Archives for the month of: January, 2012

Synchronicity:  the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality

It’s really amazing how the Universe works when we’re on the ‘right’ path.  And I use the word ‘right’ meaning, whatever it might be that is in alignment with our true selves.  What is right for me, might not be (and probably isn’t) ‘right’ for anyone else.  You know you’re on the right path when things just seem to click, life flows instead of ebbing, people come into your life who enrich your experiences and so forth.  Whenever I veer off my right path, I feel as if I’m swimming upstream –  in mud.  Nothing works.  Sometimes I ‘get it’ immediately and step back to evaluate, other times I keep pushing and trying to force things to work out the way I want them to – this never works as it means I’m out of balance and not listening to that inner voice that keeps me focused and on my right path.

When we’re on our right path … it’s a truly delightful journey! Yes, there are still bumps and in the road, but  the Universe sends us people and situations that we didn’t even know could exist – that’s when the magic of synchronicity is at play in our lives!  The only way to have synchronicity is to step back and ALLOW … you can’t force it, you can’t even will it to come, you have only to breath, relax, let go and listen to your inner voice.  It will never steer you wrong, but you do have to ‘listen’ with a quiet and open heart.  You know it’s not there when you get that ‘ick’ feeling.  Sometimes your brain is telling you to go one way but you know deep inside that isn’t the path for you.  No matter how much it logically makes sense, it’s just not going to work out if  you have to force things.  Where there is internal conflict, there is never synchronicity.

As some of you reading this might know, my path has led me to Daisy’s Place Retriever Rescue.  I didn’t plan to start a non-profit rescue, nor would I necessarily have chosen it if I had any inkling of what it would entail on a day to day basis.  However, I know with every fiber of my being that this is my right path.  Although it’s often hard, heart breaking work (with no monetary rewards), it feeds my soul in a way that is hard to describe.  It’s also a bit of a sticky subject with my husband as it’s not on his right path and he feels – rightly so – that it takes a lot of my energy and focus away from my own business and producing an income.  And let’s face it, unless you’re a trust fund baby, all of us need to earn a living these days! So I work hard at balancing rescue with my jewelry design business and the rest of my life.  It doesn’t always work out the way I intend, but again, if I listen to my own inner voice, things ‘just happen’ as they are meant to – synchronicity more often then not brings exactly what I need at any given moment to let me know I’m on my right path.

Odin - a very special Daisy Dog

I could share any number of examples of synchronicity at this point, but the following illustrates it beautifully.  About a month ago I was asked to take a large husky-shepherd mix into rescue.  Odin was featured in my blog “Compassion Leads to Balance“.  His dad was moving and couldn’t keep him and his housemate Rheba, a 9 year old Lab.  Now keep in mind, Daisy’s Place is dedicated to saving older Retrievers – Odin doesn’t have a bit of Retriever in all of his 110 lbs.  I agonized over what to do, Daisy’s Place was full with no open foster homes, but something kept bringing me back to his picture and his dad’s heartfelt pleas to save him.  For those of you not in rescue, let me explain that I get literally hundreds of these emails a week, so this was not an unusual situation.  I have no idea why, but I just knew I was meant to save Odin – and Rheba.  The minute I stopped listening to my brain which was screaming “what are you doing?!?!”, a foster home magically appeared that was absolutely the perfect fit for Odin.  I also found a loving foster home for Rheba.  There’s more to this story.  A few weeks later we had a ‘meet and greet’ where our fosters bring their adoptable Daisy Dogs so they can have the opportunity to meet potential adopters.  One of my fosters brought her Daisy Dog, Violet – and the minute she met Odin she exclaimed “he looks just like my Valentine that I adopted from the shelter 9 years ago!”  As soon as I got home I emailed Odin’s former dad and he responded that yes, he had adopted Odin from the same shelter at exactly the same time Kate got Valentine – 9 years ago – they were siblings separated at the shelter.  In that moment, there was no doubt, Odin was meant to be a Daisy Dog!  I’m not sure where this story will go from here, but I do know that synchronicity led me to save Odin and just looking at his sweet face fills my heart with joy!

