Feeling Down? Get UP!

 

I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.

― Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Hocus Pocus patiently waiting while I take her pic during our afternoon walk

Note: This blog post is available as a podcast. You can 🎙 listen to it here. 🎙


That’s my girl.  My sunshine.  My Smile.  My whole heaping heart.

When I am down, she lifts me. When I am frustrated she waits for me to become clear.  When I am sad she feels it.  When my boundaries are out of bounds, she reflects this back to me.  When I need space, she gives it.  When I grieve, she is near.  When I need a nudge to get out of my own way, she gently pushes. When I am stuck in the muck of my mind she pulls me out of it.

We walk.  We run. We explore. We laugh. We play.  We let go.

She is a light in the dark. She is a rock when I need rest.  She is unconditional love when I am forgetting to love. She is an angel disguised as a dog.

But most of all, she is my Joy.

I share this with you because we all need someone or something in our life who gives us these gifts.  We all need moments of levity, laughter, and love … 24/7.

Especially now. 

We need to remember there are beloveds by our side who are always holding space for our well-being.  These beloveds – if we let them – can help our mental, emotional, and physical health, especially during these trying times.

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The little conversation, well is over very soon
And I watch in admiration from my corner of the room
And they shine on you with starry eyes and they rain a friendly storm

“Little Conversations” by Concrete Blonde

Little Conversations and Invitations 

It’s time we pay closer attention.  If health concerns can be ruled out, there could be other conversations at hand. That persistent nudge; the constant chuffing; the incessant meowing; that annoying winning; the gentle tugging; those pleading soulful eyes …  are all an invitation.

We often dismiss these behaviors or label them as irritating, annoying or distracting, but what if these behaviors attempting to get your attention are more than what they appear to be?  What if sometimes they are an invitation to get up, move about, rethink, readjust, reevaluate, shift our energy, or get out of our own way?  What if these behaviors were reflecting back to you, what you need in that very moment?

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What do you think Hocus is asking me here, while I am working in my office?

Sure, it could just be a singular desire or need our animal family members are exhibiting:  Maybe he has to pee.  Maybe she’s bored.  Maybe he’s frustrated.  Maybe she’s hungry.  Maybe he wants the cake you left on the kitchen counter.  Of course, these are all perfectly logical explanations for various behaviors. And if you read this post, then you know that pain is a very common medical issue that can create or exacerbate behavior problems in our animal companions.

But what if sometimes, it’s also you, their guardian?

What if our furry, feathered, and scaly friends and family members are more in tune with us than we can possibly imagine?  What if they can read us like an open book?  What if our behavior, emotions, and energy are a beacon to them?  What if our sh*tty mood is a shout-out?  What if they instinctively and intuitively knew what we need in that moment?  What if they truly wanted the best for us always?

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Mr. Beaux at my desk … What do you think he’s asking me?

If you knew this was true, how would you respond?  What would you do?  Would your choices be influenced?  Would your behavior change? Would your emotions change?

It’s worth considering.

And it’s  worth questioning everything. –Every thought. Every belief. Every emotion.

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My Cherokee heritage teaches (much like some of the eastern philosophies) that nothing outside of us is separate from us.  They believe that the world which appears to be outside is merely a mirror, reflecting back to us.  It’s taken me years to even consider this as a possibility, but I am starting to see. I am questioning everything, and staying open with a curious mind. I invite you to stay open and stay curious too, especially when it comes to your critters. 😉

 

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Never lose a holy curiosity.”
― Albert Einstein


New Perspective

All philosophy set aside, we have incredible beings by our side who are ready, willing, and able to pull us out of the swamps of sadness.  We have loved ones who may annoy the crap out of us sometimes, but there is a method in the madness.  The only thing we need to do is open the invitation we’ve been given.  Just being willing to look at something from a different perspective can change our worlds.  Our furry family members (and Mother Nature) have helped me to better recognize when I need to shift my mood, my mind, my thoughts, and my behavior.  Sometimes I have to get pulled hard by them, dragging and screaming, but eventually I see clearly.

