10 FUN FACTS ABOUT CATS AND DOGS:

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10 FUN FACTS ABOUT CATS AND DOGS:

1)      Dogs have fur whereas cats have hair. Fur is coarser and much thicker in diameter than hair.

2)      It’s more important to clip a dog’s nails than a cat’s because cats have retractable claws. Since dogs do not have retractable claws, there is more risk of infection due to claw damage from overgrowth.

3)      Dogs have a component in their saliva that heals wounds. Their saliva contains proteins such as histatin, lysozsyme and thiocyanate which help to prevent infections. Dog saliva also contains a protein called Nerve Growth Factor which grows and maintains cells. The latter allows for skin re-growth around a wound to have a dramatic increase in healing time.

4)      Dogs can subsist on a vegetarian diet whereas cats cannot. Genetically, cats originated in the deserts of Africa where they maintained a diet of raw meat and blood. Even drinking water has become a learned practice by domesticated cats as in their origin of the desert, water was scarce.

5)      Cats do not meow to each other; they only meow to get their person’s attention or the attention of other humans. They may hiss and growl at each other but this is a warning mechanism as opposed to regular communication.

6)      Whereas dogs, horses and humans can digest grains, cats cannot. As opposed to the initial three on this list, cats lack a digestive enzyme called amylase that is responsible for the breakdown of grains in the body. Most dry cat food contains a high amount of grains in its ingredients. When cats eat grains on a regular basis, they cannot metabolize them appropriately and they get metabolized as sugar. This poor metabolic absorption will create insulin spikes due to the sugars that are unprocessed in the cat’s body. After prolonged exposure to these grain sugars and insulin spikes, feline diabetes is almost always to follow.

7)      Cats purr for an array of reasons; not just because they are happy of hungry. Their purr registers in the Hertz scale in a range that has been studied to facilitate bone and muscle tissue growth in both the cats themselves as well as humans.

8)      Petting a cat or dog has been shown to increase the levels of oxytocin (the love hormone) in the human brain. In turn, this activity has a notable healing effect on depression, PTSD and other mood disorders.

9)      Almost all Calico cats are female; almost all completely orange cats are male. Their markings are gender-specific; they exist on the y and x chromosomes respectively.

10)   When dogs walk, their front left leg moves forward with their back right and their right front leg moves forward with their left. In essence, their arms walk forward in tandem with their opposite leg. When cats walk forward, they walk same arm, same leg. Right front moves forward with right back, left front moves forward with left hind.

How many of these did you know about? Can you think of any others?

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TOP BEST & WORST FAD FOODS TO FEED YOUR DOGS AND CATS

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WORST AND BEST HUMAN FOODS TO FEED YOUR ANIMAL FAMILY

There is a lot of controversy surrounding which human foods are healthy for dogs and cats and which are not. There is a lot of controversy among the animal care practitioner community over which animal foods are healthy for animals and which are not. Regardless of which beliefs you subscribe to, there are some fads that have overtaken the animal food industry and can cause our cats and dogs more harm than good.

If you are the kind of person who follows your western medical veterinarian’s advice without doing your own fact checking, this is your choice. And if it is your choice, be aware that your cats and dogs may not be receiving an adequate supply of nutrients. Please do your research and look up the ingredients n your vet recommended food. Follow this by looking up other cat/dog food brands from your local animal food store. Once you have a complete understanding of what ingredients are quantified as “food” and which are actual whole foods, you may find that your choice in food changes. You may also be surprised that the most expensive brands on the market are often not the best quality at all, and that the middle-of –the-road brands are the most nutrient-rich foods available for our dogs/cats. That said, there are also many people who believe that every health fad that arises in the media for humans must be safe and healthy for animals. And that would be a result of our human nature to fall for marketing schemes that play to our love for our animal friends.

The reality is that the media will do whatever they can to manipulate our emotions to buy the company’s products. Whether these companies are selling poor quality foods and have heartwarming commercials, or they are inviting us to believe that what’s good for human bodies must be good for animal bodies too, they will do their best to convince us of false beliefs.

First we will examine the work “natural” that appears on packaging of many dog/cat food companies. The word “natural” appearing on any packaging at all implies misrepresentation of the word. By definition, any packaged dog/cat food as been processed and contains preservatives to give it a longer shelf life. This entirely contradicts the word “natural”.

According to Dr. Becker, there are several such examples of food fads that are becoming commonplace within the commercial animal food industry. Here are three of many “trendy” ingredients that Dr. Becker warns to watch out for:

1)      Plant-based proteins- there is much hype in the media about the benefits of plant-based proteins for humans. While they certainly are healthy for people, people should note that plant based proteins are not complete proteins. This means that they do not contain all of the amino acids, minerals and other important nutrients that animal proteins have. This means that if people choose to feed their animal companions plant based proteins only, the animals are extremely likely to suffer from malnutrition. This is extremely dangerous and can often lead to fatality.

2)      Ancient grains- for humans, there is a lot of discussion about the health benefits of ancient grains; they are lesser processed, higher in fibre and not hybridized by genetic modification. All of these qualities are amicable for human health. However when it comes to animals, particularly cats (who cannot digest grains at all), these grains are no better off for an animal’s digestive system. Grains are still grains and can cause diabetes in cats and allergies in some dogs who are grain-sensitive.

