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Ever have “one of those weeks”?
Sure ya have, and so do I. Here’s a list of things that have broken down and become unusable in the past week:
My (new) earphones
Here is a list of things which need immediate repair in order to remain usable:
Sweetie’s computer (that one’s my fault, I tried to fix it!)
You’ll note that without a car, bike repairs are high priority… And without a computer, writing becomes slow and awkward on my iPod.
It’s just odd that so many things would break in such a short period of time. Maybe it’s just time for new stuff… Following a modest period of less stuff.
This week I was thinking of Eckhart Tolle, explaining that suffering is created when the world as it is does not meet our expectations, and it’s true. You expect things that were working yesterday to work today! When they don’t, it’s natural to protest this new paradigm, even mourn the loss of what you expected your life today to be like today, and going forward.
It can suck to feel like you’re slipping backward.
But of course, as my kind friend advised me, its okay to just look at the unexpected things in life and say, just for a second, “This sucks.” Even if its not a *real* problem, even as you count your blessings, it’s okay to take off your hat, spit on the ground and, in your best western accent mutter, “Awwww sheeeeeeeeiiiiiiit.”
So here’s my serenity prayer:
God give me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, take your name in vain just once, then move on to count my blessings.
EDIT: We can now add “Coffee Maker” to the list of broken things.
What is going on???
Does everyone know about Amway? It was pretty big in the 90’s. It was a sales model based on a pyramid, promising great income to anyone willing to do the networking with a positive attitude.
Well Amway is back, and this time it’s NEW AGE! Have ya noticed it? The new age world is FULL OF THEM!!!
And they’re making me a little irritated. I wouldn’t normally choose to blog about something that bugs me, (that is SOOOO 2001) but in this case I’m seeing people I like get sucked into the model, and I just want to draw attention to it.
It started when one of my favourite radio shows began having a lot of similar people on air. These people didn’t always identify as psychic, but rather “intuitive coaches” or they’d qualify it: intuitive financial planning, intuitive life coach, heart-centered living, heart-centered business. Most of them have written a book.
It sounds great and it’s almost ALWAYS women.
These presenters all seem to have a specific formula for their pitch: a compelling personal story in which they overcome great adversity to become the happier / healthier / richer person they now are, they casually mention a “six-figure income” and they have a strong spiritual edge to their rhetoric which includes knowing how to talk to the universe in the correct way, so they get the results they want.
The formula works like this: Go on an internet radio show that’s free for people to access and has a regular audience. Offer a special free thing to the listeners to get them to go to your website.
Once the audience goes to the website to exchange their email address for this free thing, they’ll notice another free thing they can sign up for, which is usually a free tele-seminar or webinar. If they didn’t notice it at the time, they’ll soon be getting emails for it.
The seminar does have some useful information; however you have to listen through at least an hour of sales-pitch before they give you anything real. This real, helpful information comes after a more in-depth sharing of their personal story and reiteration of sentiments about having trust in god and faith in yourself enough to take a leap (spend your money.) By the end you kind of feel like a chicken-shit if you *don’t* fork out the hundreds or thousands of dollars for the “Start your dream life!” course this guru is offering, and the guru probably ended the seminar by giving a small amount of useful information with the caveat that “this will make a tiny difference but if you take my course, it will make a HUGE difference!”
Neither my partner nor I have forked out hundreds of dollars for a seminar, but I’ve seen a few of my psychic and animal communicator friends take up the flag. You know what happens? They ruin their facebook feeds! Suddenly, all they talk about is the “heart-centered business”. They post and re-post the same slick graphics and start sending me facebook invites to seminars they’re hosting, where they will share the secrets of running a successful heart-centered business.
Could it be that these thousand-dollar live-your-dream business models are simply about selling how-to-live-your-dream seminars? It seems so, especially when “list-building” comes into effect.
Soon after the seminar invitations, there come the emails asking you to share a link for some free stuff with all of your contacts. This free thing might look *really* good – it might tell you how to stop working a job you hate and start running your own life by running a Heart-Centered Business! But wait, there’s more! If you pass this email along, you’ll get something exclusive and free too, maybe an invitation to a webinar where you’ll learn how to start YOUR OWN Heart-Centered Business!
The tricky thing is that this model actually does work for the people at the top who probably are earning six figures. But is it going to work for my friends who tirelessly exploit their own contact lists? Probably not, because they’re at the base of the pyramid. They’re likely to make a few thousand dollars in a year, which might be enough to string them along for a while, but the thing about a pyramid scheme is there just *has to* be a lot of people at the bottom making next to nothing for it to work.