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Atreyu doing all he can do pull Artax, his beloved horse, out of the Swamps of Sadness

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Other than the incredible colors of Autumn, like many people, I really dislike the time change.  As the days get shorter and the long, dark nights of late fall and winter settle in, many folks find their mood getting darker, too.  As someone who dealt with depression for two thirds of my life, I have incredible empathy for souls who get sad.  And at this time of year we see more of it.

Did you know ….?

  • Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
  • It’s a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
  • More women are affected by depression than men.
  • Over 16 million people in the U.S. (6.7 percent of the pop) experience more than one episode of major depression during a year.
  • A further 5 percent live with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or seasonal depression.
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my husband and I might have had this exact conservation

The symptoms of SAD are so similar to those of depression that it can sometimes be hard to distinguish between the two.  SAD, also known as winter blues, typically affects women. In fact, 4 in 5 people with the condition are women, and the reasons for this predisposition are likely to be genetic.  However, while some people are genetically prone to the condition, they resist the environmental factors that might trigger it.

SAD is defined as a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter.  Symptoms of the “Winter Pattern” of SAD include:

  • Low energy
  • Hypersomnia
  • Overeating
  • Weight gain
  • Craving for carbohydrates
  • Social withdrawal (feel like “hibernating”)

I laughed out loud when I read those symptoms, because who doesn’t feel like that in the winter?!?  Hell, I feel like that when the temp drops below 60! 😀  I mean, come on. Who wants to eat a carrot stick or bowl of broccoli when it’s cold and rainy?!  And who doesn’t love to hibernate in the winter?!

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Hocus Pocus hibernating in our bed on a cold morning

All creatures want comfort when we are cold.  We all want to feel good when we feel bad.  And everyone has various methods for curing their ailments.  The point is, it’s important to recognize when we are feeling down, and then do something about it. We gotta address the “down”.

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Don’t Stay Stuck!

Wildfires, geopolitical insanity, and the fear-mongering the media sells, are all testing our resilience.  But so can seasonal changes.  Whether or not you’re affected by the weather, many are.  So if we become aware of these seasonal challenges we can help others.  There are four medical types of treatment for SAD:

  • Medication
  • Light therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Vitamin D

Those are the medical treatments, but there are other tools, too!  I used to take meds (which helped), but I weaned myself off of it many years ago.  Instead of the meds, I replaced big pharma by meditating twice a day, began to question my thoughts, went to Energy Medicine school,  got into acupuncture, discovered tools for Empaths, began taking Clearing Baths, practiced more self care, discovered why alcohol made my depression worse, increased my exercise, played more, created art, laughed more, became kinder to myself, and made sure my “tribe” was tight.

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Empaths feel things first, then think, which is the opposite of how most people function in our over-intellectualized society. – Dr. Judith Orloff

Even if you, your family member, coworkers, neighbors, or friends are not a HSP or an Empath, we all have emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental challenges. But we also have fabulously effective tools to Get Up and Get Out of our funk!  If each person began practicing just one of those tools I listed above we’d feel better.

I promise.

Here’s a helpful fact … Seasonal depression is caused by insufficient daylight, making the condition more widespread in countries that are farther from the Equator.  A new study in Copenhagen, Denmark,has discovered the power of daylight as a natural antidepressant. (You can read the details in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology.)

 

Daylight is effectively a natural antidepressant. Like many drugs currently used against depression, more daylight prevents serotonin from being removed from the brain.

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soaking up the sun with my best girl pal

So what does that research quote tell you?  To me, it says that one of the most powerful (free) tools/resources we have to feel better, stay healthy, and increase our mental and emotional health is something we have access to every day … the sun.  We all need to be outside more. We all need to play more. We all need to soak up the sun’s healing rays.

I wish we all would.  Everyone.  Every day.

Thankfully, our beloved Hocus Pocus and Mr. Beaux don’t let a single day go by without going outside. -Even when it’s the last thing I want to do :/  But after I do go outside and have an adventure with them (even when it’s cold-as-all-get-out), I am so damn happy that I did.  I am so unbelievably grateful they pulled me away from work, or out of my comfort zone to get outside and play.  My energy and mood shifts completely.

