Two Years Gone

On this, the eve of the two year anniversary of my dear friend’s passing, I’m re-posting the story I wrote about her, about us, the day after she left this mortal coil.

Before you read this, please call or text that one person you’ve been meaning to reach out to. Take that time. Even if it’s been a while and you think it will be awkward, use me as an excuse– tell them Denise, your favorite blogger, told you to call.

Then, come back and read this.

Goodbye, dear friend.

Advertisements

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!

So Strong

I have not underlined this much in a book since graduate school.

Bright Spirit, the spiritual book club that I co-host with Dina of Crystalicious NYC, studied Rising Strong by Brené Brown as our most recent pick.   This book quickly became a part of my soul.  I, too, struggle with vulnerability.  I was the girl who knew all of the answers in elementary school.  That girl became the young woman who never asked any questions because she didn’t want anyone to know that she didn’t know something.  That girl-turned-young-woman equated knowing and being right with being accepted and loved.  She may not have been able to do it all, but she sure knew her stuff.  And no one could peek behind that all-knowing curtain.

Rising Strong is the first of Brown’s works that I read, although I was already familiar with her through Her Royal Highness Ms. Oprah Winfrey.  I enjoyed Brown’s talks that I watched but didn’t really “get it” until I read the book.  It’s always about timing.

Here are just a few of the thousands of words I underlined…  literally picking these for you by opening to a random page and sharing.

On “reckoning with emotion,” Brown directs the reader to, “Give yourself permission to feel emotion, get curious about it, pay attention to it and practice… awkward, uncomfortable practice.”  For me, this was a clear reminder of what I teach but don’t always remember to implement myself.  We must attend to our feelings, emotions, joys and pains if we want to grow.  If we are good with sitting exactly where we are right now, then just ignore the tough stuff.  Stuff it down.  Keep busy and try not to feel.  But, when we are ready to thrive, we must examine those feelings, white, black and every stormy shade of gray, to work, heal and flourish.  That often takes help.  Remind me to ask for help when you see that I need it.

Brown writes, “…our silence about grief serves no one. We can’t heal if we can’t grieve; we can’t forgive if we can’t grieve. We run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend.”  When we lose someone or something, it’s like there’s this designated period we are supposed to be sad for—no longer and definitely no shorter.  At my day job, we get 5 bereavement days when a family member dies. I have a sinking suspicion that it will take me more than a week to get my head together after one of my parent’s passes.  In that same vein, if someone is back after 1 day, I’m not sitting in judgment.  I’m just hugging in support.  Face it on your own time.

Brown enforces from C.R. Snyder’s research that “Hope is not an emotion: It’s a cognitive process… Hope happens when we can set goals, have the tenacity and perseverance to pursue those goals, and believe in our abilities to act.”  Hope carries varied connotations.  I’ve heard people instruct others not to hope because that’s giving an option for something not to happen—like I hope I get the promotion vs. I will get the promotion.  While I agree that we should manifest our desires with unwavering certainty, I feel like hope is a beautiful thing.  I hope for a beautiful future for everyone on the planet.  I hope everyone can find the peace that I feel right now.  It’s kind of mincing words… but that’s what we do, isn’t it?

After this… I’m jumping (albeit backwards) into Brown’s Daring Greatly.  Join me?  Much love.

Going Back In

In four days, I’m going back.  I’ll sit in a blue and teal chair on an hour long trip to the greatest city in the world (arguably, of course, but that’s what we’ve told to call it).  I’ll walk several blocks, check in to my hotel, and head to the SVA Theater. There, I’ll sit in a red upholstered chair and soak it all in, taking copious notes over the course of our three days together.  Yes, this weekend is Spirit Junkie Masterclass.

As I look over my nearly 40 pages of notes from last year’s class, I see a beautiful parallel between my teacher’s “Steps to Stepping into the Fear” and the experience with and lessons from our rescued rabbits.  I’ll list Gabrielle’s steps below and annotate my rescue musings.  My rescue colleagues reading this can nod along…

  1. Honor your wounds.

These abandoned, neglected and abused rabbits did NOTHING to deserve the treatment they got (or didn’t get) before they came into our care.  We celebrate, love and care for their backgrounds.  We work tirelessly to ensure they will never be wounded again.