3)      Gluten-free- There is no known benefit to feeding animals gluten-free food. This is plainly a marketing scheme of companies to get humans to jump on the gluten free bandwagon and buy their novel products at higher prices.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are several human foods that can be quite beneficial to dog and cat digestion. Especially when it comes to those cats and dogs who are only fed processed food day in and day out. And the truth of the matter is, whether we are feeding our animal friends low quality or high quality store-bought food, at the end of the day it is all processed. And this can have adverse effects on the animal’s digestive health.

It may be unreasonable to ask every person who cares for an animal to make the animal a freshly cooked meal from scratch twice per day. Many people do not have the time or the knowledge to do so. If people choose to feed their animal family members store-bought processed food, there are a variety of readily available human food supplements that can be added to the meal to circumvent any adverse health issues. Dr. Becker outlines several healthy foods that can help our animals have a diet that is richer in whole foods. The following are five of the list. Please consult your holistic veterinarian before adding any new food to your animal’s diet.

1)      Kefir- an excellent probiotic. This means that if your dog/cat has chronic diarrhea, constipation or any bowel issues, kefir helps to maintain intestinal health. Kefir is a fermented milk beverage. It comes from various milk sources, so if your animal has a sensitivity to cow’s milk, there are other options available. Kefir also helps the immune system. When the immune system is out of whack, we see symptoms of allergies, chronic fatigue and other conditions that become chronic until the immune system is brought back to balance.

2)      Chia seed- Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega’s 3 & 6. Omegas are ideal for skin and hair health. Often processed foods are lacking in omegas and the chia is a great supplement. Additionally and perhaps more importantly, cats and dogs get dehydrated very easily. Especially when they are fed a mostly kibble (dry food) diet, their digestive systems use all of the water in the body- to include all major organs- to be able to process the dry food through the GI tract. This leaves the animal’s body very depleted of water. After prolonged exposure to water depletion, we are sure to expect bladder crystals and eventually early age kidney failure. By adding extra omegas to the diet, we are ensuring that moisture gets retained more regularly in the body. The evidence of this is in the lustrous nature of the coat and the moisture of the skin.

3)      Pumpkin- for animals with digestive issues, pumpkin is the way to go! Whether we have diarrhea or constipation, pumpkin is sure to help to regulate digestion and bowel function. Pumpkin is full of soluble fibre unlike many of the fibres found in grains. Insoluble fires are rampant in foods full of preservatives. Insoluble fibres are fibres that do not get broken down in the GI tract and pass right through the body. Soluble fibres are fibres that help to break down foods in the stomach and clean out the intestines on the way out. Often dogs/cats who only eat insoluble fibre will have poor gut health. Symptoms of poor gut health are: diarrhea, constipation, bad breath, gassiness, burping, vomiting and others. Pumpkin is an excellent source of potassium which is great for dogs with low energy!

4)      Blueberries- high in antioxidants (cancer fighting minerals), potassium (usable energy) and vitamins C & E. Replacing your dog’s treats with 2-4 frozen or fresh blueberries once per day is a fun way to add cancer-fighting snacks to the daily routine!

5)      Broccoli- detoxifies the body. Broccoli is also high in antioxidants and fibre. Broccoli is an anti-inflammatory and has many important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and important minerals such a calcium and potassium. Broccoli even has a notable amount of protein. To make digestion of broccoli and other veggies easier on your dog (or cat, but good luck!), you may find that steaming and softening the broccoli will help your dog to digest and absorb all of its wonderful nutrients.

Though there are many, many human foods that can be beneficial to cats & dogs, the above 5 are highly nutritious and have a variety of other benefits. It is important to ask your holistic vet if s/he feels that any of these foods are right for your animals. It is also of extreme importance that all those who care for animals realise that processed (canned or bagged) food of any quality is not fresh. Animals require whole foods for the best quality of life. Do your research. Read labels. You may soon find that what you had been told was a balanced diet is nothing more than the non-food parts of animals that are scooped up from the floors at processing plants, insoluble proteins (proteins that cannot be digested and go right through-leaving much room for malnutrition), salts and preservatives. Do not believe everything you hear from veterinarians, commercials, and anywhere else you obtain information! This is why it’s important to read up for yourself and ascertain what feels right to you. Do not be manipulated by the media!

HAPPY FULL MOON IN SAGITTARIUS!

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HAPPY FULL MOON IN SAGITTARIUS!

8:10 am central births the full moon in Sagittarius!  Sagittarius is ruled by the planet Jupiter which has been in retrograde for the last four months. This explains why we may have had difficulty manifesting our goals. The great news is that 7 minutes before this Sag full moon, Jupiter regains forward motion! We can celebrate by reclaiming our pens and papers to write down our intentions. Even though intention writing is most often done on the new moons, in this particular case, we may find an extra bit of power and motivation behind the words we write.

Because Jupiter deals a lot with belief systems, its retrograde for the last four months may have found us reliving old belief patterns in an effort to re-release. Remember, just because we thought we have worked through an aspect of our unhealthy beliefs does not mean that they are gone once and for all. This may have put us through an extra cycle of hard self-examination. With this morning’s forward motion, we can be sure that the cloud will slowly lift, giving way to a light, more jovial feeling. And the jovial feeling is completely in alignment with the Sag birthright to want to learn and experience everything with high spirits!

