After many months of fear, worry, and cautiousness, I contracted Covid. I was so scared to get it that when I finally did, I was relieved. I was surprised at this feeling because 1: I thought my diligent, hygienic nature would protect me and 2: I figured I could ride the pandemic out until there was a vaccine or herd immunity.
The relief was strong at the initial realization that I was infected. Then, that relief turned to fear once again knowing that this thing could not only possibly kill me, but could harm my organs at a later date. With so much information overload regarding this virus, I didn’t know what to think and still don’t.
I am extremely lucky and filled with gratitude that I had a relatively mild case; no breathing difficulties or ongoing fever. My symptoms consisted mainly of excruciating back pain, fatigue, and loss of taste and smell. The absence of my sense of taste and smell was by far the most worrisome, especially because I had no idea how long it would last. I kept reading about people who had not gotten it back at all, leading me to imagine the worst case scenario.
It ended up returning within a week. Not 100%, but enough to relax and enjoy food, one of the greatest pleasures of earthly existence. As I recovered and finished my quarantine, a lightness set in. The discomfort and disdain I felt walking around New York City dodging people wherever they happened to be was hard and very stressful. Most people ignore social distancing protocols and I felt like I was always on the defense encountering them.
Now, I don’t react when someone comes too close or coughs near me. I don’t like anyone invading my space in general, but now, I can breathe knowing I won’t be infected again, at least for a while and hopefully forever.
What helped me significantly is the way I eat. I always eat foods that are filled with nutrients. I avoid junk as much as possible and I eat a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods. I had been preparing my immune system for a while beforehand which I can liken to an unconscious foreboding that it could happen to me. I ceased drinking alcohol and increased foods like garlic, ginger, turmeric, and anything fermented. I believe this helped me greatly; for many years I’ve been a confident proponent of food being medicine.
Now that I’ve fully recovered, I’m going to travel. I will be in Costa Rica for the month of March, spending time with an incredible herd of horses. I haven’t been in nature in quite some time, and I miss the connection of being around these highly intelligent, wise, intuitive beings. I feel safe to get on a plane now. I need to be with these horses. They replenish my soul and my feelings of having a purpose in this world. I’m excited and curious to see what’s going on with them and to receive the wisdom and introspection they inspire.
I love reading, but…
I love reading. I have loved to read ever since I learned how. Some of my most enduring memories are of being mesmerized by a story, my imagination running wild. I know that I will die before I get to a tenth of what I want to read. I went through a period of time where this thought consumed me and induced a level of anxiety that has never quite subsided. I have eclectic taste and enjoy fiction as much as non-fiction. All I am asking is to be captivated, provoked to think about something in a new way, and to enrich my worldview. The very best art illuminates human nature, and that’s the experience I value.
Ernest Hemingway is arguably one of the greatest authors who ever lived. He is a force in culture and even though he blew his brains out sixty years ago, he lives on in many ways, through many media. He wrote several books which are classics in the pantheon of literature. Nonetheless, I’ve never read him and I never will, the reason being his love of hunting and bullfighting. I cannot and will not read detailed descriptions of animals being harmed. One of Ernest’s biggest pleasures and sources of excitement was the thrill of watching a beast die by his own hands. The all-encompassing exuberance that he derived from extinguishing a majestic being is something I do not want to know. I can’t begin to enjoy or relate to anyone who thinks and feels that watching a bull die is beautiful or a representation of the power of man.
I will also never read Moby Dick. I’ve heard many wonderful authors that I greatly admire speak about the way this book affected them. Many put it in their top ten of all time. I wish I could have the experience, but I know there’s no way I can read hundreds of pages detailing the whaling industry. It pains me to think of ocean life being subjected to the most heinous cruelty, pulled from the depths of the sea in order to have their bodies harvested for human purpose. I know these novels were written in a very different time where the advances of modern technology were naught, but the hurt I feel is too strong to face it. And, knowing that whales are still hunted, causes me great pain.
Luckily, I can allay some of my anxiety by reminding myself that thankfully, there’s no shortage of great books, so I’ll never run out of reading material.
My mother was listening to a radio show recently and Ted Nugent was a guest. For those of you unfamiliar, Ted was a big rock star in the 1970’s and still tours. He’s a proud patriot and provocatively states his far right opinions besides his love and passion for hunting. This is not new information, but my mom told me something he said that absolutely devastated me and that I couldn’t stop thinking about. He said that it’s outrageous and laughable that animals would have rights.
I’m not sure where to begin with this because there are many avenues to go down. I felt personally attacked that a human being could be so callous and certain that animals solely exist for him and others to be eaten, tortured, and killed in order to decorate their homes with creepy taxidermy that puts on display the machismo and pride that some men feel is their right.
