The Kitten

orange kitten

She was only 3 weeks old when I first met her. I was in the middle of a therapeutic horse driving lesson with a client and heard a mewing ahead of us coming from the area of a shallow ditch. It’s a sound that’s similar to the Catbirds I hear around the house, so I assumed it was a bird but out from the weeds waddled a little orange kitten.

She came to the sound of my voice and my therapy assistant lifted her up and she started purring. She was alone in the middle of a rural road, obviously dumped off. Her eyes were open but she had no teeth yet and although plump, she desperately was trying to find something to suckle.

I had plans to visit the mall after the driving lesson, I needed a dress for a very special weekend event I was attending and this would be my only opportunity to go shopping. Plans would have to change, the kitten went into my car, safe in a large box, and I was contemplating what to do about the dress. I got an image of K-Mart’s … I usually don’t shop there, I had planned to spend a good amount of money on just the right dress at a speciality store.

K-Mart was on the way home from the lesson and the parking lot was shaded, so I listened to intuition. I walked inside and there was only one dress in my size, only one. But it was perfect! A leopard print sheath with large pockets in front that looked and felt great. And it was under $50! In less than 10 minutes I was back in the car heading home with the kitten.

Back home, kitty was contentedly settled in with a bottle of replacement milk and I had a new dress in the closet – a cat print dress no less. I like happy endings for all, don’t you?!  My event last weekend went well and my mom and dad have been busily mothering the kitten until she’s big enough to join my beloved barn cat crew. Or not. You never know, they may find they can’t part with her and keep her! The story is just beginning but it already has a happy ending!

Wellness

I’ve had to really think deeply about what I believe about wellness over this past year. Wellness is the path, health is the destination: mental health, physical health, spiritual health, financial health, relational health. Wellness is a mindset involving implementation of attitudes, information, willpower, choices and values. Fitness is an outcome, only one aspect of physical health. Thinking holistically, I’ve come up with 8 more and different areas of wellness …

  1. Stress Resiliency
  2. Solid and Enduring Relationships
  3. Awareness of self as a part of a surrounding environment
  4. Freedom to make choices using a moral compass
  5. Self-empowerment to make a difference in the world
  6. Access to the truth for decision making
  7. Pain Free movement
  8. Financial Peace

Stress happens to everyone, but it’s the coming back from being knocked down, that is resiliency. Stress resiliency is being willing and able to get rid of your old stress load, un-useful thoughts, having emotional freedom and being able to shift your mindset.

Having someone to lean on during tough times is important. Everyone needs someone they can trust, someone who has your back, someone who is available for you and someone who you can have a healthy give and take relationship with. Some are blessed with good family relationships and others find their soul mate. For some people, their pet or a dear friend may be their treasured relationship. And others depend on God.

Number 3 on the list is really about finding health and reducing toxicity. This can include an environment of good nutrition or getting out of a toxic work environment.

Everyone wants the freedom to make their own choices. It’s actually our God-given right called freewill! But with choices comes responsibility, our choices should not cause harm to others. We need a solid enduring moral code on which to make choices and God has laid those out – not to kill others or to steal, not to covet your neighbors stuff or another’s spouse and so on. It’s not always easy, but a just society depends on this point and the 10 commandments start off with putting God first above all else. That’s the only way we can have peace and the freedom of choice.

Number 5 on the list is to have the power to make a difference in the world, to take an active stance for those who need our help and to bring attention to the wrongs around us.

How can we make good wellness decisions without the truth? We need access to what chemicals are in products and we need accurate information about what those chemicals do to the human body over time. We need the whole truth!

For number 7, I’m not sure anyone ever has totally pain free movement all the time. But those moments of flow and freedom from pain feel like bliss. I live in a low level of chronic pain but it’s gone from spikes of 10 out of 10 to mostly a 1 out of 10 now. I still move through the pain but boy do I treasure those moments when it seems to disappear into fluid movement.

Last on the list is financial peace … there is nothing like being debt-free – well, maybe it’s like being at your ideal weight and feeling buoyant and healthy. There’s a sense of ownership of yourself when you’re debt free, your basic needs are met and you can sometimes afford a little something extra.

Those are 8 things that I’ve been working on over the years – using natural methods like animals, nature, essential oils, emotional freedom, getting weekly bodywork … I’m drinking a “green drink” smoothy every morning, avoiding heavy metals and endocrine disruptors (no fluoride in my toothpaste, no aluminum in my deodorant, no parabens  in my cosmetics or shampoo) … small steps each month.