With the Gemini Sun opposition to the Sagittarian influence, we may find that we are inclined to daydream the day away. Gemini is an air sign, and though Sag is a fire sign, it is often responsible for the creation of lofty goals and ideals. And because of Jupiter’s forward motion, with a little bit of hard work and persistence, we may see these lofty goals realized!

Gemini is ruled by the planet Mercury which stands for communication. With the Sag moon above, we may discover a heightened ability to recognize truth versus untruth. We may find that we are able to easily discern what we receive that serves our highest good and that which does not. However, because of the Saturnian influence here (Saturn stands for structure of function) we may find that releasing that which no longer serves our highest good takes a bit more work than usual. That said, when we do release, we will feel empowered and self assured.

There may be a bit of conflict between the Sag/Jupiter free spirited energies and the Saturnian desire for structure and function. By committing to the hard work involved, we can keep our heads above the water and succeed. Because there is a strong tendency to notice untruth within our personal lives as well as globally, this I s a very significant moon. This moon and its surrounding days can allow us to take note of the untruth and injustice that surrounds our planet and our species. Instead of accepting that it is what it is, we can fight back. And the best form of retaliation in any battle against injustice is to be still, centre our hearts, and send love. Send love to animal kind, Mother Earth, humanity and even the powers that be who may be spreading injustice. These powers that be are the ones who need our love the most.

 

THE EMPATH TOOL KIT: 5 THINGS AN EMPATH MUST KNOW

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THE EMPATH TOOL KIT- 5 THINGS AN EMPATH NEEDS:

WHAT IS AN EMPATH?

An empath is a person who takes on energies of other people and places and integrates them as her own. There are two kinds of empaths. There are those of us who are conscious empaths and those of us who are unconscious. Those of us who are conscious empaths are aware that we take on external energies and are often able to stop them before we begin to integrate them as our own. Those of us who are unconscious empaths are often unable to recognize that what we are feeling may not be of our origin. When the latter happens, we can become easily overwhelmed, and not know why or where to turn. Because empaths are so sensitive, we are always at risk of attack by negative or harmful energies. Harmful energies do not necessarily mean physically harmful, however they are energies that resonate below our natural vibrations and are liable to bring ours down. Symptoms of being an empath are:

-Feeling drained after being in a crowd or with an emotional person

-Suddenly feeling sad, angry or depressed after speaking with someone who has those characteristics

-Extreme sensitivity to violence, cruelty and abuse

-Extreme sensitivity to media

-Taking situations very personally

-Energy matching people with whom we are conversing

-Feeling easily burnt out

There are so many ways for our energies to go haywire! With all of these potential situations, it is crucial to learn methods of self-protection.  Here are five tools that every empath needs to know about how to protect and heal:

1)      Sage- Sage is an ancient traditional tool used to neutralize negative energies. Called “smudging”, lighting dried sage and burning it around our living space and personal energy fields can rid us and our homes of energies that we may have attracted due to our empathic nature. Our living spaces may also attract negative energies based on who comes into the space, who has lived in the home prior to us and the land of the energy that the home was built on. Not only can the home take on energies based on the above three, but residual energies from arguments and trauma that have occurred in the home can also sustain themselves if uncleansed. Sage will remove residual energies and protect any undesired energies from entering or sustaining there.

2)      Crystals- Crystals have subtle vibrations that can protect and heal our energy fields. Certain types of crystals have a frequency that an protect our energy fields from negative and/or harmful energies. One example is black tourmaline. Black tourmaline is known for its protective properties.  Places in a pocket, purse or pillow case , black tourmaline is sure to protect invasive energies from interfering with us.

3)      Learn to protect your energy- By utilizing a simple and brief daily meditative exercise, we are able to create an energetic force field around ourselves. With this force field, we are assured that no energy can get through to harm us. By consciously inviting Archangel Michael into our space and asking him to surround us with white Light, to “clear and shield” our energy field, we will be invoking a layer of protection around our energies. We will be helping to prevent burnout.

4)      Energy Healing- Whether we choose to receive energy healing on a regular basis from a qualified practitioner or learn to practice it on ourselves, it is a very highly effective form of treatment for empaths. Because it is energy specifically that we are taking on, it would stand to reason that treating ourselves with benevolent energy will combat any residual undesired energies.

5)      Take breaks- empaths can easily become overwhelmed with energy. It is important for physical, mental and spiritual health that we take regular short breaks. It’s important that we take time for ourselves so that we do not burn out or worse- become ill. When we become overloaded with uncomfortable energies and there is no outlet, the uncomfortable energy has the potential to take its toll on our physical bodies. This is why it’s important to take the time to let it go. Take the time to reconnect with yourself; to nurture and to heal.

Especially in this day and age, there are countless opportunities to let other people’s energies create a fearful mindset within us. It’s important to first acknowledge which thoughts belong to us and which do not. Once we practice the art of discernment we will be far more apt to survive as empaths in such a tumultuous global environment.