  1. Stop trying to outrun fear.

Dear ones, let us bring you to safety.  We are the good ones.  I promise.  The only thing you have to fear now is the Shop Vac cleaning your enclosure.

  1. Show up for your assignment.

Once they are “ours,” these rescued rabbits have a big job.  They are tasked with completing families.  That said, it is NEVER their assignment to teach children responsibility–that’s the job of human adults.  But it is their job to soak in all the love.   I’m smiling so big, thinking of all the ways my boys have been there for me over the past 6.5 years, showing up for their assignment.

  1. Build new momentum to create confidence.

With this step, I’m thinking of the shy ones.  The scared ones.  I’m thinking right now of Aspen.  She was rescued last year, and shortly after, gave birth to 8 babies.  Aspen is the softest and was the shiest rabbit I’ve ever met.  In a series of foster homes she wanted nothing but to hide.  And then… she moved in with a new foster family, where she’s an only rabbit, and her personality is shining!  She’s flopping, she’s running and she’s posing for pictures with sass!  She’s come into her own, created that confidence.  It’s incredible what a change of surroundings can do.

  1. Affirm what you want to feel and who you really are.

Oh, these rabbits have personality.  I have a 4-pound lion with the attitude of a 420-pound King of the Jungle.  He’s the King of the Living Room.  When we pay attention to what they are “showing” us, our rescued rabbits are all sorts of perfect and loving.  Some, like Aspen, need to be solo buns to shine.  Some, like my Peanut, need to come to you on their own terms and not be approached quickly.  Trust, they always affirm what they feel; sometimes, we need to listen better!

  1. Be more you.

Here’s where rabbits (and any animal for that matter) can really show us the path.  They know no other way than to be themselves.  Just like little kids, they show and share how they feel.  Take a lesson from the furry ones.  Be silly when the mood strikes you.  Take multiple naps a day, if that’s what you’re craving.  Chew the molding in my living room… wait.  Scratch that.  But seriously, use those instincts—don’t squash them!

 

Spiritual Running Buddies:  I’ll see you on Friday.  Rescue Fam:  You inspire me.  Much love.

I’m Telling

I’m telling on myself today.  A friend who is relatively new to the DB Fam called me yesterday.  For every ounce Out There, Open and Tell It Like It Is that I am, she is Reserved, Private and Keep It to Yourself in counterbalance.  I take our new-found friendship not only as a treasure but as lessons for me to learn to protect and preserve myself and my energies.

While we were on the phone, New Friend asked me a question about someone we both know.  Not a gossipy question or even a judgmental question—just a question.  And there I went, shady as all get out in my answer.  The words felt icky coming out of my mouth… yet there they tumbled.

Our conversation ended shortly after.  I felt unsettled with myself, as I spoke from a place of spiritual misalignment.  There was nothing in my response that was constructive, helpful or even that answered her originally question.  I caught myself falling off of the Judgment Detox wagon.  Old me would have relished in the negativity.  Current me corrected course with humility.

I texted New Friend and said, “I feel like I was super negative. I apologize.”  I then answered her original question with a more appropriate, yet still honest answer (all of this personal development has not taken away my honesty!).  I started to justify and judge myself in reaction.  I even wrote, “Insecure low moment.”  All of my Spiritual Running Buddies who are reading this are yelling at the screen for me to witness my judgment without judgment.  I hear you.

It’s a work in progress.  It’s a practice.  I’m proud of myself for sharing the missteps with you, dear readers.  I teach this work.  I live this work.  And foundationally, I do this work… so it’s not a perfect dance for me where I slay every step.  It might not ever be.  I decided to tell on myself to you today because I grow when I share the journey and because I’m so grateful for the lessons that New Friend imparts on me through her kindness and the way she protects her own energy with ease.  Much love.

JD humility

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.

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.