Embrace your journey and listen to your inner voice, stay on your ‘right’ path – you’ll know when you’re exactly where you’re meant to be – synchronicity will whisper in your ear and enrich your life in ways previously unimaginable!

blessings,

Melissa

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I’m beginning to think that I should rename my blog to “Everything I know I Learned from a Grey Muzzle” as it seems these amazing creatures have so much to teach us if we open our hearts – and obviously, they are a constant inspiration to me!

I’ll keep today’s post short and sweet – I received the following photo and text via email, I’ve seen it before but it always touches my heart.  Having loved and lost many precious animals in my life, I know that if they could speak the words, they would each tell me to keep my heart open after they are gone. Each of my beloved fur kids bring so much love and joy to my life and when they leave, it’s always much too soon.  I truly believe that when they make their journey to the rainbow bridge they send the next one who needs my love and care.  The love that I shared with each of them is honored when a new bff (best fur friend!) comes into my heart and home.

It takes a courageous heart to open again after losing a beloved animal companion, but the rewards are invaluable.  As we open our hearts, the healing begins.  Those that are gone are never forgotten, they live on in our hearts and memories forever.

In memory of my beloved Chloe, Rosey, Sophie, and Daisy – and in honor of all the precious souls we couldn’t save and who never knew love on this earth.

Blessings,

Melissa

The other night I attended the first meeting of a newly formed spiritual growth book club.  I was so excited as this is in perfect alignment with my commitment to choose balance and get back on my spiritual path!  The evening was everything I had hoped – a group of like minded individuals (ok, I’ll spell it out in case you’re wondering – all women!) – all of us seekers on this magical mystical journey we call life.  We discussed the first chapter of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, a powerful book that I read many years ago and obviously need to re-read as I’ve seemingly forgotten – or have chosen to ignore (hmmm … that is a topic on all its own!) – the very valuable messages contained on each page.  At some point in the evening, talk turned to the issue of ‘trust’ and the law of attraction.  The idea that if we trust we’re safe and all is well in our world, then it will be.  But when we start worrying and living in fear, the Universe will reflect that back to us and give us examples of how we’re ‘right’.  Being a big believer in the law of attraction, I started reflecting on my own experiences and issues with trust.  When, I wondered, did I stop trusting that all is well in my world?

I was reminded of a time when I first started dating my husband.  I lived in the city and never worried about locking my door – I would leave my front door open with only the screen door (unlocked) for ‘protection’ and never gave it a second thought.  And just in case you’re wondering, this was before I had four large dogs!  At the time it was just me and my little Cairn terrier and my cat.  One day Micheal came over and was aghast that I had just left myself ‘wide open’ and didn’t I know that it was dangerous and any number of horrible fates could result by my carelessness?  Little by little, I started ‘protecting’ myself – first I started keeping my front door closed and locked, then I added a padlock to my gate and so it goes.  Now I live in a big house with a 7’ wall surrounding our courtyard, an alarm system and four large dogs – and guess what?  Not only was my car broken into last year, but I was robbed – in the middle of the day!  An intruder entered our courtyard, came into my studio while I was no more than 10’ away in my yoga room, and walked off with my purse, smart phone, an envelope containing hundreds of dollars in donations to my rescue – Daisy’s Place, other misc. items, and most importantly my sense of security!

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming my husband.  But I do know that once we open our minds to fear and the seed is planted, slowly over time we begin to have that fear validated as we start to believe that the world is a scary place.  Everywhere we turn there are examples of crime, violence and natural disasters of every sort imaginable.  But this has always been the case – so why then did I choose to start believing in fear and how did I lose my trust that all is well in my world?