 

5 INTEGRAL STEPS TO SELF-HEALING

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5 INTEGRAL STEPS TO SELF-HEALING

We have all asked ourselves: Why is life so challenging sometimes? And then we are reminded that if life was easy, we would never learn anything. It is the nature of the human experience to live out the peaks and troughs of life. As a result, the human experience can be quite uncomfortable at times. As with all circumstances, we have a choice. We can let them get the best of us, or we can employ our spiritual warrior sides and face them head on. When we choose, we must realize that if we choose to ignore the situations or let them get the best of us, we will continue to be confronted with them time and time again until we have healed. It is fair to say that the old proverb “If not now, when?” is of great import with this.

As a spiritual healer and teacher, I am often asked how to heal from a situation; whether it is a soul contract, heartbreak or trauma. Whatever the origin, the grieving process can be difficult at best. Here are five steps that we must all take in order to heal properly from pain, loss and trauma:

1)      Acknowledge- The first step to healing is to acknowledge that we are hurt. Acknowledge that it is time to heal.

2)      Accept- To fully heal, we must accept that we are hurt. We must accept responsibility for our part in the situation. We must accept that we are not a victim. We must accept that we have been involved in a situation that has caused us pain and accept that our actions have gotten us here. Or in some cases, we must accept that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We must not blame others for our pain. Though other people may have been involved in our traumatic experiences, our primary responsibility is to ourselves and our own healing, irrespective of others. We cannot change the events that have taken place, we can only change our reactions to them by accepting the situation as it is.

3)      Feel your feelings- to fully heal from an experience, letting yourself feel the depths of your pain is the most sincere form of facing your shadow side. It can be extremely uncomfortable at times to stare your heartache straight in the face but it is necessary to do so in order for it to work its way out of your system. Of course there is a major difference between dealing and dwelling. Dealing with pain means bearing down, sitting in it and letting the emotions run their course. Dwelling in pain refers to those of us who repeat the story of our pain over and over again to ourselves, not allowing ourselves to overcome the pain. It refers to those of us who are stuck in the trauma so deeply that it becomes who we think we are, and our true nature becomes lost. There is a fine line between dealing and dwelling. To deal with our pain, we must not ignore our feelings. We must not numb the pain with external substances such as drugs, alcohol and food. By numbing the pain, we are procrastinating the self-work involved in healing. We will eventually have to face the pain. And the deeper it’s buried, the harder it is to find. The more we ignore our feelings, the more we create a blockage within ourselves. And the bigger the blockage, the more healing will be necessary in the long run. To deal with our pain, we must acknowledge it, accept it and feel it; however uncomfortable it may be.

4)      Forgive yourself- Perhaps the most overlooked step to healing is self-forgiveness. Self-blame is a common thread in all situations that involve healing. We often blame ourselves for aspects of the situation that we had no control over at the time; aspects of the situation that could not have been altered. We blame ourselves to the point that the guilt takes over and causes a downward spiral thinking pattern. This too can lead to repetition of thought resulting in it becoming our identity; losing ourselves in the process. To err is human. We must recognize that we are fallible. We are not perfect; and it will only harm us to continue to punish ourselves for actions that we have taken that have created an undesirable result.  It is part of our wiring to make mistakes. If we did not make mistakes, we would never learn. And as we realize this, we can grow. To be gentle with ourselves is to begin to heal. Once you have forgiven yourself for your part in the situation, you are ready to let it go!

5)      Let it go- holding onto any burdensome situation is unhealthy. This behaviour affects our physical, emotional mental and spiritual states. To completely heal from any situation, we must let it go. We will know when we have finally healed from the experience when we are able to think about it and remain balanced. No crying, no sadness, no remorse. Once we have healed we will be able to reflect on the experience with love.

The road to self-healing can be complex; and to walk it we must be courageous. Remembering that we are only faced with what we can handle can give us the strength to succeed. Should we choose to delay the facing of our fears, we will hinder our personal progress. We will be subject to living out the same scenario time and time again until we learn from it. It is important to be patient with ourselves during our road to healing. We must give ourselves healthy space and time to breathe and build self-confidence so that we are able to overcome our perceived obstacles in order to come into alignment with our highest selves.

THE ABC’S OF COCONUT OIL FOR CATS & DOGS

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BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL FOR CATS AND DOGS

Due to an epidemic of side effects from eating poor quality food in combination with environmental toxins and drinking water with heavy metals, companion animals are experiencing many physical symptoms of poor health.

Beginning with food quality, many animals suffer from dry skin and dry coats. Most would have people believe that this is “normal”. It is not. When we examine the ingredients of the food that we are feeding our animal companions, we can begin to see what the issue is. When we examine kibble, for example, we can note that it is dehydrated food. What does this mean? It means that in order for the animal’s digestive system to pass the dehydrated food through his system, water must be sucked from every vital organ around (including eyes and mouth) in order to facilitate smooth digestion. We often find that in aging animals, a dry coat and skin is accompanied by redness of whites of eyes. This is a clear sign of dehydration. And it can be treated with coconut oil.

Coconut oil is high in omegas 3 and 6. Omega fatty acids allow for the body to absorb moisture more readily. They help with healthy cell development. Omegas have been studied and shown to prevent tumour formation in animals.