I’m not on any medications or prescriptions and I sleep well through the night so why was I worried this past weekend when I went to the onsite portion of the Wellness Coach Certification? I was worried because the course was hosted by the International Weightlifting Association and was mentored by a physical therapist. I was worried because I thought their definition of wellness would be narrow and encompass weight and fitness exclusively. I was worried because I’m a person who enjoys a slower pace, I don’t lift weights, and I’m slightly overweight right now. I was worried because I felt I would be judged on wellness based on what I’m not rather than what I am.

But I went anyway, fear and all. I took a deep breath and an open mind to learn even more and share my own outlook on wellness with others. There was no need to worry, the class was very holistic and I’m happy to say I passed my certification. I’m officially a Certified Wellness Coach! Unofficially, it’s what I’ve been offering in my therapy practice for over a dozen years but it still feels like an accomplishment.

If you’re curious about a holistic and nature-based approach to wellness coaching – please check out my webpage. You can subscribe free to a short once a month email providing coaching tips using animal archetypes.

Certified Wellness Coach

The Donkey Fable

You may have read this already in different forms but it’s a good one …

Once upon a time a farmer was digging a well. His curious donkey got out of his pasture and came over to check it out. The donkey fell in the well and began to cry and bray. The farmer came and tried to get him out but just didn’t have the strength. He couldn’t stand to see the poor creature suffer so he decided to cover the well and dig elsewhere. He began to shovel dirt back into the hole. The dirt landed on the donkey’s back covering him. Without a sound the donkey shook the dirt off and stepped up. The farmer shoveled in more dirt, covering the poor animal but the donkey shook it off and stepped up. It took awhile, but the farmer kept shoveling and the donkey kept shaking the dirt off and finally stepped up and out of the hole.

Lessons

When you’re in a tight spot and others give up on you …

Cover your ass

Shake the dirt off

Wait it out

Step up when you can and walk away as soon as you get the chance

Labor Day Prayer

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Labor Day Prayer

Remembering all those living in countries where people are simply viewed as an object of labor rather than their dignity as a person.

For all those working for unjust wages for the work they perform.

For all those oppressed in communist or socialist countries, where there is no chance to rise above through the work of your hands.

For all those wrongly imprisoned who are forced into labor or who are denied the creative outlet that labor provides.

For those who lack initiative or fear they have nothing to offer and are denying themselves the contribution back to society that labor provides.

For those who seek employment, may they find work that provides them with self-sustainability and feels fulfilling.

For those who “hide” in their labor, working too many hours and neglect personal and family duties.

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Labor provides a way to care for ourselves and others. It’s a way we contribute to society and receive back for our effort. Work is a creative outlet, a social outlet, a way of organizing our day.

May your work provide you with a deep sense of satisfaction and feeling that you’ve faithfully completed your personal calling. May your work be honest and just and leave the world a better place afterwards.

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Money

I’ve been trying to understand money better – yes for investments and retirement but no, not just for retirement. Simply to understand it.

I was brought up to tithe, to donate to others and you’d think 10% would be easier when you make more money but it’s not. When you make say $50,000 – $5,000 is a lot to donate. I’d reframe it to avoid resentment – I’d think of it as a thanksgiving offering for the gift of being able to earn that kind of money. And really, I never felt in “need” of what I gave away and to this day I don’t have debt – an amazing thing to admit to in an age where debt is drowning everyone.

I listened to an audio seminar and learned money was simply a form of energy exchange … having little to no “real” value in and of itself … it represents value. That’s true, paper money is just paper and only has value if the government says it does.

I watched a webinar series about your childhood formative years and money and your “glass ceiling” for earnings. That seems true too. Over the years, on average, my earnings have been about $35,000 – the amount my father made. My mom once told me that she asked my dad if he wanted us kids better off than him (my mom had risen out of a poverty situation and was better off financially than her parents and wanted the same for us) and my dad answered “no, not better off, but it would be ok if we were doing as well as he did.” I guess some part of me knew that energetically and wanting to please my father, I have an imaginary upper limit for earnings that I’m still trying to break through.

I took a self-improvment course and one of the learning quizzes taught us about how we view money. Money can be seen as power to some, pleasure to others, security or even freedom.  My results showed that money equated to safety … and lack of money to a feeling of being vulnerable.

And I thought about those things and I wondered how much money I would need to feel “safe.” And does money ever really equate to safety … I mean my money could disappear overnight and no one can take their money to the grave.

It occurred to me that I was sinning by placing the feeling of safety on money when God is the source of my true security. And then I remembered that money even told us that – “In God we Trust.”

I’m going to work on that more. I’m going to try and understand money by placing it under God. And come to think of it, that’s going full circle – back to trusting and offering thanksgiving by tithing.

Philippians 4:19

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.