The crap-part of it is that these Live Your Dream! Business models usually come with “regular monthly support” with one of the top-tier gurus who have a vested interest in keeping you IN THE PYRAMID. They’ll be relentlessly positive about your potential (implication being if you’re feeling skeptical THAT is why you’re failing, because the universe knows you’re don’t really BELIEVE!) They’ll point to other people who became successful in the program quite quickly. They’ll probably invite you to an annual face-to-face gathering.
It’s Amway, folks, and it’s preying upon the hearts and minds of some of the sweetest, most positive, open-hearted people I know, just like Amway did in the 90’s. It’s the Ultra-positive YOU CAN DO IT motivational tapes but repackaged with language like “power of attraction” and “live from your heart”. Worst of all, the subtle underlying message in it all is “If this doesn’t make you rich and happy, it’s because of something YOU did WRONG.”
It has the potential to do way more damage than good, so please be careful, my beautiful internet friends.
Be open, be positive and be SMART. Be discerning, be practical, be grounded.
I’ve written more than a few entries in the past year about the passing of my brown tabby cat Leo and his potential reincarnation.
Reincarnation is a funny thing. I was pretty damn sure our kittens had been born last spring, but they didn’t materialize in our life. This may have been because when the nearest humane society had a “two for one” kitten sale in June, we choose not to go. It just didn’t feel right, we would have been pushing ourselves, our energy, our car and our finances to adopt two kittens last summer. So we didn’t go and since then Leo has continued to visit in spirit.
I think that *could have* been an opportunity for us, but the neat thing about reincarnation is that it’s not set in stone. People can get whipped up into a lot of anxiety about finding their reincarnated pet (let this entry demonstrate my own obsession!) The truth is, when you find the right one, it will FEEL right and easy.
One thing I didn’t mention in ANY of the above articles is the names “Winter” or “Mikey”. These names have been around since we first started talking to Snowball about his incarnation into our family in 2011, before Mocha or Leo had passed away. Repeatedly during this reading and other ones, Snowball used the names “Winter” and “Mikey” while showing us a fluffy white kitten with blue eyes as himself. We thought that “Winter” and “Mikey” were potential names he’d like to have in his next life with us. I wish I’d written about it.
While reincarnation can and should be an easy, straight-forward thing, it can also be just as complicated as you choose to make it. When Sweetie & I choose to let pass the opportunity to adopt two kittens from the humane society, I found myself obsessively locking into the idea of pediatric spay/neuters. Any kitten we got through the humane society would already be spayed or neutered, even if it was an infant 8 week old kitten.
I will admit that I do still carry some sorrow and philosophical regret about Leo’s passing. Unlike Mocha who passed peacefully and painlessly after a stroke, Leo I believe died of kidney failure. I have a sneaky suspicion that the dry kibble I fed him all of his life caused him to die prematurely of kidney failure, which I now know is the leading cause of death in housecats. Sometimes I wonder if I’d fed him more canned food, if I’d switched him to a better kibble, if if if if if, MAYBE he could have been with me longer. I know I did the best I could for him, and the best I could for Mocha (who told me just two months before she died that her food was shortening her life.)
All of my animals have been rescues, and while their care has not been perfect, their lives were undoubtedly better with me than in their former circumstances. I can console myself in knowing that although I couldn’t give Mocha the VERY BEST, I did give her a great life. Before she came to me, Mocha lived the first three years of her life at the end of a chain in a back yard, before being tied to the doors of the humane society overnight and watching her family drive away. Mocha was pulled from the humane society before her scheduled euthanasia, and spent the next several months of her life in a chaotic “rescue” run by a woman with a big heart but few resources. This rescue was shut down a year later, but at the time of Mocha’s adoption, the house was a maze of make-shift barriers and a cacophony of barking. I assumed I’d caught the rescue in a bad moment, but I thought back to it when it took Mocha six months to clear the tapeworms and giardia she’d come home with.
Such is the background of a rescue animal, and such experiences do not detract from their ability to be loving, devoted, ideal family members. But this is not the background I want for my reincarnated Leo.
When it comes right down to it, I just can’t stand the idea of Leo coming back to me and experiencing one moment of uncertainty or discomfort. I don’t want him born to an independent semi-feral female. Unsprayed female cats are very uncommon creatures for responsible pet owners to have. Those who can provide proper nutrition, safe housing and a loving environment for their female cats nearly always provide sterilization too!