Coconut oil is a known lubricator of joints. In aging animals (just like aging people), the joints become dryer and lesser mobile. This is because the joint fluid becomes depleted; which can also most often be associated with dehydration. When joint lubrication is compromised, symptoms include lower joint mobility and eventually arthritis. Though arthritis can also be congenital, by adding coconut oil into an animal’s diet, the symptoms of arthritis will be lowered due to the additional joint lubrication that the oil provides.

For many cats and some dogs, regular water does not provide enough moisture for a healthy body. In cats, this is due to the origin of species as desert animals. Genetically, cats originated in areas of the world with scarce amounts of water. Their water drinking habits are learned behaviour. Though they have adapted behaviour to domestication, sometimes their bodies have not. This is to say that water often passes right through them without absorption. And, often they do not drink enough water at all to facilitate healthy kidney function. By adding a small amount of coconut oil to their food routine, they will be able to retain moisture within their skin, coat, eyes, mouth and digestive systems, allowing for a more healthful life experience.

Coconut oil has been found to lower symptoms of depression which can aid with animals who are anxious and/or depressed. Omegas can also help with increasing cognitive function which is especially important in kittens and puppies who have been weaned too early or those who have been “found” in the middle of nowhere at extremely young ages. These kittens and puppies have been weaned too early as well and their brains and digestive systems have not had enough nutrition from their mother to develop properly and fully.

Other benefits of coconut oil for cats and dogs include:

-Aids in digestion

-Aids in healing insect bites and stings; applied topically

-Antioxidant

-Antibacterial

-Antifungal

-Antiviral

-Balances thyroid

-Clears eczema and other rashes; applied topically OR ingested orally

-Eliminates bad breath

-Helps control diabetes

-Helps with “hot spots”

-Immediate source of fuel and energy

-Immune system support (for those who have read my previous articles on chronic allergies, this is for you!)

-Improves metabolic function

-Minimizes poor odor

-Moisturizes dry skin & coat

-Prevents Infection

-Promotes wound healing; topically or orally

Be mindful that coconut oil is high in fat and should be used in moderation. As with any new food or supplement, begin by adding a very small amount. Monitor cat or dog’s behaviour and bowels. Because this supplement is oil, runny stools are possible if too much oil is given at once. Begin with a half teaspoon for larger breed dogs and a quarter teaspoon for cats and smaller dogs. If the dosage has no adverse affects on stool, increase incrementally as needed. It is not necessary to administer coconut oil every day. Three times per week is a healthy start.

If your animal has pre-existing weight issues, keep the dosage on the lower end as the oil can cause fat increase. Be sure to provide adequate exercise for your animals at all times based on the individual needs (caloric intake, breed specific etc) for optimal wellness.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, EMAIL: jmorgan.soulstice@gmail.com

5 WAYS TO AVOID COMPANION ANIMAL TRAGEDY

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5 WAYS TO AVOID COMPANION ANIMAL TRAGEDY:

We all love our cats, dogs and other companion animals. We want to keep them healthy and around as long as possible. Are we limited in our understanding of how we can encourage this? Below are five easy ways to encourage longevity and avoid trauma and tragedy for our animal friends as well as our families:

1)      Observation- When we study Eastern Medicine, we will find that part of the method of ongoing health maintenance is called observation. This is the practice of examining our animal when he is healthy so that we are in immediate recognition of the moment any aspect of his health falls out of the norm. This can be done by the animal’s person as opposed to a professional doctor. It is our job to note how our animal companion behaves when he is healthy so that at the very first sign of a shift, we are able to recognize it. By practicing this, we can understand our animal’s warning signs when they first appear and react accordingly. Imagine how many terminal illnesses or surgery can be avoided if we had just noticed the early warning signs? When we observe our animals in a healthy state, we are looking for redness in the whites of eyes, normal tongue colour, healthy bathroom habits, healthy poop, healthy eating habits, skin texture, hair/fur texture, the way they walk (so we can note if they start to limp or overcompensate), among other aspects of their bodies and behaviours. We may also want to palpate our animal’s bodies while they are healthy so that any sign of a shift such as a lump, bump or swelling will be immediately evident should it appear. We must also keep in mind that these aspects of our animal friends’ bodies and behaviours are relative to each animal and breed. Some breeds of dog, for example, have naturally different coloured tongues than others. Some animals have different fur textures. This is why it is always important to note how your animal friend looks, feels and acts like when he is healthy.

2)      Regular Checkups- Whether you choose a western medicine practicing veterinarian, an eastern or both, it is important to schedule regular check-ups for your animal friends. Especially as they age, having a doctor examine them regularly will help to prevent painful organ dysfunction, blood borne illness, poor circulation leading to arthritis and kidney issues, severe dehydration, malnutrition and the rest of the spectrums of illness that can be caught at the early stages. Too many people wait until they see something “wrong” with their animals before taking them to the vet. Many of these painful experiences for animals can be completely avoided simply by scheduling regular visits to the vet. And though a trip to the vet is not altogether fun for our animals, in the long run, this practice will encourage longevity and a much better quality of life. As a side note: if something that a veterinarian recommends that does not intuitively feel right for you and/or your animals it is perfectly acceptable to do your own research on the subject and get a second opinion. There have been insurmountable cases that doctors have recommended foods and medicines that have been meant to treat a certain health issue and have caused quite a lot of damage to the animal. Listening to your vet is important, but doing your own research and getting a second (or third) opinion is paramount to granting your animal friends a healthful and pain-free life!

