Saturday, January 28, 2012

Creating Silence from Chaos

 Zen Habits
Post written by Leo Babauta.
We are often afraid of silence, because its emptiness feels idle, boring, unproductive, and scary. And so we fill our lives with chaos, noise, clutter.
But silence can be lovely, and therapeutic, and powerful.
It can be the remedy for our stress and the habits that crush us.
If we want quiet in our lives, how do we create it?
I’ve been exploring this myself. As a father of six kids, I have to admit that I don’t always have silence in my life. That’s not a complaint — I love the messy noise that my family brings — but silence can be a welcome refuge from that noise at times.
I create silence by subtracting, and not filling the resulting emptiness withe noise or clutter.
And so my life is a constant experimentation with subtracting. When I’ve subtracted, and learn to love the empty silence, I subtract some more. Subtraction is a beautiful process.
Prefer subtraction over addition.
Learn to be content with little, or nothing.
Realize that silence is beautiful.
Find yourself in the empty space that results.
Empty a room, and put almost nothing back except that which produces quiet.
Speak less, listen more, contemplate even more.
Walk in silence. Watch the leaves quiver, fall in silence, whisper in the wind.
Sit and do nothing. Listen to your mind make noise in the silence, allow it to subside.
Eschew video, iPods, books, the Internet, mobile devices, social networks, and other purveyors of noise.
Be quiet, so that life may speak.

Paws and Stripes

Veterans give shelter dogs a home and in return receive a new leash on life.

By Cherie Langlois
Sarge, Catahoula Leopard Dog mix and Jim StanekIn 2009, when Jim Stanek returned badly wounded and traumatized from his third Army tour of duty in Iraq, he and his wife Lindsey had to confront a cold, hard truth: Some wounds can’t be healed. “There’s no cure for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury,” Lindsey says. “These are injuries you have to learn to live with.”
To help manage this monumental task, the couple turned to Sarge. Lindsey had adopted the young female Catahoula Leopard Dog mix during Jim's nine-month recovery in the hospital, intending to have her trained as his service dog. But obtaining a service dog trainer they could afford was no easy matter.
Realizing other veterans would encounter the same difficulties, the Staneks decided to found their own organization, Paws and Stripes, to provide trained service dogs for veterans grappling with PTSD and TBI. The catch? Every Paws and Stripes dog must come from a shelter.
The organization works with local shelters and foster homes to help veterans find dogs . “No one breed is better than any other,” says Lindsey, now CEO of the Rio Rancho, N.M.-based nonprofit. “We look for dogs between the ages of 18 months and 3 years, and they need to be medium to large in size because of the tasks they’ll perform.”
Each dog is individually trained to meet the needs of a particular veteran. For example, an initial assessment of a veteran may show one person requires a medical alert canine, while another needs mobility assistance. “Since Jim has equilibrium problems, Sarge (now 3) is trained to walk beside him to provide support and help him get up and down,” Lindsey says. “In public, she gives Jim a buffer zone. If someone walks up, she stands between them so he has some space; she also watches his back to make sure no one startles him.”
Paws and Stripes pays the $2,000 it costs to cover training, and veterans work directly with trainers to school their own dogs — a strategy that offers important benefits. Not only does it reinforce their bond, but the veteran also gains skills for molding another service dog when his current helper retires. The training experience itself also has a therapeutic effect, Lindsey says. “We incorporate a modality founded by the Trauma Resource Institute, so we’re essentially working to help PTSD symptoms at the same time,” she notes. The Trauma Resource Institute, based in Santa Fe, N.M., is a nonprofit corporation that promotes innovative training models to heal individuals from the damage of traumatic experiences.
The culmination of this do-it-yourself training can be a beautiful thing to behold. “Jim and Sarge kind of have their own subtle language, and they both take care of each other,’’ Lindsey says. “Some days a service dog needs a service person, too! These dogs embody pure innocence and unconditional love, and that in itself is pretty powerful.”
To find out more about Paws and Stripes, visit
The rescue efforts of Paws and Stripes inspired, a website dedicated to providing nutritious food to shelter animals, to donate 5,000 meals of Halo Spot’s Stew to a shelter designated by Paws and Stripes.
« See more dog adoption and rescue stories

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blind kitten becomes an Internet sensation

MNN - Mother Nature Network - Envrionmental News

He may be blind, but this adorable cat doesn't let it hold him back.