I hate to admit that this sense of anxiety and fear extends beyond my safety at home – it has somehow seeped into many aspects of my life.  Another example is that I often find myself paralyzed with fear while driving on the freeway.  When did this happen???  When I was younger, I’d hop in my car and drive hundreds of miles, in inclement weather no less, without giving it another thought.  At one point in my life, I even went flying in an A4 (the jets that were flown by the Blue Angels) – I couldn’t wait to climb up and get strapped in and soar up into the clouds, thrilled with each ‘loop-de-loop’, plastered in my seat as we ‘pulled’ 5 Gs.  I had complete trust in the pilot – and the Universe!  I think back to those carefree days with a mixture of longing and disbelief.  Again, I ask myself, what happened?  How have I become so fearful?  When did I lose my trust – and most importantly, why?

Precious

As often happens when we’re ‘seeking’, we start viewing the world in a different light.  Yesterday I picked up Precious, a sweet little chocolate Lab mix, from our vet’s office to take her to her new foster home.  To give you a little background – this adorable little girl was found wandering about 3 hours away from Charleston.  She was picked up by animal control and brought to the shelter – what we in rescue refer to as ‘the scary place’ for you can only imagine how terrifying it must be for these poor animals to suddenly find themselves locked in a cage with hundreds of other scared animals, barking, crying and meowing. Precious spent almost two weeks at the shelter and nobody came to claim her so she ended up on the ‘put to sleep’ list.  I had a volunteer pick her up, where she was driven an hour and a half – with a strange man – to meet another volunteer (again, a stranger) who drove her the rest of the way to Charleston.  She was then taken to the vet, checked out and then she got in the car with me.  As I sat talking to her and reassuring her that she was safe, I looked over and Precious had this big smile on her face.  Her tongue was hanging out, her ears were perked in anticipation and she seemed truly joyful, content – and you guessed it, trusting!  I was once again reminded of the many valuable lessons these amazing creatures have to teach us.  If this sweet dog can be so trusting, not knowing where she is or where she’s going, why then, can’t I do the same?  I can’t begin to imagine the terror she’s gone through in the past several weeks, and yet, she hopped in that first volunteer’s car with total trust and an open heart.

Thank you Precious for reminding me that the world can be a safe and loving place, I have only to trust and believe!

many blessings,
Melissa

Most of us that are on any sort of spiritual path (even those of us who are prone to veering off from time to time!), know that one of the best ways to maintain balance is to practice gratitude.  Sounds simple, right?  All we need to do is to take a few moments each day to remind ourselves of just how blessed we really are – and yet, at least for me, this is sometimes easier said than done.  January is always a difficult month for me.  I find it very hard to get motivated after all the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  As a jewelry designer, my business comes to a stand still in January.  This is a time that I ‘should’ be recharging my batteries, indulging in hours of ‘play time’ in my studio, exploring new creative outlets and letting my creative juices flow.  Instead I’m often paralyzed with anxiety and find myself stressing over ‘not enough to do’.  I’m a deadline worker – and yes, I’ll admit – a procrastinator.  If I have 20 things on my to do list – and they must have a deadline – I’ll get them all done and manage to clean out my closets, too!  BUT, if I don’t have any impending deadlines, instead of being grateful for the free time I’ve got, I find myself floundering – and stressing.  Will I ever have another trunk show?  What if I don’t have any new creative ideas?  How will I pay my bills next month?  And so goes the little voice in the back of my mind.

January Daisy

Today I walked into my courtyard and was greeted by this beautiful, cheery gerbera daisy!  We’re having an unusually warm (70s plus!) January and it feels more like Spring than the dead of winter.  Just seeing this happy flower made my heart do a little dance and I was reminded of how grateful I am to live in Charleston – and just to be alive and able to experience this simple pleasure!  Then I started thinking of everything else I’m grateful for – I get to wear sandals today and I don’t have to bundle up in winter clothes, I’m meeting a good friend for lunch and we can dine al fresco, I’ll be able to take my dogs for a nice long walk and enjoy the sunshine … you get the picture, acknowledging my gratitude for this one lone flower in my garden, started an avalanche of things to be grateful for in my life.

As I sat looking at this daisy, my creative muse returned and now I can’t wait to get started on new pieces for my Daisy Collection!  I’m taking a metal smithing class and am anxious to get back into my studio to start working on a copper daisy pendant.  And, I’m feeling gratitude – gratitude for this creative inspiration that has reminded me of two of my passions – jewelry design and Daisy’s Place Retriever Rescue!