And because We Are One, so does theirs 😉

Below is a video I was inspired to create after I had been in a heavy funk.  Hocus, as always, (and unlike no other) once again, pulled me out of the muck of my mind with her puppy-like persuasive ways and means …

 

All I needed was the love you gave
All I needed for another day
And all I ever knew
Only you

-Yaz


From Suffering to Joy

We all have natural healing tools available around the world.  It’s quite true that “Nature Heals”.  Our animal friends know this.  Our bodies and brains crave daylight; this energy not only allows the body to release the “feel-good hormone”, serotonin, but walking outside during the day (even when it’s cold) will give you vital sun exposure.

And on an energetic level, it’s important to recognize that nature exists in a constant state of nonresistance.  Mother Nature feels like home to many of us because her vibration is pure. 🌊 Our energy is most aligned to its highest and pure essence when we are immersed in nature. We are most grounded in nature.  So are our animal friends.

They know this. They feel it, too.

But have you noticed that we also feel this way when we are in the presence of our animal companions?  They are the embodiment of Unconditional Love!

Joy is our true state of being; all else is an illusion we’ve bought into. There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with this illusion, but is it how we really want to feel?  Do we want to live life feeling down every day or do we want to be free?

I choose freedom.

I choose to remember that my beloveds want this for me, too.  The ones we often take for granted are doing their best to help us.  We can wake up from our funk when we start to realize that feeling joy, gratitude, and love, and being playful is our inherent nature. We can choose a new way of being every moment of the day.

We can get up and get outside.  Right Now 😉

Be well.  Be Kind.  And be Good to each other.  Stay open to miracles in the mind and remember to laugh and play, friends!

 

“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.” 
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Exploring the Redwood National and State Park with Hocus

 

“The art of living… is neither careless drifting on the one hand nor fearful clinging to the past on the other. It consists in being sensitive to each moment, in regarding it as utterly new and unique, in having the mind open and wholly receptive.” Alan Wilson Watts


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And in the infamous words of George Michael …

What’s there to think about, baby? … Gotta get up to get down

Benevolent Beings

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Mr. Beaux patiently waiting to head out for an adventure with me

Hello Bright Light!  And Happy October! ✨🍁✨🍂💫

I hope this finds you well and at peace in all ways.  Today I am inspired, so I Am guided to share something beautiful with you.  My hope is that it will inspire you, too!

As I write this we are snuggled up with our fur fam while the wind and rain tap and dance wildly at the window panes.  It’s quite a blustery day here in the new England area; something we never experienced on the west coast in southern California.  But we always make the most of less than ideal circumstances.  That’s been one of the most empowering lessons I’ve learned from my husband, Hocus Pocus, and the Kitty Boys.  Rather than complaining, they accept. And may I dare say, embrace challenging circumstances at times?

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.  Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow.  Let reality be reality.  Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu

I love that quote, even though I am not yet able to live my life that way every day.  But I do know someone who does.  You may have read about him before in this post, or this one.  His name is Mr. Beaux.  And he is my greatest teacher. He is the one, who consistently offers A Love Not of This World.

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Taking a break during one of our daily strolls

We recently celebrated his 19th birthday.  (That’s roughly 92+ in human years). ✨🐾✨
💜🖤💛 Yeah, this cool cat is rockin’ the geriatric life.  He is incredible.  I often jokingly say that I drink espresso just to keep up with his high-energy-arse.  If I have half of the sass and energy that he has when I am 50, I will be living the Good Life.  Here’s my birthday tribute to him:

This beautiful benevolent being has been one of the most amazing teachers for me on so many levels.  Not only does he challenge me to see things in a new way, but he has helped me to become a better human.  Every moment I’m grateful for the gift of this powerful teacher and for the blessing of being on this journey with him.  And since today is World Black Cat day, I thought this would be the purrfect time to share some thoughts about the benevolent beings who are here to teach us, and help us to “unlearn”.

