our adoptable rabbits.  Monkey chose Elke on July 20, 2014.  Elke was renamed Ella.  They never bonded—it happens.  They live side-by-side in happiness now.

Ella is estimated to be around 10 years old… maybe 8… maybe 12.  With age often comes some health and mobility issues.  I was honored to visit Ella and Monkey this past week and share some Reiki with them.  In connecting with Ella’s energy, I felt a beautiful sense of patience.  Before I entered their pens, I poured several drops of Frankincense essential oil into my palms and called on our guides and angels to support and heal all who are open to the energy.  I stepped into Ella’s pen first.  She spent most of our session together in her cardboard hut.  She has a green light surrounding her metaphysically.  She “told” me that she doesn’t feel old, which put a big smile on her family’s faces in our post-session conversation.  When working on Ella’s chest area and heart chakra zone, I felt a big shift, like an obstruction began to dissolve.  She feels blocked physically so we “worked” on that through most of our session.  She “showed” me the numbers 10 and 11 and that she prays with the family, so whoever is praying or doing some spiritual work, keep it up!  Ella is working with you!

Ella

I hopped over to Monkey Bun’s pen next.  He’s much more curious than Ella is so we did more hands-on work together.  He “showed” me the number 3.  We worked to soften his heart chakra.  He “told” me that he knows he’s a little boy but he’s NOT the baby of the family!  He is solid and healthy.  His solar plexus chakra is very guarded (common in prey animals) and he “shared” a turtle shell energy with me, a hard exterior for protection.  Where Ella is blocked physically, Monkey is guarded or blocked emotionally.  They are in great balance of each other.  Although they never officially bonded, there’s a lot of love in that bunny room, just like there’s a lot of love in that entire house.

Monkey Bun

From our chance meeting in the waiting room at the vet’s office… Ella’s adopter has become one of our most dependable volunteers, which is not surprising.  They are a family of compassion and dedication.  They show that in the way they cared for their ailing guinea pig, the way they opened their home to Ella, who was a bit older when they adopted her, and the continued care every animal (and person, from what I gather) in that family receives.  It is my true honor to share Reiki with Ella and Monkey and to be around such a wonderful family.  Much love.

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.

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.

Ashley

You bought a rabbit.  I don’t know why.  Maybe your kids were begging you for one, promising they would take care of her.  Maybe you thought a rabbit would be an easy starter pet.  Maybe you didn’t think much about it, just bought her on a whim—she was cute.  Or maybe someone bought her for you—thank them for me and be sure to share this with them.

Less than two months after Easter 2017, likely when you got her, you decided you didn’t want her anymore.  You decided the responsibility that you chose was over.  So, you set her “free.”

On the first of June, 2017, a stray rabbit was brought into a local animal shelter.  White, black and near death.  This rabbit, a little girl, was emaciated, anemic and infested with parasites.  She couldn’t hop.  She couldn’t hold her head up.  Because you set her “free.”

The shelter called April, one of our most dedicated and compassionate volunteers, as the shelter isn’t equipped for rabbits—but they absolutely do their best.  April went to the shelter with supplies and care instructions.  Upon seeing the dire condition of this little rabbit, April recommended immediate veterinary intervention.  The shelter brought the rabbit to an emergency veterinary clinic where she stayed for four days.  She was given fluids, medications and critical care food.  Because you set her “free.”

When she showed some signs of gaining strength, the hospital released this rabbit into April’s care.  April named her Ashley, a tribute to the caring director at the shelter.  Ashley the rabbit’s condition was still critical.  She couldn’t eat on her own.  She could only move a bit.  But she was finally feeling love and support—you know, the stuff you promised to give her when you bought her.  But you were done with that.  So, you set her “free.”

Our team showed up for Ashley in such a beautiful way.  April got Ashley to eat some greens on her own.  Jacey and Bryce visited her daily when April had to go to work.  Lisa drove well over an hour (maybe 2?) one way just to meet Ashley and give her some love.  When Lisa arrived, Ashley was having a very difficult time.  Lisa called the talented team at Catnip and Carrots Veterinary Hospital, who said to bring Ashley right in.  Dr. Miller and staff cared for Ashley, assessed her needs, ran blood work and some other tests.  With their magic and skill combined with the love from our team, Ashley was sitting up on her own that night.

Lisa, Maria and Ricky cared for her overnight before her odyssey back to April’s house (I can’t help but joke about the distance—our team spans the entire 118-mile length of this island).  Dr. Miller called me the next morning with the blood work results.  Nothing was good.  At all.  Despite that, April and her family, with the support of the other volunteers, committed to doing ANYTHING it took to give Ashley a chance at life.  This included syringe feedings multiple times per day and many other demanding efforts.  But April was willing.  We create a fundraising page to help with the costs of Ashley’s care, which raised over $500 in less than a day.  The time, love, energy, financial support, good wishes from so many people—that’s what it takes to counterbalance your decision to set her “free.”

Last night, I was smiling big time.  I came home from my godmother’s 65th birthday party.  My other half and my favorite of his friends were outside putting together our beautiful new gazebo and patio set.  80 degrees, sunny and we were dancing on the deck.  My phone rang.  It was Jacey and Bryce.  They had a call in to the 24-hour emergency service for the vet.  Ashley was limp.  She wouldn’t take her syringe-fed water, as she typically would.  Her temperature had dropped to 93 degrees.  They had her on heat and poured love on to her.  Maria and Ricky got in their car right away, heading to Ashley’s side.  April left work.  I was standing by, relaying messages from the veterinary team.

