Rose Quartz and Running Cats

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Rose Quartz is my all-time favourite crystal. It was the first, serious, ‘purposed’ crystal I had ever come across, when my son gave me a piece to help with depression and anxiety, and all the other lovely little mental trolls that go with these conditions.

Rosie’, as I affectionately call her, is my featured Gravatar as well as being a symbol of love and peace.

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Rose Quartz is an important crystal both to me and in the metaphysical realm : it is linked to the heart chakra and shows the true meaning of love. It purifies and heals; it calms and reassures; all important qualities that my son had in mind when he chose this particular piece for me.

Rose Quartz is calming and healing, bringing peace and stilling that unsure voice of self – doubt in the back of your mind. It is beneficial for relationships as it draws love towards its wearer/owner and restores the balance of trust and harmony.

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Rose Quartz sends bad vibes packing while encouraging empathy and sensitivity. It can help with accepting the inevitable changes that life brings and will heal heartache and soothe grief.

This beautiful pink crystal teaches you how to love yourself, to value yourself and promote peace… the hippy of the crystal world… yeah man…

Needless to say, my Rose Quartz collection has grown, from freeforms to spheres to eggs… a family of tumblestones in various shades of pink from palest blush to strawberry milkshake. Rather like my feline fur family…

_mg_1259-2Beautiful translucent rough piece of Rose Quartz… looks like a shark fin… 

It’s a never – ending source of amusement to me just how very different from each other my girls are. Charlie, our “firstborn”, is very much our little princess, number one girl. Lily has absolutely no pretensions to being anything other than what she is, a charming, pretty, fluffy little killer. Ting, our Siamese babe. Beautiful, kind, but not exactly over – burdened in the brains department. Tooty, our furry marshmallow. Cuddly, soft and sweet, who’ll lie happily on her back beside you, paws waving, as she purrs and air kneads.

Yet, they all share the same quality I love in cats, an elegance and grace of movement, an economy of speed that eats up the ground as they leap, effortlessly, across the garden in play or hunting mode.

_mg_7576Rabbity hind legs!

When I come home, I love the fact that my girls all run to meet me, tails up and joy on their fur faces, “Meep”-ing and “Waoh”-ing encouragement to quickly, quickly come inside and open catfood…

Where have you BEEN? You’ve been gone AGES… we thought you’d gone forever…”

Part of the returning home ceremony is stopping to greet them all as they gallop towards me … Charlie reminds me of a little clockwork toy, dainty tabby toes going “tick tock tick tock” rapidly down the path towards me.

_mg_7550Beautiful speedy turn!

I love my little girls dearly and value them for the unqualified love, joy and companionship they bring me. My life has been enriched selflessly and generously by a succession of feline family members, and I hope… and I hope…

_mg_9899Look at this cat! She’s so FAST! Over here, over there…!

I lack all certainty
yet still I hope
that at the edge of death I’ll see
a small cat racing from the dark
to welcome me.

Pam Brown

Harry Potter Spell Tag

Potter 11.jpgThis is Iceland Spar (or Optical Calcite), used in a variety of optical equipment… I wear glasses for reading!

I must thank Chloe Douglas for nominating me for this. It is primarily directed towards Harry Potter fans, as you can see from the tags, however it was fun to do! By the way, I have read all the Harry Potter books…

 

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A childhood book connected to good memories.

I was quite ill when I was a child, so my mother taught me to read at a young age. She bought me the whole ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ series which transported me to a different time and world. This is a series that I returned to, even as an adult with the same enjoyment I had as a child, and an adult appreciation of the deeper message.

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A book that took you by surprise

The Murder Bag’ by Tony Parsons. Totally hooked on this author! Well-constructed plot, detailed, convincing… It’s a police/crime/thriller book and not my usual fare.

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The last book you read.

The Good Girl’ by Fiona Neill. Hmm. Quite enjoyed it, although I found the character of the mother unlikeable and if there is a character that is taking up a lot of page space, I do like to find something just plain ol’ nice about them… still worthwhile reading though.

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A book that introduced you to a genre you hadn’t considered before.

The Martian’ by Andy Weir. I don’t know whether it could be strictly called Science Fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it totally believable and compelling.

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A funny book you’ve read.

The first funny book I ever read was ‘It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet’ by James Herriot. My father was a vet, so I had a prior interest in it anyway, but I love James Herriot’s style of recounting his adventures in the Yorkshire Dales.

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A book you think everyone should know about.

‘Ferney’ by James Long. This is a beautiful bittersweet story of an endless love… Beautifully written, emotion-filled, gripping story… what more can I say? Just read it!

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A book or spoiler you would like to forget having read.

Alleigant’ by Veronica Roth. Sometimes I like Y.A. fiction. First two – brilliant. Last one – wish I hadn’t bothered.