And any kitten born to a semi-feral mother would be potentially exposed to the disease, stress and malnutrition typical of “unwanted” kittens. Most of these kittens are separated from their mothers much too early, and those who end up in the humane society will certainly endure a pediatric spay or neuter before I have an opportunity to find them – never mind the multiple changes in environment, and the general stress of a shelter.
So that leaves breeders. There’s something I’m much more comfortable with! A responsible breeder would have the dam and sire on site, pampered, well nourished, well-loved animals from the day of their birth. If I provided Leo with an opportunity to come in through a breeder, his kittenhood would be one of warmth, nutrition, gentle routine, nurtured development and security from the moment of his arrival. He would have the best environment and his dam would be as relaxed and healthy as felinely possible.
The kitten would know no uncertainty and would transition from the place of his birth directly into his forever home without any side-visits to rescues or shelter facilities. I couldn’t give Leo the *very best* care while he was my first cat, but now I am in the position to give him the very best life as my third cat.
I know I’m being silly here. Ultimately, Leo is not attached to HOW he arrives, this is all about me and what I need. I’m not saying this is the best way to welcome a reincarnated pet into your home, it’s just one way of many… but I’ll admit I’m a control freak (Sweetie will vouch for that) and if I can control the circumstances around Leo’s reincarnation, buy GUM! That’s what I’ll do!
So this brings me back to the very early conversations with Snowball, and the names Winter and Mikey.
In the past few weeks I’ve been researching breeders. I was somewhat interested in ragdolls, but I’m just not that drawn to them. What I really want is a Maine Coon. Leo was part Maine Coon, and although he was short-haired, his heritage showed in his massive bone structure, his muscled body, his elongated face and his huge tufted paws. His presence was larger than a housecat, it was lion-like, hence his name. When he was young, you could almost see the aura of a ruffled mane around his head and neck.
When I look at pictures of purebred tabby Maine coons, I see Leo. I started to research Maine coon breeders in British Columbia, and I’ve contacted a couple – but surprisingly most breeders in British Columbia will have their kittens spayed or neutered at eight or nine weeks of age before allowing them to go to their new homes at twelve weeks of age! I was so surprised that a breed enthusiast who is dedicated to creating the most robustly healthy examples of the breed would deny such large cats the health benefits of early puberty. I wondered if the breeders were fixing their kittens to ensure the new owners wouldn’t cross breed them – there’s getting to be a serious problem with “designer cats” resulting from irresponsible “backyard breeding”. These are animals bred for curiosity or profit’s sake, often two purebred cats cross-bred to produce a “new breed”. My dog Happy, a papillion/poodle cross, is a casualty of ridiculous backyard breeding fads.
Then I found a breeder in Ontario. At first I wasn’t seriously interested in purchasing a kitten so far from home, but then I saw the pictures of the females – and one of them was all white.
I’ve never seen a white Maine coon before – I didn’t know they existed. Typically, white versions of certain breeds are undesirable or unhealthy, but I couldn’t get her out of my mind. When I brought up the website to show to Sweetie later that day, my eyes finally moved away from the picture of the cat to the text of her name: Winter.
Holy crap! Well, maybe it’s a coincidence. She *is* a white cat after all, Winter is an appropriate name.
But damn, I just can’t get her out of my head. I went back on the website today and my eyes snapped to the name of the large orange male. His name? Mikey.
Seriously. Could Snowball have been telling us three years ago the names of his sire and dam?
Well, honestly, probably not. That’s how it works with reincarnation – they will give you signals that confirm for you when you’re on the right track, when it’s a good path for them to come in. The cues “Mikey” and “Winter” could have come in while I picked up kittens from the humane society – someone could have yelled, “Hey Mikey – are you working this winter?” So when you find these clues it doesn’t mean I *have to* go this way, but it’s an indication that yes, this is an open path way.
And then, as I obsessively perused every corner of this breeder’s website, I found a photo of one of Winter’s kittens who was featured in a veterinarian cat anatomy textbook. This handsome model’s name?
Actually, Snowball is the name the breeder gave the kitten. When he moved to his new home, his people named him “Angel”.
I’m not saying this is decided yet, I’m just starting conversations with the breeder, but maybe, just maybe, this is the way we’ll go. No promises people, we’ll see.