“You must unlearn what you have been programmed to believe since birth. That software no longer serves you if you want to live in a world where all things are possible.” – Jacqueline E. Purcell

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Mr. Beaux, our Bodhisattva enjoying sunshine sits in the backyard with me

I adore black cats – all shapes, sizes, and species.  Between our family we’ve been graced with 3 black cats.  Black panther is one of my totem animals, and I find all melanistic creatures to be absolutely beautiful!  But I get it.  Not everyone loves the dark colors of life.  And not everyone dorks out about animal days like I do.

If you are anything like my husband, you might be rolling your eyes at the “black cat day” thing.  That’s cool.  When you meet one you’ll change your mind 😉   And when you do, he/she will transform your life … if you are open and allow it.

This morning while gleefully telling him how excited I was that there are two black cats days of celebration in the year he said, “Did you know that it’s national safety pin day tomorrow?” Confused, I asked him why he’s telling me this.  He quickly responded, “There’s a day for everything ridiculous.  I bet there’s even a flying squirrel day or a world poptart day.”

Rolling my eyes at him and his lack of enthusiasm, I left the room and went back to celebrating Black Cats Everywhere.  How did I do this?  I made a super cheesy video of course! 😀   🐾You can view it here.



After creating that video I got all feely and decided to post on our Empowered Path page how I really feel about Mr. Beaux, black cats, and the benevolent beings who walk with us. This was the quote that sparked it all …

“It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but it was deeper than that; a sense of belonging to a place I never knew I wanted but somehow always needed. It was a home that carried a heartbeat.” — Nikki Rowe
✨🐾✨

That quote spoke loudly to me.  I mean, full-on-swoon-feels;  immediately Mr. Beaux came to mind.  And that’s when I was guided to share.  If you read this post, you’ll remember that I did not want this Stranger In Black.  

But here we are today.  And I owe him my all. 

It’s been nearly 20 years with this master teacher by my side and I’m still in awe of him.
Resistant to him at first, and certain I knew it all, I later became the humble student.  He became my greatest teacher.

When I’m frustrated, fearful, triggered, or tired, he holds space for healing and overlooks error.  With every heartbeat he exudes unconditional love.  With every moment he provides endless life lessons. Mr. Beaux has become my memory of our True Home.

Since the day our paths crossed nearly two decades ago he’s been a master teacher and Guide.  ♥️  Through this cool cat I’ve compassionately conquered some of my toughest life lessons, was introduced to his Lyran family, and discovered what unconditional love truly is.  Through his infinite wisdom I am still learning to “unlearn” and see through the veils. But mostly Mr. Beaux reminds us to never fear, to live boldly, to take risks, to speak our truth, to stay young at heart, to be kind always, to question everything, that patience pays off, and to always explore beyond the boundaries of life.

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Walking with Mr. Beaux on the Cliff near our home in Newport

Mr. Beaux is not unlike the enlightened ones who came before.  Don’t let their fur suits fool you; many are wise beyond words.  There are countless divine teachers who walk with us, reminding us of the Light within us all, and the love we are capable of being.
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Here’s to the magical, mystical beings in our lives who hold space for us always, and who lead with Love.  May the grace and gifts they offer be an endless source of inspiration and magic. ✨🐾💫

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ― R. Dahl

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I would like to note that my husband’s cynical comments were later clarified.  He was quick to point out the silliness of seemingly random days of the year, because, from his point of view, we could be honoring the ones we love and respect every day; we don’t need a day of the year to tell us to be loving, to appreciate, or to be kind.  He’s right. Every day is a gift.  And every day we have the opportunity to show our gratitude toward the ones we love. We don’t need a calendar to tell us that. 🙂

Do you have a benevolent being in your life who’s helping you to walk on an empowered path?  We’d love to hear about him/her and see pics❣️


“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” — L. M. M.

… And in a world where magnificent, magical benevolent beings can become our greatest teachers. ✨🐾✨

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Mr. Beaux posing with a gorgeous gift from my husband


P.S. There IS a National Poptart Day – it’s on the 19th of May! And Squirrel Appreciation Day is Jan 21 — Hocus loves that day 😀

So there ya go.

Oh, and if you missed it, October 16 was National Feral Cat day, and don’t forget: October 29th is national cat day.  Ha!!

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Be well, friends.  Be Kind.  And remember to laugh!

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Fun Facts and Cool Links: