Cats and their Habits

12 Oct

DSCN3953     Recently my cat has been acting rather strangely. Well, not so strangely, I suppose, if I remember that she’s a cat. There is a whole industry that has built up around anthropomorphic writing and that’s why it’s so easy to think of how a cat behaves as if it was a person who has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. That’s not meant to be insulting in any way shape or form to people who have been diagnosed on the autistic spectrum. It’s simply stating an undeniable fact that cats do have some behaviours that reflect what we could sometimes infer to be autistic tendencies.

Take my cat and her ladder. This is an intricate and clever escape system that we devised to help her gain a relative amount of safety in what can be the pretty threatening environment of the farm. She has, however, recently taken to using it as a means of gaining my attention in rather clever ways! She now never tires of exiting through it and then rousing me from my bed.

Without meaning to be offensive in any way at all, it prompts me to ask the question, Is my cat on the autism spectrum? and to consider what this could mean, for me and for her! There are some inevitable comparisons that are, I think, undeniable.

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What’s Not to Love About Cats?

7 Oct

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Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I love cats and I love talking about them. In my latest adventures with Pusia, my adorable companion who is an 8 year old tortoiseshell, I have been exploring her different tastes in food. She can be quite unpredictable and quite fussy.

I thought I’d spoil her with some premium stuff but she wasn’t having it. Her preference lies with the cheap rubbish I buy from the local discount store. Or maybe it’s just because she knows that it’s destined for the feral cats. In any case, her tastes are varied and can be quite exotic including, as they do, the odd sample from the local wildlife.

Then again, that’s what life on the farm is all about, I suppose!

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The Wise Old Owl and the Pussycat

29 Sep

The Wise Old Owl and the Pussycat

One of the wonderful things about having a cat is the way we learn to interact. We think we’re very clever, of course, and that we understand everything with our super human intellect. Sometimes, if we’re inconsiderate enough to bring the party home, then we can see what the cat is thinking in very explicit terms. Other times a cat will seem nonchalant and quite unbothered by our behaviour.

One thing is certain, whether we think we understand our cats or not, they have a very specific code of communication and language that each and every other cat will respond to and understand. That’s why it’s helpful to learn a few of the basics of what a strange or unknown cat is trying to tell us. From a cat’s eye’s it can be quite a different story…

Dreaming in Dunmanway in the key of D

9 Oct

So it’s been a busy summer and Tibetan singing bowls have been uppermost in my mind – the usual state of affairs. Sometimes the Universe conspires to make things happen, however, and that’s just exactly how things worked out for me. I have visitors often who want to explore the magical sounds of the bowls and I’m often happy to give that experience to friends and acquaintances, especially if the diary is a bit empty. It was becoming increasingly obvious that my place was a) too small and b) too noisy to achieve real relaxation. And then… my neighbour became dedicated to practising his electric guitar at any unpredictable moment of the day or night. It was an unworkable situation for me, resulting in the push I needed to move to a new location – something I’ve been procrastinating about for a while. I had always put off moving further out into the country because of the extra travelling involved in my part-time job teaching children with intellectual disabilities in the city but now I have moved to Dunmanway and, quite honestly, hand on heart, I’m wondering why I didn’t do this sooner! And, quite appropriately, this “D” that’s knocking around is all telling because since moving here the bowls have found a home of their own in one of the two spare rooms and this has rapidly become my preferred place to meditate. It’s “D” because this is now the note that is resonating with me so strongly. This is where feeling sounds has become established and allowed my heart to feel like it belongs. I am surrounded by the mountains of west Cork and in this area there are countless ancient monuments and mystical sites that make any short drive in the country a wonderful voyage of discovery. I’m looking forward to finding out so much more about this beautiful area and, most significantly, I’m looking forward to luxuriating in the D bowl and allowing the energy from my heart to flow through its resonance and out into nature and the world…

View of the west Cork mountains in Ireland looking southwest from Cloontiquirk, just one mile outside of Dunmanway town.

Dog Walking Heaven: Dog Walking for Two

24 Apr

Sun, snow, rain or wind… It doesn’t matter what kind of weather we face. As soon as we step outside the door, my dog is excited and ready for a walk. If only I could drum up as much enthusiasm for getting up and taking him out every morning. But like everything else, walking the dog is a habit that needs to be fostered. With practice, just like everything else, it gets easier.