I’m the first to admit, we all need a gentle reminder now and then, to count our blessings!  It’s easy to get bogged down with stress and worry and to focus on scarcity rather than abundance.  What are you grateful for today?

with blessings and gratitude,

Melissa

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the meaning of compassion lately.  Being in rescue, I find that it’s often easy to condemn others for their actions, i.e., giving up their animals, without really putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes.   Animal advocates are a passionate bunch, with huge hearts and boundless compassion for the animals they are dedicated to saving.  BUT, I’ve been noticing lately that there is often a real lack of compassion for other people – mostly for those who are giving up their animals.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people who just don’t care about the animals that they commited to caring for – and I’m not making excuses for them.  However, I’m receiving more and more pleas from people who just have no place left to turn.  Those who are losing their homes and are forced to move – unable to take their beloved pets with them, those who are ill and can no longer care for their animals, victims of divorce, the list of reasons is never ending.  As a dedicated rescuer and dog/cat mom, it’s tempting to judge those who are giving up their animals.  I used to say, “I would NEVER do that, I’d sleep in my car before I’d give up my fur babies!”

And then one day, I asked myself “How do I know what I would do if I found myself in such dire circumstances?”  This simple question has helped me open my heart to those who need my compassion – and surprisingy, has helped me gain balance.  When we are constantly judging others and passing condemnation, it’s easy to start seeing the glass as half empty.  I’m constantly amazed by so many in rescue who say over and over, “people suck”.  And yet, these animals that we are so very dedicated to saving, know nothing but unconditional love, they have much to teach us about compassion if we only pay attention.  My life has been so enriched by the many generous, loving and caring people who have crossed my path because of rescue.  Once I decided to start having compassion for those who were surrendering their animals, this too, changed my perception and my daily experiences.

I reecently received an email from a man who was in dire financial straights, moving and couldn’t keep his two 9 year old dogs.  Again, tempting to immediately pass judgement and think “why can’t he find some place to live that will allow him to keep his dogs?” – instead, I emailed him back and told him I would do all I could to help.  Unfortunately, the timing was really bad – he was moving in a matter of days and I didn’t have any open foster homes at Daisy’s Place and it was a holiday weekend so boarding was full.  With a very heavy heart I emailed him back that he’d have to take his dogs to the shelter, but that I would do everything in my power to find a place for them before they were put to sleep.  One of his dogs was a beautiful, BIG (110 lb) teddy bear – a husky/shepherd mix of some sort, and thus didn’t even fall into the parameters of being a Daisy Dog (we save Retrievers).  I began emailing other rescues to see if anyone could take Odin, the non-Retriever, but no luck – all the resues were full.  I had already determined that I would save Rheba, Odin’s 9 year old black Lab companion, but time was running out.  The man emailed me that he had taken his two beloved dogs to the shelter and that he knew it was just a matter of time before they would be killed – most likely a few days.  He told me how he cried when he said goodbye to them and he prayed that I could find a way to save them, but he understood if I couldn’t.  I broke down sobbing when I read his email and I just couldn’t get Odin out of my mind.  I emailed the shellter and told them to hold both dogs – I would come and get them within the next few days.  I had no plan, other than to save these two precious souls who had obviously been so very loved.

Odin

Once I met Odin there was no way that I could send him to another rescue!  He’s an adorable, sweet, happy dog and he – and his previous “dad” – touched my heart.  Both Odin and Rheba are in loving foster homes and are doing great.  I’ve emailed photos to their dad to let him know that they are safe and loved.  I know that this man needed my compassion, and I in turn, was given the gift of being able to do something to help another fellow human being – and his dogs.

Being compassionate helped me find my inner balance and that joyful place that feels so much better than judgement and condemnation!  As we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. today, let us be reminded of his words ” Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

many blessings,

Melissa

For as long as I can remember Friday the 13th has always been a lucky day for me.  When I was younger, some of my best dates were had on this day of the year and I’ve always felt a certain sense of anticipation when a Friday the 13th was approaching!  Maybe that’s because I’ve always been one of those people who refuses to believe in bad luck or anything that is ‘icky’ or dark.  (I once had a therapist tell me that all I wanted to see was the ‘pretty’ side of life and that I needed to explore the darker corners of my mind and emotions.  WHY would I possibly want to do that??? – OK, so that’s a topic for another day.)

Back to Friday the 13th … about 15 years ago – yikes! – I read a wonderful book by Marianne Williamson, “A Woman’s Worth”, and in it she describes this much feared day so beautifully:  “We are used to thinking of Friday the thirteenth as bad luck.  In fact Friday the thirteenth was the day the witches gathered.  When the patriarchal system, headed by the early church, began to squelch the power of women, witches were deemed evil, and many great women were deemed witches.  Their meeting time, then, was seen as bad luck rather than as what it truly was:  a time for women to gather and share energy and pray together and heal.”  Those words resonated deep within me and from that day forward I’ve always CELEBRATED Friday the 13th – sometimes with other witches – empowered women! – and sometimes quietly alone, lighting a candle and honoring my inner witch, Goddess and Wonder Woman!

I did this collage several years ago and have shared it with very few.  Actually, I had forgotten about it until today when I was mulling over my thoughts on Friday the 13th and what I was going to write in this blog.  It seems appropriate that I finally throw caution to the wind and expose my inner Wonder Woman today for all the world (or however many might read this post) to see!

My Inner Wonder Woman

If you’re a woman reading this today, I hope that I’ve inspired you to honor your greatness and all that you have to give to the world – and yourself!  And by chance, if there are any of the male types reading this – surprise the witch/Goddess/Wonder Woman in your life by honoring her today, show her how grateful you are for everything she brings to your life each and every day!

Right now, more than ever, the world  needs feminine energy – our compassion, empathy, tenderness, strength and magic!

Blessings,

Melissa

I have never been so intimdated by an blank screen – where to begin?  Guess I’ll just jump in and hope that my first blog post makes some sort of sense!  For anyone reading this, please bear with me, I’m totally new to blogging and will probably stumble through it for a while. My reason for starting a blog?  Like so many women, I find myself constantly juggling a multitude of roles on a daily basis.  Sorry guys, I know you lead busy lives too, but let’s face facts, women have a harder time staying balanced – we tend to put ourselves and our own needs at the bottom of the never ending ‘to do’ lists on a daily basis.  Whether we have busy careers or are stay at home moms, women almost always put everyone else’s needs first and it’s no wonder we find ourselves so out of balance.  Like many women, I wear a multitude of hats – artist, business owner, wife, dog/cat mom, friend and daughter, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something!  I have to say that, for me, the additional title of animal rescuer and founder of Daisy’s Place Retriever Rescue, tipped the scales.

Before rescue, there were crazy busy days, but I still managed to practice mindful living on a fairly regular basis – yoga, long walks with my dogs, lunch with friends, Sunday afternoon antique hunting with my husband – all these things helped me to slow down and enjoy living in the moment.  And then one day, quite unexpectedly and without any plan, I jumped into rescue.  It’s one of the most rewarding parts of my life and a path that I’m certain I’m meant to follow – but it has also turned my life upside down and inside out!  Rescue came into my life and balance got lost along the wayside.

So in this new year, I’ve promised myself to CHOOSE balance.  And yes, it’s a choice – each and every day.  I hope this blog will assist me in my quest, and may inspire some of you to share how you’re creating a balanced life.  Some days I’ll write about rescue and the intense emotional roller coaster of racing to save lives, but that’s not the focus of this blog.  Although it’s a work in progress – much like life! – the intention of this blog is to remind me of my many passions – jewelry design, yoga, knitting, cooking, decorative painting and interior design, to name a few – and to assist me in blending them all into a balanced life!

Thank  you for joining me on this exploration.  In the spirit of balance, it’s time for me to get off the computer and onto my yoga mat.

blessings,

Melissa