3)      Feed Whole Foods- JUST LIKE FOR PEOPLE feeding your animal friends whole foods is the most nutritious way to go. The “prescription diet” recommended foods are full of insoluble proteins (meaning- they do not get digested and pass right through). More often than not, feeding low quality food brands and nutrient poor brands, leads to muscular atrophy, poor digestive systems, dull coats and hair loss, early stage organ failure, and sometimes cancers. They are full of preservative salts, corn gluten and other fillers that can be quite detrimental to your animal’s health. Not only are these brands the highest in price, but they are also among some of the poorest nutrient-rich foods you can buy. There are far higher quality foods for lower prices that will help your animal friends to feel nourished and healthy. Food quality has always been and always will be the gateway to a healthful life! For more information on the quality of food that you are feeding your animal friend, READ THE INGREDIENTS!!! Take a few minutes to research the ingredients in your food-particularly the first ones on the list. Cross reference sites so that you are not reading biased information. It is also important to research where the food company factory is. If your animal food brand is has its processing plants outside of North America (some are located all the way in Asia!) consider the fact that once this food is processed and packaged it still needs to travel overseas before it gets to the stores in our country. This adds a tremendous amount of time to the already waning shelf life of the product. Because of the distance and time travelled, factories need to add more preservatives so that these products can stay “fresh”. By buying locally processed foods, we are lessening the need for extra preservatives, and we can know where the food sources are coming from.

4)      Keep Your Animal Friend at a Healthy Weight- No matter what species you are, obesity is very painful; and completely avoidable. If you feel that your animal’s obesity does not cause him distress, you are wrong. If you do not have the energy, time or will to exercise your animal, perhaps caring for an animal is not right for you. Animals need exercise for physical wellness, mental and emotional wellness AND spiritual wellness. Young animals need exercise to blow off steam, aging animals need exercise to lubricate joints, mobilize joints, facilitate proper blood flow and circulation, among many others. Keeping our animal friends at a healthy weight includes; no table scraps, daily exercise, low fat foods, no snacking between meals, feeding a specific amount of food that is perfect for each individual animal’s weight maintenance.

5)      Keep them safe!!- Some humans are of the belief that “animals will be animals”. While this is true, they are still our responsibility while we are caring for them. It is our responsibility to keep all toxic substances away from our animals. It is our responsibility to keep them on our properties so they do not wander onto a busy street, get stolen or become prey. It is our responsibility to allow them to live in warm, hospitable, safe environments. We can do this by remembering that if we choose to take on the responsibility of caring for an animal, our home is their home too. Keeping our animals safe also means being mindful of how long they are exposed to extreme weather; only allow them limited access to extreme cold or heat. Animals are incredibly temperature sensitive and any drastic change in temperature or extreme weather can cause severe damage such as frost bite, tail loss, limb loss, heat stroke and severe dehydration ; to name a few. Animals deserve to be comfortable there as much as we do. Additionally, we must remember that every time we let them outside, they have the potential to run away or go too far that we cannot find them. It is not a reflection of us, it is a reflection of their natural genetic wiring. Though they are predisposed to live in a domesticated environment, their initial predisposition leads all the way back to their species origin in the wild. They are natural hunters and predators. They love to wander off. We can avoid certain tragedy to this tune by taking steps to allow them to be outside in a secured way. We can spend some extra time building a fence, buying an extra strong leash and harness as well as anything else that is required to keep them protected!

By following these guidelines as well as paying adequate attention, we are sure to promote a healthy living environment inside and out for our very best friends; our companion animals!

TO SCHEDULE YOUR ANIMAL COMMUNICATION/REIKI SESSION OR TO SIGN UP FOR OUR CLASSES, EMAIL: jmorgan.soulstice@gmail.com

HAPPY FULL MOON IN LIBRA!

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FULL MOON IN LIBRA

Happy full moon in Libra! Today, April 11, 2017 is the full moon in Libra in the sun sign of Aries. Because Libra is the sign of harmony and balance, we may find within ourselves the desire to be of service to others. And this is a wonderful idea! The 48 hours of this full moon are an excellent time to spread the energies of peace and harmony; to uplift those with whom you cross paths. This is the perfect day to spend our time and energies being of service to others. Being of service to others; both animal and human is a very high vibration act and is sure to heal ourselves as well in the process!

The sign of Libra is ruled planet Venus which exudes Divine Feminine energies. Aries, our current sun sign, is ruled by the planet of Mars; the male God of war. This leads to an interesting battle in our consciousness between the Divine feminine and warlike masculinity. If we let this battle take the stage, we may find ourselves amidst a power struggle between our ego and our self all day long. If this should begin to take shape, we must not submit to the battle. We can easily remind ourselves that we have the power to rise above and spend our valuable energy connecting with the nurturing and harmonious energy that is this lunar pull.