Potter 13.pngCharlie obviously found this quite gripping!

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A book you had to read for school.

Emma’ by Jane Austen. I first did this in school when I was about twelve and it was my first introduction to Classic Literature. I loved each delicately constructed sentence and carefully placed comma, the sly, but gentle humour and – of course – the ending. One book I would (and have) quite happily read for pleasure again and again.

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A book that was painful to read.

The Time Traveler’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger. I loved the film, but unfortunately I found the book had no ‘flow’ and the jumping back and forth was irritating rather than helpful to the plot.

Potter 12.jpg“Personally I didn’t think much of that one.”

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A book that could kill (interpret as you will).

War and Peace’ by Leo Tolstoy. I went through a phase of reading Russian Classic Literature when I was an angst-ridden teenager. I read ‘War and Peace’ – it nearly killed me as indeed the physical book would if applied with sufficient force to someone’s head. It’s a big book…

I hope you enjoyed reading!

My nominees are:

In The Autumn Of My Life

Me:V

Wendy

…And, of course, anyone else who would like to have a go! Thank you as always for reading.

Kindness

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I don’t do unkindness. Not now. Not anymore. There was too much of it in my earlier life and I reached a point where I felt ill with it… like eating too many greasy chips. I thought I would hate to make anyone else feel as I did and had a quick prod of the old emotions – as you do – to see what I could do to feel better.

Kindness. I am not speaking about dancing around scattering glitter and flowers, and letting people liberties with you. Just little things. Like the opening of a door for someone; a pleasant smile and a ‘thank you’ can make all the difference to a day and make you feel that it is all worthwhile.

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Un-kindness is unnecessary and very rarely justified. I saw something that made me so sad the other day as I was dusting in my son’s bedroom. I had the window open, and we overlook a park. A little boy, only about three, was walking with his mother who was on her phone and pushing a pushchair. He had some sweets, but dropped them and started to cry. Instead of comforting him, or saying:

Never mind, we’ll get you some more,” the woman cuffed him across the top of his head and shouted:

Now look what you’ve done, you little tw**! Well that’s it, you’re not getting any more!”

What was the point of that? How cruel and unkind a response to an unfortunate accident. The little boy wanted his sweets, he didn’t throw them away in temper, he wasn’t misbehaving. As I watched from the bedroom window, the mother seized the little boy and dragged him away, still sobbing miserably.

What did the child learn from that? That his earliest disappointments in life will come from his mother? Not a lesson I would ever want my sons to learn. That it’s all right to hit out in temper at someone who’s already upset? Or hey, life’s a bitch and inevitably something worse will happen when you’re already hurting?

Really, it wouldn’t have taken much just to comfort the little boy, or even say:

“Well, we can’t go back to the shop now, let’s go home and watch television and you can have some more sweets tomorrow.”

IMG_6447 (2).JPGA pink rose, traditionally associated with kindness, love and gentleness

The ‘un’ kindness of the whole incident struck me as sad and unnecessary. However, I’m not judging the mother, perhaps she had a bad day… but there is always room for kindness, and a grateful smile from her little boy could have been her reward if the whole scenario had played out differently.

So. As I said previously, there’s no need to be unrealistic about the kindness you bring to the world, just think about what you do. You’ll feel better in yourself and you will have a better response from the people you meet. And, here’s a thought, be kind to yourself too. Give yourself a break.

(Thank you to Iman Refaat of Perceptions for inspiring this post and making me think about kindness. She’s a lovely person, check out her blog for inspiration, positivity and encouragement.) 

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All featured crystals are examples of Rose Quartz, my favourite crystal. It is linked to the heart chakra and helps to promote love, compassion and empathy.

Zoisite and Zen Cats…

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I borrowed “Zen” for the sake of alliteration here, for although I have my own belief system, personal to me, I like the 21st interpretation of the word. “Zen” has somehow evolved to mean calm and centred, possibly derived from the practice of meditation in Buddhism. There is much to be learned from the art of meditation: it is both calming and grounding, even if you don’t at first achieve a state of enlightenment. It can help to deal with depression, stress and anxiety as you are within yourself, and at one with yourself.

Cats are masters at the art of meditation. I have sometimes mistaken Ting’s deep, contemplative state as one of her shifts at her part-time job of being a garden rock…

No! I’m not sleeping! I was a paw step away from total peace…”

Oh, sorry, I thought you were just sleeping…”

Charlie is an excellent meditation partner – she likes to sit on my legs to ground me and purr soothingly, while I refresh and re-connect. Sometimes we are joined by one or two of the other cats, just sitting, and purring, sitting and purring…

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Zoisite, therefore, is an excellent stone for meditation, and one that I mean to try for myself, rather than my “Go-to” stone of Rose Quartz. In The Autumn Of My Life did a wonderful post about her personal experience of Zoisite, go and check it out…

A typical interpretation of this stone is that it is positive and uplifting, it can transform negative energies, dispel lethargy and give you a hotline to the spiritual realms, so to speak. Zoisite is a stone of direction, enabling positive character traits and focus. Ruby in Zoisite is a combination stone, bestowing the benefits of Ruby too as it is linked to the Crown Chakra. It can help to access the soul memory and facilitate spiritual learning, maintain your connection to other people whilst amplifying the biomagnetic field around your body, protecting your sense of inner peace and calm.

