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.

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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.

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.

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!

Retreat Yourself

In late June 2014, I wrote a note in my phone of three simple “I am” statements to set the tone for my summer.  Pushing aside the millions of things to get done and ways to make two months off from the day job count, I set these “I am” statements at the core of my desires for that time.  At the heart of all of the “stuff” I had to do and wanted to do that summer, my true intentions were in these “I am” statements.  I typed:

I am

-reading.

-practicing yoga.

-mindful.

I didn’t even know what mindful meant or why I typed it— it just appeared there on the screen.  I am mindful… ok.  Let that sit.

I found a yoga studio near to where we were living.  I signed up for a month unlimited and then another month unlimited.  I took classes 3-5 times per week for the entire summer.  I am practicing yoga…  finally.  For months before that, I was thinking about it.  And I was telling myself that I “should” be practicing yoga.  But I never seemed to quite get around to it.  I let everything else jump the line and take up my precious time.  All it took was setting that clear intention: I am practicing yoga.  Like magic, I was.

I found two teachers whose style and energy matched what I was seeking in my practice and made darn sure to show up at their classes.  I dove all in, as I’m prone to do.  One of those teachers offered free guided meditation after classes, as the schedule allowed.  I stayed.  She shared about her practices, her studies through UMass. Medical School in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and her “real life” applications of these simple-yet-complex practices.  She had something here.  I hung on every word.

A friendship blossomed.  At the time, I hadn’t consciously revisited my note in my phone with my summer intentions, my “I am” statements.  But I was learning about mindfulness, that word I typed without knowing why.  My new mediation coach and friend recommended books that she was reading.  We started to hang out.  We shared this glorious spark of brilliance.  I knew I found a soul sister in Debbie.  Toward the end of August 2014, while rolling up my yoga mat after one of Debbie’s last yoga classes for the summer, I opened the notes in my phone… and there it was: I am mindful.  I manifested a practice, a coach and a friend with three words.  Don’t question the process.  Be open to being guided.  Set the intentions that are in your heart and take the action steps as they unfold.

This past Thursday, I had the honor of sitting at a full-day retreat of over 100 educators led by my soul sister Debbie and her colleague in mindfulness Cory.  They led us through the practices and applications of this life-saving, life-expanding gift called Mindfulness.  They are the real-deal.  I, who often cannot exhale without checking my phone 17 times, did not even check the time from 7:30 am until 4:35 pm.  That’s the magic that Debbie and Cory shared.

We learned about our relationship to stress, how to be with what is here, how to develop our mental fitness… I could go on and on.  I took 17 pages of notes.  But, if I can share only one take-away with you, it is this: replace resistance with curiosity.  Approach your day with an element of awe and wonder.

Debbie, I bow to you.  I am mindful.

Yes

For those who’ve been following the tale: I didn’t finish the book before book club, but the 200 pages I read were more enjoyable than I thought they were going to be.

Just another lesson in being open, in saying “Yes!” to what presents itself.  I never would have picked up that particular book, but a beautiful friend presented it as our first selection for our new book club.  Beyond the emotional journey of reading it (if you really know me, you know I’d love nothing more than to stay home all day, every day and read), flicking through those pages allowed me to connect with some sweet and smart women on Friday evening.  Two of my bunny family, plus multi-generational representation from one of their families, great conversation, connection—much more spiritually fulfilling than my typical Friday night falling asleep on the couch while watching vintage seasons of RHONY.

I’ve been saying yes more these past few weeks.  It’s one of my “challenges.”  Some people do squat challenges or cut out sugar for 30 days type challenges; I give myself personal growth challenges.  Saying yes and being more flexible is the theme of this current phase in my personal growth and development.  I’m stretching myself to change or make plans last minute, to break one of my Cardinal Rules and leave the house on Sunday (only for VERY good reasons, should they arise) and to stay up past 8:30pm on a work night (again, the good reason rule comes into play).

I broke the bedtime rule last Thursday and spent the evening in Manhattan with four gorgeous friends and my mentor Gabrielle Bernstein.  I’m breaking the bedtime rule this coming Tuesday to see Marilyn Manson.  Yes, you can be a Spirit Junkie and enjoy some dark music—it’s all about balance, my loves.  These rules, and the bending of them, may seem trivial to the less wound and regulated but to me, these are some huge shifts!

Yes, I have a lot of rules for myself.  I’m super-structured, regimented to an extreme at times.  I attribute my success to my discipline and my grit.  As strange as it may sound, I’m disciplining myself to be a little less disciplined.  But fear not, I’ll still be here every Sunday (or thereabouts) with you.  Much love.

Topher & Co.

I had the honor of working with Topher, his brother Walter and their sister Nora last week.  Topher and Walter are friendly, active dogs and Nora is a beautiful kitty.  Their mom invited me over specifically to work with Topher but Reiki energy does not discriminate; it goes and flows wherever it is welcome and needed!  Upon my arrival, Walter and Topher greeted me with puppy-like fervor while Nora assessed me from afar.  I love cats for their moments like that—no nonsense, no pretense.  After we talked about some goals for our session, Topher’s mom left us to get down to business!

I anointed myself with Believe essential oil and sat on the floor in their living room.  As I started to tune in to the energy and my guides, Topher sat to my left, leaning his right side against my knee and crossed legs.  The color blue swirled around his energy.  As I worked on his crown chakra, I felt a sense of high alert and was compelled to send him the word “ease.”  When I worked on his throat chakra, I shared with him the message from my guides that he can tell his mom what he needs and she will always hear him.  I also connected with a heaviness on his right side, nothing to be concerned about per se, but just an awareness.

Topher bounced away after some time together and Walter walked over, almost like he had been waiting his turn.  Walter sat in my lap and we connected.  Both doggy brothers allowed lots of hands-on work throughout the session, probably the most I’ve ever had with new clients!  I “got” the “message” that Walter was a lawyer or some sort of negotiator in a past life or, if he were human in this life, that would be his career path.  I connected most with and worked on his sacral and root chakras.

Topher came back over and sat, somewhat at attention, in front of me this time.  I just do my thing and those who need the energy line up!  This time together, I was compelled to work more on his throat and solar plexus chakras.  I worked through his legs, hips and corresponding root chakra as well, sending to him that he is secure.  He “shared” with me that he senses a transition or a new family member.  In our post-session conversation, Topher’s mom confirmed that someone did recently move into their home.  Messages and connections like that are just confirmation for me that the energy is “working,” not that I ever doubted it anyway.

Nora stayed in the next room for the entirety of our session, regally grooming herself and never taking her eyes off of me.  I got a “den mother” vibe from her, as if she feels responsible to keep order in the house.  My closing messages, just from the space in general, were about a middle child energy and the number 7, all of which I shared with Topher, Walter and Nora’s mom in our chat after I closed out the session.  It was truly a beautiful hour with this happy, energetic family.  Topher, if you’re listening, just remember: ease!

Much love.

The Whole Crew
Photo Credit: Their Mom