Bad Cat

While reading some of my spiritual books, I came across a quote by Abraham-Hicks and wanted to share it with you:

“What is a bad thing, anyway? A bad thing is something different than what I want. Who gets to decide what a bad thing is? Jerry and Ester watched a mother bird lay her eggs in the nest, and then the neighbor’s cat ate one of the baby birds after they had hatched. Esther Hicks said, “bad cat!”, and the cat said, “good bird!”

How often do we encounter a similar story in our lives, thus creating resistance? Love and wellness cannot flow when we experience resistance, and the judgment and opinion “bad cat” becomes a hindrance to our balance and harmony. Things are often so much more complicated than we think, as is colorfully demonstrated in the quote. The cat looked for food, and there was no malice or ulterior motive in its hunting. It found the bird and its survival was guaranteed for another day. Yes, the poor baby bird gave its life and didn’t see another sunny day, but that’s how nature’s food chain works. Although I am the sentimental type and feel sad for the bird, I know I cannot judge the cat for doing what is natural and necessary for its survival. Realizing that I can analyze circumstances without having to judge, I’ll approach other situations with the same mindset, an objective and open mind, and leave any judgmental feelings behind.

Pondering some more about the quote and what it means to me, I decided that in the future I will stop myself when “bad cat” comes into my mind, and replace it with “bad for one, good for another” bringing me to a neutral feeling. A small thing, but it might bring valuable changes.

During my reflection, I also realized that often I don’t spend the time and energy necessary to see the whole picture. A rapid judgment, a formed opinion, and I run with it. Does this sound familiar? I’ll change this as well on the basis that if it is important enough for me to form an opinion, I owe it to myself to explore the big picture. If I am not willing to do so, I’ll do like above with the “bad cat – bad for one and good for another” and strive for neutrality. Neutrality is not what I usually look for. I search for positivity and good feelings. But if I cannot summon positive aspects, neutrality allows me at least to develop better feeling thoughts.

I wanted to share these reflections with you and hope you will be able to relate to them. We all have situations calling for opinions, and as long as we can avoid resistance or reach neutrality, our well-being is positively affected.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Affirmations


Positive and meaningful affirmations are potent, and they can be life-changing. When you use them regularly, you will feel the shift bringing you closer to the desired results. Tailor them to your life and dreams, and they are personal and unlimited. They can address all areas of your life, for example, health, relationships, professional career, and wherever you would like to effect change. Put the affirmations into your own words, feel them, and repeat them as often as you wish.

I have used affirmations for many years and have adapted them to changes in my life. At this time, I mostly aspire to simplicity in my spiritual approach and my daily life. How do I do this? I use the following affirmation as frequently as I can. Stressful situations calm down quickly when one repeats an affirmation and breathes deeply.

One of the affirmations I like to use is the following:

“I am living a life filled with love, compassion, empathy, joy, and laughter.”

A life without love would be sad and unfulfilling. Being loved and loving others is uplifting and brings us harmony. It fulfills deep needs within us and is the basis for other beneficial feelings.

Compassion, feeling concern for the suffering of others, should not be confused with pity. Compassion is born out of the feeling of love, and you can imagine it as offering a helping hand or a supporting shoulder, bringing strength and comfort.

Empathy is the ability to understand and listen to others and to feel their need. Without love, one cannot feel empathy. Empathy doesn’t mean we tell others what to do, because we think we know what they need, but instead, we listen with the heart and find the right word to bring comfort. Imagine it as gently stroking the back of a friend, caring but not overbearing.

Joy speaks for itself. It is different for everyone, but it is uplifting and cheerful. We can only feel joy when we are loving and caring. Joy comes from a happy heart.

Laughter makes us happy; it lifts us, and we feel joyful. It is said that laughter is the best medicine, and there is some truth to it. It is also contagious and used therapeutically in “laughter yoga.”

Try to compose your affirmations, in your words, in the present tense and clearly outlining what you would like to achieve. Repeat them regularly. The mind is a powerful tool; take advantage of it.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

Success and Happiness

Many people measure success according to how much money they have or how high they have climbed on their professional and social ladder. But in reality, real success is how happy we are. We like to be successful, but when it is not accompanied by happiness, success can leave an empty and fleeting feeling, and we cannot enjoy our achievements. We all have read stories of actors, singers, or lotto winners, for example, who couldn’t cope with their newfound wealth. Although they were able to satisfy virtually any material wish, they were unable to enjoy their abundance.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life;
It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking”.

Marcus Aurelius Antonius

As outlined in the quote above, true happiness comes from within, no one can give it to you, and you cannot buy it. But happiness is available to everyone without discrimination, as long as we believe in ourselves and are willing to take the necessary steps lined out below. By improving our thinking, we open the gates to a happier life.