Oskar the blind kitten 
Photo: Oskar the Blind Cat/Facebook
On July 9, Mick and Bethany Szydlowski left their home in Omaha, Neb., to pick up an autoharp they’d seen advertised on Craigslist, but they came home with YouTube’s next famous feline.
When the Szydlowskis arrived at the seller’s house, he didn’t just show them the instrument — he introduced them to a tiny blind kitten, the last of the litter. The seller said that if no one adopted him, the cat would either stay on the farm a little while longer — where he’d likely become prey — or he’d be taken to an animal shelter. But after Bethany held the kitten in her arms, she knew she’d be taking home more than just an autoharp.
The Szydlowskis took the kitten — who was born without fully formed eyeballs — home to meet their rescue cat, Klaus, and dubbed the little guy Oskar. They worried because Klaus had never been receptive to other cats, but to their relief, the older cat accepted the kitten within a matter of days and began taking care of him. Today, Oskar and Klaus, a stray with a damaged ear, are inseparable. The Szydlowskis even say the two have a “feline bromance” going on.
Although Oskar’s new parents worried that his disability would make it difficult for him to live a normal feline life — that he’d walk into walls or be unable to find his litter box — the kitten quickly proved them wrong. Within a week, Oskar knew the layout of the house and had no trouble finding his food bowl or his litter box. And just like any other kitten, Oskar enjoys playing with his toys. The Szydlowskis bought him toy balls with bells, so while the little guy might not be able to see his toys, he can easily hear them.
“What really blew us away is that from day one, his other senses really took over, which you can see in the video of him with his toys,” Mick said in an interview.
Today, Oskar and Klaus have numerous videos on their YouTube account that have amassed millions of views, and Oskar even has his own Facebook page so fans can keep up with all his adorable escapades.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Squirrel Lovers Take Note!

MNN - Mother Nature Network - Envrionmental NewsRussell McLendon

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day

In honor of Squirrel Appreciation Day on Jan. 21, here are 21 noteworthy facts about these ubiquitous and opportunistic rodents.

eastern gray squirrel 
SQUIRREL TALK: An eastern gray squirrel enjoys lunch with a photographer on the University of California-Berkeley campus. (Photo: Kai Schreiber/Flickr)
Squirrels get lots of attention from humans, but not always much appreciation. We tend to dwell on the stolen birdseed or the occupied attics, but squirrels have a long, mostly harmless — and often entertaining — history of living in our midst.

That's the focus of Squirrel Appreciation Day, founded in 2001 by North Carolina wildlife rehabilitator Christy McKeown.
Squirrels are widespread and widely beloved, and despite their penchant for mischief, they generally avoid the severe scorn we hold for other semi-urban animals like rats, pigeons and opossums.
Squirrel Appreciation Day is Jan. 21 every year, and much like Elephant Appreciation Day, it's pretty decentralized. As McKeown explains on her website, "while there are no official events scheduled, you can help celebrate by putting out extra food for the squirrels." She also warns, though, that "too many treats will lead to health problems." (And feeding any wild animal on a regular basis could make it dependent.)
The holiday is mainly focused on bushy-tailed tree squirrels common in the Eastern U.S., and it's held in midwinter since that can be a fallow time of year for them. But even if you don't feed any squirrels this Saturday — maybe they've already fattened up on birdseed and drywall — it's worth taking time to appreciate them. So in honor of Squirrel Appreciation Day on Jan. 21, here are 21 noteworthy squirrel facts:
1. There are more than 200 squirrel species worldwide, from tree squirrels and flying squirrels to chipmunks and marmots. They're all in the Sciuridae family, which is native to every continent except Australia and Antarctica.
2. Squirrels range in size from the five-inch African pygmy squirrel to the three-foot Indian giant squirrel.
3. Squirrels have four front teeth that grow continuously, at a rate of about six inches per year. This helps their incisors endure the constant gnawing.
4. The NASDAQ stock market was briefly shut down in 1987 and 1994 due to squirrels chewing through power lines.
5. In 2005, a pack of squirrels in Russia reportedly killed a stray dog that was barking at them. They may have been starving due to a pine cone shortage.
6. Adult squirrels normally live alone, but they sometimes nest in groups during severe cold spells. A group of squirrels is called a "scurry" or "dray."
7. When squirrels hide food for winter, they often dig fake holes to fool would-be thieves. To make sure they don't fool themselves, they lick their food before burying it, leaving a scent they can later detect even under snow.
8. All tree squirrels belong to the genus Sciurus, which comes from the Greek words "skia" (shadow) and "oura" (tail). The name reportedly reflects tree squirrels' habit of hiding in the shadow of their long, bushy tails.
9. The eastern gray squirrel is the most common tree squirrel species in the U.S., and humans have helped introduce it not only to western North America, but also to Europe and South Africa.
10. The eastern gray has become a pest in the U.K., where it threatens the survival of smaller, native red squirrels. This has made it popular for Britons to eat gray squirrels, part of a global trend toward eating invasive species.
11. There's also a rich history of eating native squirrels in the U.S., where they've long been used in dishes like Kentucky burgoo and Brunswick stew. Squirrel meat has fallen out of favor lately — especially that of flying squirrels, which are relatively rare — but many Americans still hunt and eat eastern grays.
12. Tree squirrels mostly eat nuts, seeds and fruit, but they are omnivores. Gray squirrels, for example, have been known to eat insects, snails, bird eggs and animal carcasses when other food is scarce.
13. Better hope those carcasses aren't too rancid, though — squirrels, like many rodents, can't vomit. (They also can't burp or experience heartburn.)
14. The average adult squirrel needs about a pound of food per week.
15. A 2010 study found that some squirrels collect old rattlesnake skin, chew it up and then lick their fur, creating a kind of "rattlesnake perfume" that helps them hide from the smell-dependent predators.
16. All-black or white tree squirrels may look like distinct species, but in most cases they're actually just color variations of gray squirrels.
17. An eastern gray "rally squirrel" became an impromptu mascot for Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals when it ran onto the field during the 2011 playoffs. The Cardinals went on to win the World Series.
18. Flying squirrels can't really fly — they just use flaps of skin between their limbs to glide through the air — but it often seems like they can. Their acrobatic leaps between trees often span up to 150 feet.
19. Red squirrels are solitary and highly territorial, but in some rare cases they've been known to adopt orphaned pups of their relatives.
20. Marmots are celebrated as weather forecasters in the U.S. and Canada, but their skills are a bit overhyped. Punxsutawney Phil's predictions were mostly wrong between 1988 and 2010, for example, while a study of Canadian groundhogs found their success rate was only 37 percent over 30 to 40 years.
21. Squirrels communicate using complex systems of high-frequency chirps and tail movements. Studies have also found they're capable of watching and learning from each other — especially if it relates to stealing food.
If you do feed squirrels for Squirrel Appreciation Day, be careful. They're known to bite fingers, and they're notoriously feisty when food is up for grabs — as this video shows:
To be fair, though, they are capable of sharing food when there's enough to go around:
Also on MNN:

How to Read More: A Lover’s Guide

Frederick the Literate
Charles Wysocki

Post written by Leo Babauta.
Reading a good book is one of my favorite things in the world.
A novel is a time machine, a worm-hole to different dimensions, a special magic that puts you into the minds and bodies of fascinating people, a transporter that lets you travel the world, a dizzying exploration of love and death and sex and seedy criminal underworlds and fairylands, a creator of new best friends.
All in one.
I read because I love the experience, because it is a powerful teacher of life, because it transforms me.
I am not the world’s most prodigious reader, but I do read daily and with passion.
Lots of people say they want to read more, but don’t know how to start.
Read this. It should help.

1. Don’t read because you should — read for joy. Find books about exciting stories, about people who fascinate you, about new worlds that you’d love to visit. Forget the classics, unless they fit this prescription.

2. Carve out the time. We have no time to read anymore, mostly because we work too much, we overschedule our time, we’re on the Internet all the time (which does have some good reading, but can also suck our attention endlessly), and we watch too much TV. Pick a time, and make it your reading time. Start with just 10 minutes if it’s hard to find time — even 10 minutes is lovely. Try 20 or 30 if you can drop a couple things from your schedule.
3. Do nothing but read. Clear all distractions. Find a quiet, peaceful space. It’s just your book, and you. Notice but let go of the urges to do other things instead of read. If you must do something else, have some tea.
4. Love the hell out of it. You’re not doing this to better yourself. You’re doing it for joy. Reading is magic, and the magic will change everything else in your life. Love the experience, and you’ll look forward to it daily.
5. Make it social. Find friends who love to read, or find them online. There’s a world of readers on the Internet, and they’d be happy to make recommendations and talk about the books you’re all reading. Try a book club as well. Reading is solitary, but is also a social act.
6. Make it a habit. Pick a trigger in your daily routine, and consistently read exactly after that trigger each day. Even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes. The more consistent you are, and the longer you keep the streak going, the stronger the habit will become.
7. Don’t make it a chore. Don’t make it something on your todo list or schedule that you have to check off. It’s not part of your self-improvement plan. It’s a part of your Make Life More Awesome Plan.
8. Give up on a book if it’s boring. Reading isn’t something you do because it’s good for you — it’s not like taking your vitamins. You’re reading because it’s fun. So if a book isn’t fun, dump it. Give it a try for at least a chapter, but if you still don’t love it, move on.
9. Discover amazing books. I talk to other people who are passionate about books, and I’ll read reviews, or just explore an old-fashioned bookstore. Supporting your local bookstores is a great thing, and it’s incredibly fun. Libraries are also amazing places that are underused — get a card today.
10. Don’t worry about speed. Speed reading is fine for some, but slow reading is great too. The number of books, and the rate of reading them, matters not a whit. It’s not a competition. You’re reading to enjoy the books, so take your time. It’s like enjoying good food, or good sex: better savored, not rushed.
Some recommendations.


Monday, January 23, 2012

A Secret Scrolls message from Rhonda Byrne

Secret Scrolls Newsletter Logo

Creator of The Secret and The Power 

From The Secret Daily Teachings

If you have a problem with a member of your family who is negative, begin by writing a list of all the things you appreciate about that person. Remember to include gratitude to them for giving you a great desire for positivity in your life; because that is a gift they are giving you. As you focus with all of your strength on appreciation, you will not only reduce your exposure to the negativity, but at the same time you will be attracting positive people into your life.
Get yourself on to the appreciation frequency, and the law of attraction can only surround you with people who are in a positive state.
May the joy be with you,

Rhonda Byrne
The Secret... bringing joy to billions

a brief guide to life

‘A few strong instincts and a few plain rules suffice us.’
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Post written by Leo Babauta.
Life can be ridiculously complicated, if you let it. I suggest we simplify.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s quote, which I’ve stolen as this site’s subtitle, is the shortest guide to life you’ll ever need:
“Smile, breath, and go slowly.”
If you live your life by those five words, you’ll do pretty well. For those who need a little more guidance, I’ve distilled the lessons I’ve learned (so far) into a few guidelines, or reminders, really.
And as always, these rules are meant to be broken. Life wouldn’t be any fun if they weren’t.

the brief guide

less TV, more reading
less shopping, more outdoors
clutter, more space
rush, more slowness
less consuming, more creating
less junk, more real food
less busywork, more impact
less driving, more walking
less noise, more solitude
less focus on the future, more on the present
less work, more play
less worry, more smiles

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In each little life...

"  In each little life,
 we can see great truth
 and beauty, and in each
 little life we glimpse the way of
all things in the universe.

If we allow ourselves to be enchanted by the beauty of the ordinary, we begin to see that all things are extraordinary.

If we allow ourselves to be humbled by what we do not and cannot know, in our humility we are exalted.  If we allow ourselves to recognize the mystery and the wonder of existence, our fogged minds clear. 

Thinking clearly, we follow wonder to awe, and in a state of awe, we are as close to true wisdom as we will ever be. 

From the book,
 A Big Little Life
     by, DEAN KOONTZ

7 Little Things That Make Life Effortless

Post written by Leo Babauta.
Take what you want from this list. I find these things work, but your mileage will vary.

1. Do less. This is my productivity mantra, and it’s counterintuitive. I actually don’t believe in productivity, but instead believe in doing the important things. Do less, and you’ll force yourself to choose between what’s just busywork, and what really matters. Life then becomes effortless, as you accomplish big things while being less busy.
2. Having less is lighter. Start asking yourself if you really need everything you have, or if you just have it out of fear. Start to let go of what you have, so it doesn’t own you. And then, as you have less, you feel lighter. It’s wonderful.
3. Let the little things go. People who struggle often fight over little things. We obsess over things that don’t really matter. We create resistance instead of letting things glide off us. Let the little things go, breathe, and move on to the important things.
4. Clean as you go. I haven’t written about this for a long time, but early in the life of Zen Habits I wrote about the habit of cleaning as you go. Instead of letting the cleaning pile up, put things away when you’re done. Wash your bowl. Wipe the counters clean as you pass them. Sweep up dirt when you notice it. By cleaning a little bit at a time, as you make messes, cleaning up becomes a breeze, and it’s never difficult. By the way, this applies to everything in life, not just cleaning.
5. Make small, gradual changes. Most people are too impatient to follow this advice — they want to do everything at once. We have so many changes to make, but we don’t want to wait a year for it all to happen. As a result, we often fail, and then feel crappy about it. Or we don’t start at all, because so many big changes is intimidating and overwhelming. I’ve learned the hard way that small changes are incredibly powerful, and they last longer. Gradual change leads to huge change, but slowly, and in a way that sticks. And it’s effortless.
6. Learn to focus on the things that matter. This is implied in the items above, but it’s so important I have to emphasize it. Swimming (or any physical activity for that matter) is best done when you do only the motions that matter, and eliminate the extraneous motions. Stop thrashing, start becoming more efficient and fluid. You do this by learning what matters, and cutting out the wasted activity.
7. Be compassionate. This makes dealing with others much more effortless. It also makes you feel better about yourself. People like you more, and you improve the lives of others. Make every dealing with another human being one where you practice compassion.

The Best Thing in Life is.................

The best thing in life is
finding someone;

who knows all your mistakes and weaknesses;

and still thinks you are completely Amazing!

Stained-glass Windows

"People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."

Elisabeth Kubler Ross

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Simple Tips To Deal With Negative People

“The people who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it the most.” ~Peaceful Warrior
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Celestine Chua of The Personal Excellence Blog.
Have you ever dealt with negative people before? If you have, you will know that the experience can be quite a downer.
I used to have an ex-colleague who was very negative. In our conversations, she would complain endlessly about her co-workers, her work and her life. She was also very cynical about people in general, often doubting their intentions. Talking to her wasn’t a pleasant experience at all.
The first time we had a meeting, I felt very drained. Even though we talked for only 20-30 minutes, I didn’t have the mood or energy to do anything after our conversation. It felt as if someone had sucked the life out of me, and it wasn’t until 2-3 hours later that the effect wore off.
The same thing happened the next few times we talked. Because she was so pessimistic, her negative energy often spilled over after the conversation, leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth. For a period of time, I was quite bothered by her. I would avoid speaking to her if I could.
After a while, I figured I needed to work out an action plan to deal with negative people. After all, she was not going to be the only negative person I was going to encounter in my life. I thought: “For every 1 negative person I face now, there are probably thousands of them out there whom I’ll meet one day. If I learn how to deal with her effectively, I will be able to handle other negative people next time.”
With this in mind, I then brainstormed on the best approach to handle negative people.

Eventually, I developed several key steps to deal with negative people effectively. These steps have proven very helpful in making the best out of my relationships with them. While the people I face today are generally more positive, these steps come in handy when I’ve to deal with a negative person.

If there’s someone negative in your life at the moment, don’t let yourself be affected by him/her. You’re not alone in your problem – I face negative people as well and dealing with them is always a learning experience. While people can try to get you down, you’ve a choice in how you react to them.
Here, I’d like to share my 7 tips on how you can deal with negative people:

Tip #1: Don’t Engage in the Negativity

One thing I found is negative people tend to harp on the bad things and ignore the positive stuff. They also have a tendency to exaggerate issues they are facing, making their predicament seem a lot worse than it actually is.
The first time you converse with a negative individual, provide a listening ear and offer help if needed. Provide support – let him/her know he/she is not alone. However, be sure to draw a line somewhere. If the person keeps harping on the same problems even after the first few conversations, then it’s a sign to disengage.
For starters, try to switch topics. If he/she goes into a negative swirl, let him/her continue, but don’t engage in the negativity. Give a simple reply, such as “I see” or “Okay”. Whereas if he/she is being positive, reply in affirmation and enthusiasm. When you do it often enough, he/she will soon realize what’s going on, and will start to be more positive in his/her communication.

Tip #2: Hang Out In Groups

Speaking to a negative person can be extremely draining. When I spoke to my negative co-worker, I would be mentally drained for several hours, even though we talked for only 20-30 minutes. That was because I was on the receiving end of all her negativity.
To address this, have someone else around when conversing with the negative individual. In fact, the more people, the better. This way, the negative energy is divided between you and the other members, and you don’t have to bear the full brunt of the negative energy.
The plus point of having someone else around is that people bring out a different side to an individual. By having another party around, it may bring out a more positive side in the negative person. I experienced this before and it helped me to see the “negative” individual in a different, more positive light.

Tip #3: Objectify the Comments Made

Negative people can be quite critical at times. They tend to drop insensitive comments that are hurtful, especially if they are directed at you.
For example, I once had a friend who was quite tactless. She would drop jarring comments which were dismissive and critical. Initially I was bothered by her words, wondering why she had to be so critical every time she spoke. I also wondered if there was something wrong with me – that perhaps I wasn’t good enough. However, when I observed her interactions with our common friends, I realized she did this to them too. Her comments were not personal attacks – it was just her being the way she was.
Recognize that the negative person usually means no harm – he/she is just caught up in his/her negativity. Start by learning how to deal with critical comments. Objectify the comments made – Rather than take his/her words personally, recognize that he/she is just offering a point of view. Sieve out the underlying message and see if there is anything you can learn from what he/she said.

Tip #4: Go with Lighter Topics

Some negative people are triggered by certain topics. For example, one of my friends turns into a self-victimizer whenever we talk about work. No matter what what I say, he’ll keep complaining about everything in his job, which becomes quite a conversation dampener.
If the person is deeply entrenched in his/her negativity, the unhappiness may be too deeply rooted to address in a one-off conversation. Bring in a new topic to lighten the mood. Simple things like new movies, daily occurrences, common friends, hobbies, happy news, make for light conversation. Keep it to areas the person feels positive towards.

Tip #5: Be Mindful of the Time You Spend With Them

As Jim Rohn puts it – “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. What this quote means is that who you spend your time with has an impact on the person you eventually become.
I find it to be very true. Think about the times you hang out with negative people – Do you feel more positive or negative after that? Same for positive people – How do you feel after spending some time with them?
Whenever I’ve an encounter with negative people, I’d often feel negative after that, like a bad aftertaste. Whereas with positive people, I’d feel extremely upbeat and exuberant. Clearly, there is a spill over effect that takes place even after the interaction! By spending more time with negative people, your thoughts and emotions will slowly become negative too. At first it might be temporary, but over time it’ll slowly become ingrained in you.
If you feel certain people in your life are negative, then be conscious of how much time you’re spending with them. I recommend to limit the duration where you can help it. For example, if they want to hang out with you but you don’t enjoy their company, learn to say no. If it’s a meeting or phone call, set a limit to how long you want it to be. Keep to the objective of the discussion, and don’t let it extend beyond that time.

Tip #6: Identify Areas You Can Make a Positive Change

Negative people are negative because they lack love, positivity and warmth. A lot of times, their negative behavior is a barrier they erect to protect themselves from the world.
One of the best ways you can help a negative individual is to usher positivity into his/her life. Think about what’s bothering the person at the moment, and think about how you can help him/her in your own way. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, and you definitely don’t have to go out of the way to help if you don’t want to. The key here is to be sincere in your desire to help, and to show him/her the upsides in life.
A while back, I had a friend who was unhappy with her job, due to the stagnating environment and culture mismatch. There was a job opportunity that arose in my (now former) workplace, so I introduced that opportunity to my friend. She eventually got the job, and she has been working there for over 3 years now, and doing very well.
Today, she’s a lot happier, forward-looking and proactive in life. She’s definitely a lot more positive than she was a few years ago. While I do not take any credit for what she has carved for herself in her career, I feel very happy knowing that I helped in a small way at the right time. Likewise, there’s always something you can do for others too – keep a look out and help where you can. Just a small act on your part may well make a huge difference in their lives.

Tip #7: Drop Them From Your Life

If all else fails, reduce contact with them or drop them from your life.
Rather than spend your time with negative people, focus on the positive people instead. In the past, I spent a lot of time with negative people, trying to help them with their issues. It drained up a lot of my energy and was often futile, which led me to rethink my methods. Ever since then, I worked on cultivating positivity by hanging out with positive friends and business partners. This has turned out to be a lot more rewarding and fruitful.
Remember that your life is yours to lead, and it’s up to you on how you want it to be. If there are negative people who make you feel bad about yourself, work on those issues with the 7 steps above. With the right actions, you can create a dramatic difference in what you get out of your relationships.
Celestine Chua writes at The Personal Excellence Blog on how to achieve our highest potential in life. Read her readers’ favorite 101 Inspiring Quotes of All Time and get her free ebooks here.

One Pound Deer and He Is Beautiful

Kinda 'makes your day doesn't it ?

This tiny deer was delivered by Caesarean section at a Wildlife hospital after a car killed his mother.

Little Rupert, who is so small he can fit in an adult's hand, was born after vets failed in their battle to save his mother.

Rupert One Pound Deer 1

At just 6" tall and weighing just over a pound, he is now in an incubator in the intensive care unit at Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Buckinghamshire. He has only recently opened his eyes.

Les Stocker, founder of Tiggywinkles, said, "Rupert's mother had very severe injuries. We brought him out and got him breathing, and then he went into an incubator on oxygen. He is now being fed by a tube."

Rupert One Pound Deer 2

Rupert in an incubator.

Rupert One Pound Deer 3

Rupert pulls a striking pose for the camera.

Rupert One Pound Deer 4

Staff members are optimistic that Rupert, now 5 days old, will make a full recovery.

"Deer are very, very tricky, but this one has spirit. He's an extremely feisty, Little guy and quite pushy," Mr. Stocker said.

Rupert One Pound Deer 5

Asleep: Rupert takes 40 winks.

Hope you will share this one.

Image credit: Les Stocker

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Architects for Animals' creative cat shelters

Long-haired cat in a yellow shelter made from a salvaged drum

Purr-fect pads

More than 10,000 stray cats roam New York City's streets, and the harsh winter months are particularly difficult for these homeless felines. Luckily, these cats have Leslie Farrell. When Farrell moved to a part of the city that was home to a colony of feral cats, she did what she could to help them, including building a small shelter. “As I was building it, I thought to myself, ‘I work in the architectural industry. I should ask architects to build shelters’,” Farrell says.
Thus was born Architects for Animals, a fundraising initiative that culminates in a one-night event known as Giving Shelter that benefits the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. Architects design and build creative outdoor winter shelters for the city’s strays, which are displayed at the event and then donated to caregivers with NYC Feral Cat Initiative to be put to use. Take a look at 2011’s inventive shelter designs, and check out the video below to learn more about Architects for Animals.
(Text: Laura Moss)
to watch video.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Curious Cat Explores His Neighborhood - by Bus

By Caroline Golon

Bus riders in Bridport, Dorset England often have an unusual companion on their way to and from work each day – an adventurous, 15-year-old cat named Artful Dodger.

Dodger, a beautiful yellow tabby, regularly boards the bus at the stop near his house and takes a 10-mile round trip, much to the amusement of the bus passengers and drivers. Sometimes, Dodger even hops on a lucky rider’s lap for a cuddle.

The bus drivers and regular passengers know Dodger, and always make sure he gets off at his stop at the end of each journey. Some passengers even bring Dodger food and treats each day.

Dodger’s owner, Fee Jeanes, said she was extremely surprised when she discovered the cat’s secret life. One of her daughter’s friends said she saw Dodger on bus 10 miles from the family’s home.

Fee tells the London Telegraph, "I couldn't believe it and panicked. I got into my car to go off and look for him and then at that moment the bus pulled up near our house and lo and behold he got off.”

She soon found out that wasn’t the first time Dodger had gone cruising the city by mass transit.

"That afternoon I saw Dodger climb on board another bus and I rushed to tell the driver. I was shocked when she told me Dodger was always on there and liked to sit on the seats because they are warm from where people have been sitting.”

The bus company, First, told the Telegraph that they don’t mind if Dodger hitches a ride with them, saying, "Given this cat is elderly we suspect it would be eligible for free travel, perhaps a bus puss, if such a thing existed."

Learning to Sit Alone, in a Quiet Empty Room

Image Detail

‘All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.’ ~Blaise Pascal
Post written by Leo Babauta.
Think about some of the problems of our daily lives, and how many of them would be eased if we could learn to sit alone, in a quiet empty room, with contentment.
If you’re content to sit alone quietly, you don’t need to eat junk food, to shop on impulse, to buy the latest gadget, to be on social media to see what everyone else is talking about or doing, to compare yourself to others, to make more money to keep up with the Joneses, to achieve glory or power, to conquer other lands or wage war, to be rude or violent to others, to be selfish or greedy, to be constantly busy or productive.
You are content, and need nothing else. It solves a lot of problems.
Can you sit alone in an empty room? Can you enjoy the joy of quiet?
Most of us have trouble sitting alone, quietly, doing nothing. We have the need to do something, to check our inboxes and social media, to be productive. Sitting still can be difficult if you haven’t cultivated the habit.
I’ve been learning. In the morning, as my coffee is brewing, I sit. Even for a few minutes, at first, it is instructive. You learn to listen to your thoughts, to be aware of your urges to do something else, to plan and set goals. You learn to watch yourself, but to just sit still and not act on those urges. You learn to be content with stillness.
You learn to savor the quiet. It’s something most of us don’t have, quiet, and it takes some getting used to. When we’re driving our cars or out exercising or eating or working, we have music playing or we talk with people or we have the television on. Quiet can be amazing, though, because it helps us calm down, contemplate, slow down to savor the emptiness.
An empty room, too, is a luxury. I try to empty my room of clutter, so that it’s fairly bare. That leaves only me, and the room is a blank slate ready to be filled with me, my creativity, my silence. I love a spartan room.
Being alone is another pleasure we too often neglect. When we are alone, we go on the Internet or TV to see what else is going on, what others are doing or saying, instead of just being alone. This isolation is a necessary thing, that allows us to find ourselves, to learn to be content with little instead of always wanting more.
Can you practice being alone, being still, being quiet? Just a little at first, then perhaps a bit more. Listen, watch, learn about yourself. Find contentment. Need nothing more.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dog Steals Show at Golden Globes

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 01/16/2012

‘The Artist’ dog steals show at Golden Globes (PHOTOS)

One of the best-dressed stars at the Golden Globes wore nothing but a bow tie.
Uggie, the dog from “The Artist,” became an instant star courtesy of his adorable red carpet antics, prompting several calls (on Twitter for a special canine Golden Globe. Which is understandable. For God’s sake, just look at him.

(Matt Sayles - AP)

In addition to mugging (panting?) for the cameras, the nine-year-old Jack Russell terrier upstaged his co-stars when he played dead onstage as they accepted the award for best motion picture comedy or musical.
Uggie is no stranger to awards: He’s already won the “Palm Dog,” the canine answer to the Palm D’Or, and is clearly a shoe-in for the first-ever Golden Collar Awards.
Michel Hazanavicius, director of “The Artist,” told the Post that he was surprised that the dog has gotten so much attention:
“He’s very cute,” the filmmaker allows, but “he doesn’t incline his head, he has really a stone face; he’s not an actor. He’s just going from Point A to Point B.” (And because filming without a sound crew meant Uggie’s trainer could call to him openly during takes, Uggie shouldn’t even get credit for that.)
Nevertheless, the dog became the reason that audiences like the leading man in the film, Hazanavicius conceded:
“When you look at the character of George Valentin” — a silent-era movie star whose career ends with the arrival of talkies — “he’s selfish, egocentric, proud. He’s mean with his own wife, he’s not a positive character. But the fact is, the dog loves him and follows him during all the movie. What happens is, the audience trusts the dog. We think if the dog loves the guy, the guy has to be a good person.”

(Matt Sayles - AP)

After Uggie’s Golden Globe appearance, fans on Twitter suggested that the four-legged star to be given a Globe as well, though none exist for animal performances. “Is there a Golden Globe award category for dog tricks? There should be,” tweeted comedian Stephen Sim. “The Artist dog proves that everyone secretly wishes this whole thing was a 10 second viral video,” tweeted VH1’s Dan Hopper.
Uggie’s moment in the spotlight may vault him up to the highest ranks of Hollywood dogs. Will he be considered among the greats — Lassie? Benji? Rin Tin Tin? — or will he be a one-hit-wonder? It all depends on his ability to fetch “The Artist” a Best Picture trophy at the Oscars.


Uggie the Dog from "The Artist" arrives at the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards. (Frazer Harrison - GETTY IMAGES)

(Joel Ryan - AP)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Easy Tips to Stop Worrying

No Worries--Easy Tips to Stop Worrying
Everyone worries. But often worry doesn’t solve the problem or change the outcome. Instead of concentrating on the worrying, replace it with thinking, which will help you discover a solution. Here are ways to stop the worry:
  1. Develop a Game Plan. Write down your worry, followed by the worst thing that could happen if what you’re worried about comes true, and finally, list three strategies for dealing with the worst case scenario.
  2. Imagine the Best Case Scenario. So often we worry about the worst thing that could possibly happen. Next time you’re worried, visualize yourself resolving it by immediately asking yourself "What’s good about this?"
  3. Don’t Procrastinate. Putting things off can heighten anxiety, which causes worry and panic. Instead, break big projects down into easier-to-handle small tasks that you can work on one day at a time.
  4. Become Your Own Cheerleader. We can be our own worst enemies, so it’s important to encourage ourselves. It may seem silly at first, but start telling yourself nice things, instead of negative self-talk. 
  5. Find a Hobby. Instead of wasting time worrying, find something that requires your attention that you enjoy. But don’t make it watching TV, which is linked to mulling over your thoughts repeatedly.
  6. Keep Perspective. Most of what you worry about are things you don’t have any control over, so it’s not worthwhile to think about it. Once you examine what you’re worried about and accept that it’s out of your hands, you will worry about it less.
  7. Develop a Strategy. The next time you feel worry coming on, do something that you know gets you in a positive mood, which helps you feel calm and focused.
  8. Get Your Zs. Fatigue tends to exacerbate anxiety, but worrying also causes insomnia. To help you get to sleep, keep a journal by your bed to write down thoughts that are keeping you awake.
  9. Laugh at Yourself. Smiling and laughing can quickly diffuse a situation. When something is upsetting you, think of memories that make you laugh.
Source: Prevention magazine