This mentality kills me. It puts me into such a place of despondency and hopelessness. That this man and many others could look into the piercing eyes of a lion, bear, deer, etc. and only see it as something they salivate over extinguishing, horrifies me. Trophy hunting, where men go into a fenced in piece of land and pay enormous sums to murder while filled with adrenaline, dopamine and excitement. These are stunning animals who know they will be brutally murdered in the guise of fun. This sickens and haunts me in a way nothing else can.
I know there are all kinds of people on this earth, trying to survive and enjoy the world as best they can. I will never understand or comprehend why anyone would feel that animals are worth nothing. I get quite angry coming across this opinion, which to me is as heinous as it gets.
I also must admit that Ted wrote a few songs that I really like. I think “Stranglehold” is a fabulous song and I’ve rocked out to the long guitar solo in it many times. As much as I despise him as a human being, I can still take pleasure in that song and others. I find that I’m able to separate who people are in their lives and the art and work they put out. A lot of people out there would agree with Ted. After all, this is not an uncommon attitude in many parts of the world.
When I come across such animal insensitivity, especially among people who love their dogs as much as their kids but have no problem killing a different species, it baffles me. How do people feel so much for one animal and so little for another? I’m pained by this and hope and pray that there are tons of humans on this globe who feel the opposite and make their lives about conservation and helping these creatures who have no voice and are powerless against humans trapping them and hurting them.
I don’t know how to reconcile this. I don’t know how to put it out of my mind. I will never forget this as long as I live.
When I’m with my cat Bubby, I’m in heaven. Every time I stare at her, it’s like I’ve never laid eyes on her before. I marvel at her beauty and beating heart. Her purr calms me and puts me at ease. The pleasure I derive from her presence is unlike any other. I want to protect her, make her feel safe at every turn. The mere idea of someone wanting to hurt her and stuff her is too much to bear.
I must always remind myself that humans are primitive.
The Necessity of Space
During a recent reading, while connecting with a dog, the subject of space came up. The animal was telling me how necessary it is for their human to have space and how intrusive it feels when people don’t respect that. I had a strong knowing that this person detested when someone hovered both physically and emotionally.
Growing up I didn’t have my own space and it affected me greatly. I moved into my grandparents’ home when I was six and didn’t leave until I was twelve. It was their home, and I never for one second felt welcome. I was a stranger there, a tiny human navigating through the decimation of my parents’ relationship, an only child in need of warmth and love. Those years were monumental. My first detailed memories appear from that time and it’s where, most of all, I learned to live with shame.
The town in Long Island we lived in was full of wealth and prosperity. We were not at all affluent and I quickly found out that I would not be treated well because of this fact. Kids were really mean and cruel in a time before bullying was a buzzword and I didn’t know how to defend myself. No one intervened. When my mother went to the school to complain because a boy was constantly in my face telling me what a loser I was because my parents were divorced, the teacher actually said it was MY problem to work out. I was 9.
All I wanted was to come home from an emotionally difficult day at school and have a snack. On top of this, three days a week I had to go to religious school, and consequently I didn’t have much time to enjoy this smallest of pleasures. My grandmother hated for me to be in her kitchen if she wasn’t there to watch me and criticize every move I made. As I sat down at the table, I’d hear her telltale footsteps approaching her domain. My body would freeze and be filled with rage. I wanted more than anything to be left alone and have a moment to myself, and this woman wouldn’t even give me that. She would taunt me with how bad my table manners were, how crumbs were getting on the floor, how I needed a new napkin, that my elbows were on the table, etc… This experience among others began a pattern of deep, dark shame that invaded my nervous system and psyche, not to mention an irrational phobia of eating in front of other people.
I hated living there. I hated feeling so picked on. I hated how here I was, a kind, sensitive soul with a great sense of humor and in no way was that nurtured or appreciated. Except when I would see my father one night a week, I was constantly anxious and uncomfortable. I was desperate for peace and little did I know that a couple of years after I got out of my grandparents’ home I would be back in a similar situation for the next many years.
It has been quite a process letting this shame go. Remnants remain, but luckily, through the turns my life has taken both spiritually and emotionally, I now know that this wasn’t my fault and that I didn’t do anything wrong. It took me a long time to not only understand this but to apply it to my soul. All of this pain and lack of personal space resulted in giving me an enormous amount of empathy that I am able to use in my life and work.
Animals want us to love ourselves. They see us for who we really are and wish we would tap into that glorious potential in order to thrive. As I write this, my cat Bubby is staring at me with the most gorgeous green eyes. I have no shame in this moment.
The Big Pause
It’s so easy to worry. It’s so easy to be scared. It’s so easy to live in a state of fear wondering what’s going to happen to my life and the world around me. I usually reside in Manhattan but have been quarantined in Massachusetts for the last six weeks. I don’t know when I’ll return home. Even when restrictions are lifted and stores open, when will it be safe to go back to the epicenter of this nightmare?
I often complain and observe why living in NYC is terrible. Most of my reasoning is based on the incredible surfeit of stimuli all around. The noise drives me crazy, the air is filthy, there are way too many people stacked on top of each other paying exorbitant rent that gets them a studio apartment when they could take that same rent money and buy a three bedroom house with a yard. The smells are often putrid, especially in the summer and the energy is more often than not overwhelming. However, I miss it. This revelation has made itself clear and there’s no denying why.
I miss my stuff. I miss my kitchen where I have full control over my meals. I miss my bookshelves filled with all the writing that has influenced my thoughts and personality. I miss walking one block and working out at my gym. I miss the subway, taking me where I need to go quickly and efficiently, for a small price. I miss meeting friends for a drink and the laughter that stems from an evening out. But, what I miss the most, is my alone time in a city that I can be anonymous in.
I know when I do go home that the vibe will be different as it is everywhere. I cannot get used to seeing everyone in masks. I hate feeling annoyed and repulsed when someone gets too close fearing that at any second they will sneeze and cause my lungs to be harmed for the rest of my life. I don’t know how things will look in a month, let alone three.
Sitting in the uncomfortable is now the norm. Not just for humans but for their animals too. I feel for all those animals right now internalizing their human’s anxiety and fright. I rejoice when I see adoptions are up, but, the minute people resume their lives or whatever’s left of them, these animals will once again be left alone for long periods of time. So much is being said about how needed this pause was; how necessary it is for the planet to have a break. I hope so. I really really do.
Let them be
I usually do not like to read reviews before I see a movie or television show, or even listen to an album. However, as we all sit home in our new reality (hopefully temporary), I can’t help but notice the amount of discussion and notoriety that are the phenomenon of Tiger King. Everywhere I look a mention of this series pops up and it’s impossible for me to ignore.
I am horrified by human beings who keep big cats in captivity and exploit them for whatever perverse reasons they feel justified. As much as I like to be in the know, I will not watch this. I am disturbed enough already and the idea of sitting through seven episodes of imagery where sentient beings are trapped in cages and put to work is too abominable to fathom.
More tigers are kept by humans then there are free in their natural habitat. I want to think people are better than this and would be aware of the suffering they cause, but, they aren’t. As interesting as the true crime element is in this story and how weirdly unique this cast of characters is, I still hate that someone would watch this and not feel horrible that this abuse is ubiquitous, occurring throughout the world. It’s a culture that I obviously can’t relate to and it hurts me that so many can.
As a soul level animal communicator I base my experience and intuition around the belief that animals choose to be with us. I communicate with many cats, dogs and horses who convey that concept to me and it makes total sense. However, it is challenging for me to believe that so many lions and tigers choose to be captured only to have their lives controlled by humans who like the idea of owning an exotic animal; like it gives the human a unique identity that makes them feel important in a mainly homogeneous environment.
It pains me to know of any abuse that exists. An antidote to this sadness and horror that’s been building is quarantining with my cat Bubby. She’s a small cat, but she’s the world to me.
Pandemic: Science fiction is now nonfiction
Where to even begin? The entire world has come to a standstill. Life as we know it is changed forever. Every single human being is at risk and I don’t mean just because of the virus. The suffering is immense, calamitous, devastating and will have ripple effects for a very long time to come. As the days blur together and the imprisonment continues, even among this most insidious feeling of dread, I have moments where I’m filled with hope.
For years of my life I self-quarantined due to my ennui and unhappiness. I wanted nothing more than to hide away from the world and be free of relationships (or so I thought). What I didn’t know then was how my sensitivity, empathy and intuition were gifts and not hindrances to a life filled with meaning and joy. Now, as it is necessary to stay inside and not have any face to face social interaction, I miss it. I already miss many things…i.e., shopping for food without worrying someone is too close to me or that the items on my list will be stocked and plentiful at that. I miss meeting my friends and drinking a glass of wine. I experience constant anxiety that the virus is on my hands and I’m always hearing a voice in my head saying don’t touch your face even though I have an itch. The list goes on and on.
I’ve been reading many opinions of what the bigger picture of this could be. Some say the earth needed a break, others that this is a shift that will change the framework of our existence and move into a time of greater spirituality and connection. So much information is coming at us like a bullet train and it is up to me to decide what and how much I want to look at and take in. It’s easy to be consumed with worry, doubt, fears about the decimation of the economy etc… What’s challenging and also interesting is trying to be present, stay in the moment and not collapse over what may or may not happen.