Yes, it is that simple, but is it easy? Everyone can find happiness within; it all depends on motivation and desire. To change one’s way of thinking requires practice and determination, it doesn’t happen overnight, and we have to be patient with ourselves. Wanting to replace unwanted thoughts, feelings of unworthiness, criticism, and judgments, etc., is the first step, and then comes the second step: “How can we replace those troublesome thoughts?” A positive affirmation or mantra tailored to our specific needs and desires is an effective way to calm the mind and allow pleasant thoughts. Meditation may give us the peace of mind required to replace our disturbing thoughts with positive ones gently. We can also use memories of pleasant and enjoyable experiences. I use affirmations often, and they work well and rapidly for me. I like to feel happy and at peace, but my health challenges sometimes generate dark clouds that roll in and obscure my mind. Repeating my affirmations make the clouds disburse, and the sky becomes bright again. At this time of my life, success and happiness translate being in peace. I no longer have material aspirations having left those behind when my life became finite.

You might want to explore what success means to you. Success is a personal goal, and it is an exciting road to travel. There is no right or wrong, and only your aspirations will guide your journey. Allowing the happiness within to be part of this journey will bring harmony and full enjoyment.

Finding happiness is the most significant success one can find, and it allows us to enjoy one’s life to the fullest. Traveling in the fast lane can be lots of fun, as long as we don’t lose happiness along the way. With happiness planted solidly within, we can fly as high as we want and appreciate life and what it has to offer at the same time.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Inspiration

Many sources of inspiration surround us, and they can touch us as long as we are open and receptive. Many things can be inspirational: people, books, pictures, quotes, movies, dreams, or you might have a brilliant idea stimulating you to reach new heights. I have been inspired many times, bringing me to who I am. Some shaped my professional life, others motivated me to pursue certain spiritual studies, and others gave me the desire to emigrate twice in my life. Here is a straightforward inspiration, which has lasted for over 45 years and which I still enjoy every day.

One of my friends in Brussels had a little Yorkie, and I was madly in love with this sweetie. She called her Shahbanu, meaning “Empress Consort of Iran.” This little girl was the inspiration for my first Yorkie, followed by three other girls and the little boy now living with us. My love for Yorkies was born many years ago in Brussels, and it has never dimmed. I had the inspiration, but I had to make practical arrangements to allow it to blossom. The apartment I lived in didn’t allow pets. I canceled my lease and moved into a pet-friendly one. I never had a dog, and of course, we didn’t have Google or other search engines at that time. I tried to educate myself by talking with people, but looking back, I don’t think I was very knowledgeable. Still, I knew enough to make Sunny safe and to raise a happy puppy. I cannot imagine not following that inspiration. My life wouldn’t have been the same, and I would have missed out on so much.  

Keep an open mind and heart, so you can become inspired, and never get discouraged if some inspirations do not thrive. Just being inspired is a blessing in itself, and it keeps you young and connected to life. When the impulse is strong enough and touches you deeply, you don’t mind making the necessary adjustments and putting in the work that allows it to grow. Be grateful for the opportunity. I do not spend much energy on inspirations which die on the vine. I enjoy them as long as they last, and then when they get weak and lifeless, I let them go without regrets, knowing that others will pique my interest. I remind myself that some will live, and some won’t. 

Have the courage to explore an inspiration when it presents itself. It might hold a unique opportunity you are looking for. Should you decide not to pursue the inspiration any further, remember that you are wiser because of it and that you are ready for the next one. There is an endless ocean of inspirations. It is up to you to find the one you would like to explore.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

 

Life Cycle

Becoming a senior or struggling with health doesn’t only mean that we have less energy, but because of it, our priorities and how we look at things change as well. We might think that our lives are less fulfilling, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We have more free time and can focus on relationships and relaxing activities. A phone call, email or text from a dear friend or loved one brightens the day, a simple dinner with some candlelight lifts our hearts, and a good book is always a faithful companion. Playing with grandchildren and our pets bring pure joy and spending time with loved ones, and dear friends are rewarding. Enjoying this new segment of our life is a gift. Gone are the big parties, exotic trips, and special dinners, and they didn’t leave regrets or nostalgic feelings, but fond memories.  I enjoyed them as long as I could, and then, one day, when entering the sunset of my life, I had to step back and regroup if I wanted to enjoy this last part of my life journey.

The cycle or circle of life starts with our birth, and it comes to a close with our sunset years. The last segment of this journey might come sooner than anticipated, like in my case. No matter when or how, it always requires change, adaptation, and our willingness to live a meaningful life in the remaining time. Having the opportunity to close the circle gently is a blessing. We can focus on the opportunities in front of us, enjoy them to the fullest, and bless every day. My morning walks with a dear friend bring me lots of happiness, and I am so grateful that I can still enjoy friendship and exercise. I also had to accept that hosting big dinner parties had to become a memory because of my lack of energy.  I always loved to cook and still do, but now I prepare simple meals focused on great nutrition. My love for cooking hasn’t changed; just my approach to it. I apply this to all activities I have to give up or adept, and I do it with an open mind and heart. I am still the same, and the only things changed are my rhythm and energy.

There are so many small things packed into every day starting when you open your eyes in the morning. Be mindful when you savor your first cup of coffee and open your heart so you can listen to the birds singing their morning songs. Go within and feel the blessing of another day.  Be kind to yourself. Don’t regret what has passed, but be grateful for all that is. You might have enjoyed the thrill of high-speed trains and jumbo jets, but traveling in a horse-drawn carriage has its charm as well!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustcooking.com

 

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