But there are ways of approaching this activity so that it’s not a chore. Let’s face it, the dog never sees it as a chore so why can’t we capitalize on that enthusiasm and get excited about it too? Well, we need something to be excited about. Finding the enthusiasm to train your dog can be a trying matter, particularly if you come up against some of the more common dog training problems. But help is out there! The important thing is to realize that it’s not just your dog that’s going to benefit from the walk. By developing rituals and making the process into something you both enjoy and derive benefit from, the daily walk will become a pleasurable and bonding experience for you both. With a little know-how and persistence you can turn walking the dog into dog walking Nirvana for two.

Yoga To Strengthen Your Mind Or Yoga To Strengthen Your Body?

7 Apr

You can say Yoga to strengthen your body “or” Yoga to strengthen your mind but, in fact, it’s really a case of using Yoga to strengthen your body “and” your mind!

You can start out thinking that you can avoid all the esoteric and spiritual connotations connected with Yoga but it’ll be very hard to avoid the calming effect that doing the exercises has on your mind. This is similar to the focusing effect of using verbal affirmations but when combined with specific Yoga mantras the effect is electric.

Picture the scene: you learn a new posture to incorporate into your daily Yoga routine; this posture demands extreme concentration to find just the right position to get the maximum benefit from it; because of the angles, strength and discipline needed to hold the pose you have to concentrate and block out everything else.

What effect do you think this will have on your mind?

The beauty of learning new and demanding postures to use in your daily yoga program is that, by default, your mind becomes focused on your body. When your mind is engaged to this extent it becomes almost impossible to think of anything else. The result is a relaxed and empty mind.

In addition to the effect of strengthening your mind you can add extra movement to your Yoga exercise to increase the cardio-vascular element of your practice. This is particularly true of Ashtanga Yoga and results in a stronger body. But there’s always more than one way to approach a subject like this.

If you have the idea that something is going to be unpleasant and cause you pain then you’re unlikely to engage with it with any enthusiasm. If however, you use something to enhance the practice like powerful words or sounds, then it will raise your practice to a new level and give you renewed positive focus.

While putting your body through its paces with demanding physical postures and improving your immune and respiratory systems with regular and systematic breathing, your mind will focus with rejuvenated clarity. This is why you should use Yoga to strengthen your body and Yoga to strengthen your mind!

Chakra Healing In The Sauna: Steam, Chakras Music from Colors

31 Mar

I’ve been a member of the gym here for a short time and I love going to the sauna. I’m always aware of the energy flow within my body and the balance between my chakras as I work up a sweat. It’s so important to check in from time to time and to take note of the colors that drift into your mind as you workout. Having an understanding of these colors will give you a really good workout spiritually and allow you to practice that eye brow raising skill of intuiting healing needs. You may find you’re exercising in a cloud of yellow in your mind’s eye, for example, and that means you probably need to set more stringent boundaries for yourself and foster a bit of self-respect.

But as we can equally intuit the colors cascading around our aura, we can also get a boost from external sources. It’s simply a matter of sitting in a pool of the light you want but it’s not so readily available in every country. This is something I realized I was missing the other day as I sat in the dark sauna, enjoying the heat but… in darkness!

A sauna is such a great way to clear out your system but you can focus on cleansing a particular chakra if you physically bathe in colors. This is something that is routinely available in saunas in Germany, where I lived for several years, and it gives you the chance to give yourself a really deep spiritual workout, also.

As you soak up the heat of a sauna, it helps if it’s a light place filled with colorful rays. In Germany, where the lights change in a sequence that provides you with all the colors of the rainbow, you get to work through each chakra in a schedule that’s pre-determined for you. You don’t need to know the meanings of all the healing colors, or even the sequence they occur in the rainbow, but it can help you focus on the healing properties.

Sometimes you’ll find that some saunas will play bells to accompany the colors. This is such a wonderfully all encompassing experience.

Even without the bells, if you relax and let yourself dissolve into the color you’ll find that there’s a subliminal hum – the hum of the Universal energy – that resonates with your body. The colors change and the resonance alters – this becomes the most natural and spiritual melody in the world.

In the absence of lights in the sauna I attend, I’ve started to visualize the colors. Believe me, it works just as well but you need a bit more discipline and it helps if you have a vivid imagination. It means, however, that wherever you are experiencing the joys of detoxing in a sauna, you can reap the benefits of chakra colors in the sauna and the sound of healing colors music.