I think a lot about how animals are perceiving this change in their surroundings. So many pets are accustomed to long periods of time without their humans and now they’re together constantly. I think about the anxiety of many and how their animals are working hard to comfort them and make them feel loved and safe. Once again, in a time of crisis, our animals show up for us.
I was in Los Angeles recently helping a friend promote her product line at an Oscars gift suite. It was two long days sitting in a very crowded room in an uncomfortable chair with hundreds of people going in and out. I was looking forward to this event because I’ve always been fascinated by pop culture and actors and I’ve fantasized many times about attending the Academy Awards.
Surrounded by the ultimate grab for free stuff, I sat there observing all the humans who supposedly “made it” in Hollywood. It never ceases to amaze me how the wealthy are offered so much for free that they can easily purchase themselves and the “little people” struggle and want but go without what they often can’t afford. I listened relentlessly to sales pitches and branding tactics all around me to the point of knowing what the seller would say before they said it. It was both tedious and mind-numbing. There was a table of products across from the booth I was working at of some invention said to eliminate 95% of radiation from a smartphone. I wanted this item very badly as I’m deathly afraid of what all the radiation is doing to me. As I watched an endless parade of people being given this cool thing, I kept hoping to go home with one and decided I would ask the woman who was distributing this device if I could have one at the end of the event.
As the event died down, I witnessed people who, like me, were working there, openly helping themselves to these gadgets. I knew it was against the rules, but it was none of my business and I am not a snitch. There were still many boxes full of bags upon bags of the devices and I couldn’t imagine it would be a problem to procure one. I asked my friend if she thought it was appropriate if I asked for one and she answered of course, you should just go take one as I had just seen a bunch of girls grab them and put them in their bags. I approached the overseeing despotic tyrant of a human being and politely made my request. She responded with a stern “absolutely not, no I cannot do that”. Her mean spirit pierced right through me leaving a sour taste in my mouth and a stinging sensation in my heart. In the frenzy of all of this energy and giving away so many of these, she couldn’t spare one more when there were at least a hundred still lined up on the table. It was a power trip and I despised her so much in that moment. I found this odious termagant so repugnant to not allow me something so small, some token that would have made my time there feel appreciated. My friend couldn’t believe it and walked up to the woman explaining how many had been stolen in plain sight before her eyes. The woman paused and said “well, that’s okay”. Just like that.
I know this exchange wasn’t about me and I happened to be the little person that this woman could screw with to make her feel powerful. My immediate reaction to this denial was hurt. I took it personally for a while until I came to the realization that I had to move on and not allow painful feelings to consume my already fragile feeling of being a sensitive empath existing in a cutthroat environment.
As I left the madness and chaos, I couldn’t help but think about the unconditional love of animals. An animal would never treat a sentient being like that. An animal would never get off on taking away the pleasure of another just because they could. An animal would never be mean to another animal because they thought they were superior or more deserving. As I drove away a smile pushed itself through my tears and I knew there was a lesson for me in this experience.
A Blessing in Disguise
A few days ago, I was on my way to an appointment when I realized I had left my Iphone at home. It was too late to turn back and a sudden, instantaneous panic swept over me. As the anxiety took hold and my heart beat faster, I had a realization. Had I become addicted to this device? Why was I experiencing distress at being separated from my phone for what would end up being around seven hours? I had lived without one for the first 35 years of my life so why did it matter?
It then dawned on me how much of my waking life I am using this object. A portal to all of my communications with people, I felt an aloneness that struck me as strange. I started thinking about how this thing had altered my life and what this meant and how was I to proceed with this new reality enveloping me. As I calmed myself down, I started to be very specific in understanding why exactly I was having such a strong reaction. Without this phone it was like I didn’t exist to the world or other people. I couldn’t find out any information, wouldn’t be able to know if my boyfriend was trying to contact me, had no way of seeing my mail (both business and personal), no access to Google or Wikipedia to look up a random historical figure or event that came to mind, etc… Suddenly, I felt liberated. I was free to be invisible for part of the day. I didn’t have to respond to anything or anyone or be able to look at the news or dumb celebrity gossip. I had myself to rely on for entertainment and stimulation and I decided I would enjoy this time without any form of digital interruption. I happened to have a book on me that I had been carrying around for over a week. So, when I got to where I was going and had to sit still, I read. I read and had a conversation with someone that I had never met before and likely will never meet again.
There was peace, quiet, rumination, and simplicity. All qualities that animals encompass and want to share with our species. My cats never had to think about texts, emails, and Facebook. They never felt in a rush to do anything. They rested and breathed and that’s just what I needed as the day progressed. It turned out to be a blessing and a matter of perspective.