Because we are in the middle of our Mercury retrograde, we may also feel a string inclination to spend this day going within to seek aspects of our own lives and selves that are need rebalancing. For more information about this Mercury retrograde, please see:

https://soulsticespirit.com/2017/04/09/mercury-retrograde-what-does-it-mean/

This full moon is about focusing our consciousness onto the global scale. It is about coming together through unconditional love to raise the vibration of our Mother Earth. Because Libra is the sign of harmonious balance, this full moon carries with it a strong capacity to open our hearts and remember that we are a collective consciousness. Our concept of individuality is an Earthly vibration and once we step outside of that vibration into higher awareness, we can be reminded that we are all one, and that any though, feeling or belied each of us partakes in does affect the whole. This full moon is an ideal time to remove that veil of individuality, and instead of focusing on differences we may believe we have from others, to focus on one similarity that we all share: our Divine ability to love and be loved.

MERCURY RETROGRADE- WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

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RETROGRADE

We have all heard been warned about the Mercury retrograde. The question is, what is it all about?

Spiritualists and astrologers alike are often puzzled by the mishaps and misunderstandings of the phenomenon of Mercury retrograde. Like clockwork, those three to four times per year when Mercury goes into retrograde, we are sure to experience some chaos! Whether the chaos is external or internal, there is almost always a sense of circumstances being shaken up.

To understand the nature of the warning of planets being in retrograde, we can seek out the meaning of “retrograde” itself. What does it mean? We use the word “retrograde” to describe a planet’s motion.  At certain times during the year, Mercury appears in the night sky to be going backwards. Of course the planet is not actually going backwards as it has a steady elliptical course that it treks. What it does mean, however is that it appears, from Earth, to be heading in a backwards direction relative to the Earth’s rotation around the sun. Because the planets, including Earth journey on an elliptical path, at certain points in their revolutions around the sun, they will appear to be going backwards from one planet to another. Mercury is not the only planet that appears to be going backwards from Earth, however it is the planet with the most frequent retrogrades as it is closest to the sun. Its revolution course is much shorter relative the other planets in our solar system. Mercury goes retrograde between three and four times per year, whereas the rest of the planets’ revolutions take longer therefore have fewer retrogrades. And when we look at the revolutions of the farthest planets such as Saturn and Uranus, we can note that they go retrograde far less frequently than do the planets closer to the sun. In fact, some only go retrograde every couple of years. And instead of the duration being three weeks as Mercury’s is, theirs can be over six months.

According to astrology, each planet has its own set of spiritual aspects. Each planet has both a strong gravitational pull on us as well as a strong counterpart in our consciousness. This is to say that each planet has its individual set of characteristics that resonate with us on different levels. One such example is Mercury.  Mercury’s characteristics include; the planet of communication, messenger planet of the Gods, speech, travel, early learning, writing, conscious though, intellectual capacity and logic.

When we couple the characteristics of Mercury with the concept of retrograde, we can begin to see the origin of the apparent chaos. When we refer to energy, we can note that a planet’s seemingly backward motion might have a “backward” type aspect. This is to say that when we couple the backward energy of the retrograde with Mercury’s characteristics, there is a recipe for chaotic disorder. During this disorderly period, we may find that important documents go missing, that signed paperwork must be re-evaluated due to mistakes and we may lose important items. There is also a heavy emphasis on being cautious when traveling. This is due to Mercury’s connection to travel. And when Mercury “goes backwards”, there is often opportunity for missed connections, lost travel tickets, malfunctioning electronics… you name it!

In addition to all of the potential external struggles of Mercury retrograde, there is also an important connection to the potential inner chaos that some people experience throughout this retrograde.  Retrogrades of any planet are a time to go within and reflect. Within any retrograde, there is a string potential to grow. But growing takes work! During the time of the retrograde of any planet, we may experience a resurfacing of old wounds, negative emotions and frustrations. This, for sensitives, is normal. The challenge of looking within during the retrograde pushes us to examine what aspects of ourselves we must work on in order to heal and grow.

Often, the feeling of this push can feel like we are muddling through a swamp. Each step can feel so draining and exhausting. Each thought can be distressing. We may even feel like we do not want to get out of bed in the morning. We may feel as if we are having a healing crisis- and some of us very well may be. Specifically regarding Mercury’s retrograde, we may feel an inability to communicate effectively or progress on any projects. But though these feelings are deep and heavy, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Because Mercury’s retrograde is only three weeks long, we can rest assured that these heavy feelings are short-lived. We can rest assured that we are not alone in this struggle, as many of our friends and colleagues are undergoing similar trials at the same time. And it may help to talk to them about it!

When the retrograde of any planet happens, we can let it get the best of us. But we also have another option. We can recognize that this is the perfect opportunity to take the time to look within and analyze ourselves from a higher perspective. We can utilize this opportunity to make a concerted effort to let go of that which no longer serves our highest good. With this knowledge and understanding, we are sure to be successful!

WHO ARE YOU?

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WHO ARE YOU? A CLOSER LOOK AT IDENTITY

Some time ago, I was challenged by Spirit to take a good hard look at my concept of “identity”. Initially I had some idea what I would find, but as I delved deeper into the existential idea, I became aware of just how much humankind is influenced by what we have adopted as our identity.