A little piece and serenity can go a long way to self help and healing, not least making you feel better after a long, horrendous day. Then I look forward to sitting down, cup of tea in hand and cat on knee; after a few minutes, the stress oozes away, the dark depressive cloud lifts and I can see a way forward.

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My cats are both calming and restorative to me, there have been quite a few articles written about the health benefits of owning a pet, with scientific proof, but as well as being good for the body, they are also good for the soul. What you see is what you get with a cat, there is no artifice or deception, they don’t understand – or care – about how people perceive them, they just know that they are cats. They sometimes aspire to greater things, but ultimately they accept themselves for what they are and are at peace with that:

If there were a universal sound depicting peace, I would surely vote for the purr.”

Barbara L. Diamond

3 Day Quote Challenge #3

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Day 3 and the last day for me… final thanks go to Nikhil of Weirdly Wired for the challenge. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading…

So, rules:

  1. Post 1 quote each day for 3 days.
  2. A theme for each day would be nice (although not necessary)
  3. Nominate 3 blogs to pick up the challenge and pass on…

Don’t forget to let your nominees know on their blog… 

TAG, YOU’RE IT!

 

The theme today is crystals and the quote is from my oldest son’s favourite scientist/thinker…

In crystal we have a pure evidence of the existence of a formative life principle, and although in spite of everything we cannot understand the life of crystals – it is still a living being.

Nicola Tesla

My final nominations are:

  1. In The Autumn Of My Life
  2. Granny Moon’s Morning Feast
  3. Crystal Clear

 

Obviously, there is no pressure to accept – it’s just a bit of fun:)

Crystal Eggs and Cats’ Ears

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I love my crystals and often spend ages re-arranging them, dusting them, getting to know them… My first piece that really resonated with me was the Rose Quartz piece that my son gave me, and which I use as my Gravatar. Consequently, I feel naturally drawn to the rough chunks of crystals. I also have a lot of tumblestones, for various uses, from pocket rocks, to putting in spiral cages to wear as pendants or under my pillow.

I went through a phase of worrying about shaped crystals, like wands, eggs and hearts, whether it actually hurt or damaged them in some way… I confided this worry to my son’s lovely crystal lady Lizian with some trepidation – after all, who in their right mind worries about a stone? (I knocked one of my son’s crystal spheres over and I cried because I felt so awful… however it broke along a natural fault line and now has a nice flat base to sit on…) My son’s crystal lady listened to me with great seriousness and then gave me her interpretation which I found both comforting and reassuring.

Rough crystals contain an energy similar to that of a lightbulb – flick a switch and the whole room is full of light. When a crystal is shaped and polished into a particular form, such as an egg, then the energy is gathered and contained, for easier direction and intention, rather like shining a torch… Added to that, the egg is a powerful symbol of rebirth and renewal in itself, and crystal eggs are invaluable tools for anyone who works in crystal therapies. They can be used to detect and rebalance blockages in the energy flow of the body; the pointed egg-end is a useful reflexology or acupressure tool and apart from anything else, they are nice to hold. Did anyone else’s parents have some agate eggs, perhaps in a bowl on the coffee table when they were children…?

Obviously different crystal eggs will have additional beneficial qualities, for example, Agate, although slow working, is a stone of harmony and acceptance. It can aid with self analysis and overcoming negativity.

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Agate – stabilising, cleansing and can transform negative energies…

My oldest son bought me this beautiful Selenite egg… good for overcoming sleep problems and instilling a deep sense of calm. Helpful with meditation.

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Onyx eggs, beautiful and banded, Onyx is strength giving and supportive, yet good at holding secrets. Its capability for holding physical memories makes it good to use for past life healing issues that can affect the present day life.

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My personal favourite, Rose Quartz – in an egg! Stone of the heart, it is excellent for emotional holding, comfort, re-affirming positive intentions and enhancing empathy and sensitivity… as sensitive as a cat’s ears…

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Cats have thirty two individual muscles in their ears that allow them to move independently of one another. Dogs have around twelve, I think it depends on whether they have stick up ears or floppy ones.. Ears are so sensitive and such a vital part of any animal’s anatomy, I’m afraid I find the practice of ear-cropping absolutely abhorrent. It’s illegal now, here in the U.K. – but would you cut a baby’s ears into points to make it look fierce? Likewise tail docking: until only relatively recently, tail docking in certain breeds, such as the Dobermann, was allowed. Again, a barbaric practice as you are robbing the dog of an essential piece of equipment with which to express itself. Having said that, when I was a little girl, my father had to remove the last three inches of his Great Dane’s tail – he was a veterinary surgeon! – because she was an enthusiastic wagger. She knocked the tip of her tail off and it had bled so profusely it looked like Jackson Pollock had been in the house…Tails are also a useful way for humans to tell how the animal is feeling. Rant over.

