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Jennifer Freed: The Cat’s Meow!

Greetings all,

What a great show this week with best-selling author Jennifer Freed, PhD. Jennifer joined me on Life Shifting with Dr J to share about her new book: Life Lessons from Stanley the Cat–Nine Lives of Everyday Wisdom. Filled with beautiful illustrations, potent and inspiring information, this book will touch your heart, open your mind, and activate your soul (even if you’re not a cat lover!).

wild, wistful...and wise

Jennifer has done a marvelous job of reflecting on her 19 year-long relationship with her beloved pet, and distilled into this compact book all the wise and wonderful teaching he passed on to her–about life, love, catching rays, rats, and the all-important NAP.

Seriously, this book is easy to digest, comes in small, well-articulated morsels…and is quite profound. As a psychotherapist and depth psychologist, Jennifer knows how to dig below the surface and scratch at the core of our human foibles–with a non-judgmental stance, tons of compassion, and a touch of humor. Much of what Jennifer gleaned from her nine-lived Stanley–and that she shared in the book and with me on the show–is about REMEMBERING the little things that matter most in life:

–Take time to DO NOTHING
(only in quiet repose, can the seeds of your creativity be watered)

High Productivity

–Take time to rest, relax and stretch
(the body is your true home, without it you’d be pretty lost!)

Learn from the best!

–Reach out to TOUCH someone when they are in pain
(sometimes all we humans really need is a HUG and a little caress)

–Eat what your body needs…and leave the rest for the dog
(you can only digest SO MUCH…so don’t be greedy!)

–Spit up instead of swallowing bad food or bad feelings (it is good to purge the system once in a while!)

And so on…

As we approach the holidays and maybe feel a bit revved up with a long to-do list of parties, shopping, travel plans and the like…it is quite easy to get lost in the whirlwind of busy-ness and forget to BE PRESENT, to actually ENJOY the moment(s)…of each day.

what matters most?

I hope you will find time in your busy schedule to download and listen to Jennifer’s wonderful stories (click here) about how this cool new book came into being. Listen deeply as she shares the wisdom passed on by her beloved pet (who passed away recently after 19 years). You’ll definitely want copies of this book for Xmas gifts…and you may just find yourself curled up in front of the fire, nuzzling your dog, cat or significant other, perusing this book…and sailing softly into dreamland…with a smile.

Many thanks to Jenn! Her book deserves a special spot on your gift list…right next to SHIFT: Let Go of Fear and Get Your Life in Gear! (shameless self promotion, I know…but hey, SHIFT would make a super holiday gift for someone in need of a life-shift, or a lift…and a GIFT!!!


Dr J


When Small is BIG

Well, it has been almost a week since what I like to call the big “Shift” in America, truly a collective “life-shift” if there ever was one. I don’t know about you but I’m still glowing with the feelings of hope, joy and possibility that Obama’s election and the historic collective shift in consciousness may mean for our country…and the globe.

Interesting tidbit though: do you know what the single most talked about topic has been on the blogs and Obama’s website since his acceptance speech? Economic downturn? No. Ending Iraq war? No. New Cabinet appointees? Nope. Surprise: the single most talked about thing in the world of “all things Obama” has been what kind of puppy will be gifted to his two young daughters as they transition to life in the big house. A puppy? Not economic tsunamis and wars?

That’s right, the puppy. It seems that in the midst of the most historic event perhaps in our lifetimes, what the world cares about is something small. Something mundane. Yet, are we really surprised? When it comes right down to it, even in the midst of huge cataclysmic life shifts–collective or personal–what often really bubbles to top-o-mind for most of us is the small stuff, the little, touching, moving, connective tissues that remind us of what really matters: puppies matter. Daughters matter. Hugs and cuddles and licks on the face…they really matter.

At the end of the day, what gives meaning and purpose to life is the little things. The things that remind us of our inherent humanity, the things–like love of cuddly puppies–that bring all the big woes of the world back down to earth and remind us that we are all really the same, that we are all simply human beings living on a tiny dirtball spinning in space…and that life is a mystery.

Watching President-elect Obama give his firt press conference, to the world, as it were–since every eye on the planet is clearly on him these days–I was once again, as I have been often watching him during the campaign, impressed and moved by his groundedness and humility. He’s just a regular guy, with his head on straight (hopefully, it will stay that way!), and his priorities in order: puppies first, saving the world, second.

He knows, as we all know, if we stop and reflect for a moment, that where true meaning is found in life is in the small, everyday moments; moments when we come face to face with the mystery and wonder and blessings of being alive: in the glowing, innocent face of a new-born puppy. The miracle of life.

In my line of work, I’m often asked to help clients make the big shifts–to find a purpose in life with a capital “P”. There are endless articles and books written about how crucial it is to have a purpose, a goal, a reason to get out of bed in the morning. This is all to the good, but sometimes I think that our goal and purpose-oriented culture misses the boat: what we all really want in life is not just purpose, but MEANING–to feel that being alive has depth, that we are not isolated and alone but touched and connected; to belong.

So in keeping with the President-elect’s top priorities: just for today let’s not worry too much about having a grand purpose or goal in life. Instead, look around at your life and take a meander through the mundane. Take an inventory of what you find most touching, meaningful, and moving in your life. I bet it won’t be a grand, eloquent, or audacious goal for making big money or changing the world (not that there is anything wrong with either!), but more likely it will be the smile across the table from you spouse after you bring her/him coffee, or the grateful meow and leg rub you’ll get from the kitty who you just fed, or the heart-warming chuckle you’ll feel when a pal sends you photos of his son’s first Halloween costume. You get the idea.

Purpose is fine, but meaning is what counts. Purpose is for a life time, meaning is for moments. And, at the end of the day, moments are all we really have.

Small moments, big joy. A simple formula, for a day, for life.

Ok, gotta run…kitty whining.

Dr J