When we think about our identity, we often associate it with our given names, our jobs, our financial income, what we have or do not have and where we live. We may relate our identity to aspects of our childhood; how we grew up, what our parents may have put us through and what town we grew up in. We may relate our identity to a chronic illness; physical mental or otherwise. And we may even relate our identity to what we believe we look like relative to others. Further, perhaps on a deeper level, we can examine who we think we are by acknowledging our likes and dislikes. What are we passionate about? What moves us? What do we stand for? What do we stand against? What makes our skin crawl? The list of question goes on. And most of this list is compiled by external influences.

According to Buddhist, Hindu and Spiritualist faiths, all of what we have constructed within our minds to claim as “who we are” is simply a reflection of ego. When we observe the concept of “ego” we are referring to the term indicated in Hindu scriptures that opposes the term “self” which refers to the naked soul.  This soul is our true nature, free of Earthly desires and fears. The self is the immortal part of our experience that lives out each incarnation in any body it chooses in order to learn whatever experiences it needs to in order to fulfill its higher purpose. 

Along with the self, the ego incarnates into the body. The ego exists for the purpose of teaching us how to make peace with it. Apart from the self, our ego forms attachments to the experiences we have had and integrated them as our identity. When we become invested in the experiences that we have had, we become very attached to them and how they have affected us. And we begin to dwell on them. We begin to allow these experiences to shape our personalities. They easily become who we believe we are. When we relive a story time after time in our minds, when we continue to rerun it over and over, we become so attached to it that we believe that this is who we are.

Often we will find ourselves using these experiences that we have had as excuses for ourselves. They become our belief systems as to why we “can’t”, “shouldn’t” or “are afraid”. These excuses and belief systems that we have wired into our minds become the blueprints that shape the rest of our lives- if we let them.

Our identity is often fuelled by our image. In our minds it has become very important to pay attention to what we look or seem like to other people. In some cases we can spend our lives trying to fit into a mold and making ourselves look or seem appealing in one way or another. We become attached to the idea that we need to look a certain way. We become attached to the idea that we have a specific role to play. We become attached to the idea that we are “strong”, we are “sick”, we “can’t afford” we are “depressed”, we are “the well-dressed man”, “hot girl”, “fat guy”- all of these images that we feel we can relate to become our identity.  Even chronic illness becomes our perceived identity. When we feed into these identities, they begin to run our lives. Instead of understanding that these circumstances are external and remaining detached, we integrate them into ourselves and they become who we are. And in doing so, we are missing the point. When we seek validation from external sources, we are only seeking to fill a void within ourselves that can only be truly filled with self love. This self love can only be attained by making the time to look at and work on the parts of ourselves that can be uncomfortable and dark. Though this can be highly unpleasant at times, the resulting self love brings with it a beautiful sense of peace and well being.

If we take a moment to examine who we are, free of our experiences and beliefs, we may come to a profound insight. Let’s use myself as an example: I am J Morgan Saifer. I am an Animal Communicator. These statements are valid, as they are my given name and my occupation. However they are just that- a name and an occupation. Let us understand that our occupation does not define who we are. Our occupation is a choice that we have made in order to fulfill certain Earthly needs. If we are fortunate, our occupation is one that we enjoy and can bring Light to others. However, no matter how spiritual a job is, it does not define our identity. In fact, years ago I was in the company of many new people at a party. And when asked the socially prevalent question “what do you do?” my answer was simply “I love”.  I stand by this statement.

When we remove the occupation (or any other external experience such as poverty, wealth, family trauma, etc) of the identity, we are left with: I am J Morgan Saifer. Upon examination of this statement, it is valid, as this is my given name and how I identify myself to others. However, when we look at what the given name represents, we can peel away its layers as well. Saifer is my family name, a lineage that has little to do with my “self” and everything to do with my ego. Because my body (DNA) belongs to a specific set of genetics, I was born with the identity of my mother’s and father’s genetics and all of their belief systems. This, as well as any other family lineage in the world has presented many blessings and challenges; all of which have been accrued due to previous generations of human experience.

Further, when we remove my name, we are left with the phrase “I am”. What am I? I am a female. I am 36. I am Caucasian. I am a healer. All of these adjectives and titles that we call ourselves are once again borne of identity. These are Earthly depictions of how we identify ourselves relative to others. These identifications have nothing to do with the self but for the challenges of making peace between it and the ego identity,

We are then left with “I ”. The name “I ” accounts for the Earthly belief that each of us is separate from the next. This separation occurs on Earth due to each individual’s concept of her own identity. But when we view this concept from a higher perspective, we will find that this separation is in the minds of the human ego. When we view this separation from a higher perspective we will see that when we become one with the self, there is in fact no separation at all; we are all one. We have all come from the same benevolent origin and continue to incarnate with ego life after life in order to find peace with it. And until we realize this, we are subject to this cycle of reincarnation.

And then we are left with nothing. When we are truly one with the self, all of the individual identity dissipates and we become reconnected with the benevolent source from which we came. And according to Buddhist, Hindu and Spiritualist beliefs, this is the nature of human existence, and the sum and parts of the meaning of life.

It is necessary to have awareness of what we identify with to survive in society. However the key is to be aware of these aspects of our ego and remain healthfully detached from them. By living our lives in this way, we may find that our lives become more peaceful; for attachment is the root of all suffering.

TO SCHEDULE AN INTUITIVE READING, EMAIL: jmorgan.soulstice@gmail.com