IMG_5999 (2).JPGErin’s ears as God intended

Back to ears…cats’ ears can move independently of each other, and it’s funny to watch Charlie outside, her ears swivelling like miniature satellite dishes, as she tracks the progress of a dog around the park and listens to me at the same time…Her ears are so delicate and fine, you can see the sun shine through them, lighting up all the little vessels.

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She can’t see us, but she can HEAR US!

Another health point…as their ears are so delicate, if they do go out in hot sunshine, it’s advisable to put sun screen on their ears, especially if you have a white cat, as they can be particularly prone to melanoma. Ear wounds can also bleed a lot. My old cat, Walter, got into a fight and came off slightly worse – he’d never admit it, leaving him with a jagged rip in one ear that lent him a somewhat raffish and piratical air, although he was the gentlest of cats.

It is important to make sure your cat’s ears are clean. DO NOT stick anything in them to check, just look . That’ll do. Or smell. A healthy cat’s ears should have no visible dirt and shouldn’t smell, you should be able to see all the little channels and valleys I them. If they are dirty, or discharging or smelly, and you see your cat constantly shaking its head or pawing at its ears, then it could have mites or an ear infection Then it’s time for a trip to the vet – DO NOT attempt to stick anything in to clean them yourselves and NEVER use human medication on an animal.

Ear drops for a cat. They’re fun to administer. Not. If your cat is difficult (Tooty: “No, I’m just going to lie here like a giant lead balloon with my head tucked under my body..” Charlie: “I’m a lady! Don’t you DARE take liberties with my person!”) then ask a lovely, kind person, who won’t object to being bitten or scratched, to wrap your cat in a towel, then carefully insert the drops into the top of the ear canal. Then gently massage the back of the ear – the fur bean, as I like to call it – to work the drops down. Job done.

My cats’ ears are so expressive, I can tell exactly how they are feeling. Forward and up: “Hi! I’m so pleased to see you! Where have you been? Did you bring any food?”

Relaxed, ears side to side on the head, usually when sleeping. Laid back flat on the head, accompanied by tinsel tail: “That monster’s in the garden again! I’m not going out unless you get rid of it!” One ear, fetchingly turned inside out, like a fascinator on Ladies’ Day at Ascot: just plain silly.

So there you have it. Eggs and ears, delicate and expressive, useful symbols and indicators. Look after them both.

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Perfect, pointed… and actually quite hairy inside!

Empathy for a Pepper

It lay on the road, as fat and round as and redly shining as Henry VIII on one of his better days. It was a beautiful example of its kind, the standard red bell pepper, its skin smooth, taut and unblemished, the sunlight striking a gleam off the perfect globes of its bottom. Its stem curved proudly upwards, strong and green, still bearing the mark of where it had been snapped from its mother plant. It was the very pinnacle of pepper perfection.

And yet it lay on the road. My son and I saw it as we were walking to my mother’s house and pondered upon its fate. Perhaps it had been destined to become part of a fluffy yellow omelette, shards of pepper glistening amongst the egg, like rubies cushioned on yellow velvet. Maybe the person who bought it was going to make a healthy salad for their family, dicing its firm flesh into symmetrical cubes to add brightness to the green of lettuce. Possibly it was bought to add mild heat and flavour to a curry, lovingly crafted by a woman for her husband, part of a carefully planned romantic evening for two without the kids.

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And yet it lay on the road. I don’t know what cruel hand of Fate had plucked it from its carrier bag or why its purchaser had not stopped to retrieve it, only that its proud pepperness had not been diminished by this unseen turn in its destiny. I mentioned to my son that perhaps we should pause and rescue it, but both he and I had been very firmly taught from an early age that you do not pick food up off the floor. So we left it.

Later as we returned home, we noticed that the pepper had been run over by a callous car. Its insides were smashed into a foot long smear, fragments of skin embedded into the tarmac. Roadkill.

I felt awful and somehow guilty that I had not rescued the pepper and saved it from this undignified ending. It deserved better. Perhaps the moral of this is ‘waste not, want not.’ I don’t know. I only wish that I had stopped to pick the pepper up and let it complete its destiny in a more fitting way.

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Rose Quartz – stone of the heart for infinite love and compassion

All photographs Copyright © 2016 Alex Marlowe