Jacey called again.  Ashley began to have a seizure.  We knew her time in this dimension was coming to a close.  Bryce and Jacey held her, loved her, told her it was ok to let go.  You know, like how you let her go, set her “free.”

Ashley passed away before April could make it home.  Jacey and Bryce stayed.  We are truly a family in this group.  Ashley suffered.  Immensely.  She was starved to near-death and infested with parasites when she was finally brought to safety.  She had liver damage among many other issues.  And if you’re saying “it’s just rabbit,” tell that to April, Lisa, Jacey or Bryce.  Look in their eyes and say it, please.  Just a rabbit to you— a precious, innocent soul to all of our team.

In case you ever wonder what happened to that little rabbit whom you set “free”…

Binky free, sweet Ashley.

Authenticity

Authenticity truly makes me tick (in a good way… not like a nervous tic or an incessant ticking of a clock).  In a culture where we share all the highlights of our lives, the way we want our lives to be perceived, in a running pictorial accessible to all, I find myself frustrated with the disingenuous.  That’s my stuff, my problem to release.  But why are you celebrating something that you don’t truly believe in?  Why did you say you would never _________ (fill in story-line here) but there you are doing it again?!  I can’t seem to let the inauthentic float by without wanting to grab it and shake it!  I’ll get there; I just need to do the work.

Let me take my own advice this morning—stop scrolling and judging; get back to focusing on what I want to see blossom and flourish in my authentic existence.  So here’s what’s real:

-Rescue had TWO successful education events yesterday.

-I spent the afternoon with a team of beautiful women who could have been anywhere in the world but chose to spend their day connecting with the community about rabbit care, fostering, volunteering and adopting.  No pretense, no selfish agendas, just pure bunny love.

-While I did that, the team at the other education event was doing the same.  Synergy.

-Some other members of our team opened a case and began working with local authorities on a situation where domestic rabbits are not being provided with appropriate shelter.  This may be a complicated one…

I found Rescue life and I chose to commit my “free time” to this cause.  Nothing awakens my soul like Rescue and Reiki do.  People may comment that I never stop, that the phone is always going, that something is always in the works.  Damn right… because this is my reality.  This is what I’m called to do and I will bask in that reality, even when it goes against conventional taste.

And I’m not here to say or even imply that the only “things” that are authentic are such great feats or have to be in line with my realm of real.  Just do what you say you’re going to do.  Just live what makes you feel fired up inside.  Stop trudging along the path that everyone else is marching—be you.  First you have to find you and accept you.  Authenticity.

Take a moment of silence to all the “Easter bunnies and chicks” who will not see their first birthdays.

Accept Yourself

Madonna sang “Express Yourself” (still one of my all-time favs) and today I’m remixing it to Accept Yourself.

I do my best work in the morning.  I’m undeniably a morning person and I’ve allowed myself to create this detrimental thought pattern that I can’t write well, don’t communicate at my best and won’t perform at my highest potential later in the day.  When you get up as early as I do, later in the day is comparatively early for most people.  So I find myself at a challenge, right at this very moment.  I’m sitting here, at the keyboard, at 7:08pm.  I’ve convinced myself over the course of decades that I can’t write this late.  It’s clear to me that I am more focused in the morning hours, so I accept that about myself—truly I celebrate that.  This morning, then afternoon, then (my version) of early evening flowed by with lots of productivity in other arenas, but the blog still isn’t written and the emails aren’t answered.

And then the brain starts going: You can’t write at night.  You won’t produce with quality.  It will take you 10 times longer to answer emails.  And don’t forget about that pile about day-job work on the table…

I can play out those limiting beliefs or I can choose a new pattern, choose to “unstick” myself from thoughts that are holding me back from tasks that need to be done (those Rescue emails aren’t going to answer themselves!).  Instead of walking circles around the house, stumbling through smaller tasks while the mind swirls around the writing, I chose to accept myself, wrench open the laptop and write to you.  And I will answer the unread emails as soon as I’m done here.  And I’ll try not to beat myself up if I have to stay up past 8pm or if I leave a task undone tonight.

I took a class Friday evening on the Aroma Freedom Technique (I totally did not anticipate writing to you about this! I sat down intending to write about this week’s 2 rescues!).  My mentor Gina Califano taught about the technique and guided attendees through this powerful practice.  In her introduction, during which I took copious notes, Gina talked about overcoming our resistance.  She talked about how experiences create our beliefs; our beliefs create our behaviors; our behaviors create our experiences.  There’s the cyclical nature of it all.  The Aroma Freedom Technique is designed to get us “unstuck,” to facilitate release, to help us reach new heights.  I had such an incredible response personally to the technique that I’ve chosen to seek certification in Aroma Freedom so I can share it with you and your fur-babies too.

And here I am, two nights later, needing to release the limiting belief about when and how I can accomplish tasks.  I accept myself as a morning person and producer but it’s time for me to embrace other moments of me, not just the top-speed, ultra-effective version.  Gina said, “Once you’re aware of it, you can start to move it out.”  It’s time for me to breathe, to loosen up the rigidity I enforce on myself, and to keeping hopping my hop toward my highest potential with grace.  Much Love.

Acceptance