Take A Walk on the Wild Side: Encounters With Animals in Nature

Most of us have had the experience — wonderful, heart-stopping, sometimes terrifying — of unexpectedly encountering an animal in the wild. It may be the tranquil sight of deer off in the woods, or a hawk circling in the canyons of Manhattan. It can be scary, as in some of the recent bear sightings on the East Coast, or inspire reverence for the raw beauty of the creature sighted.For most of us in the United States, the wild creatures are limited: hawks, coyotes, bears, foxes, wolves, and maybe the occasional snake.As their natural habitats get further encroached upon, close encounters are becoming more frequent, even while overall populations may be decreasing. Still, I was especially shocked to see a wild bobcat cutting through my property several weeks ago.

My first thought was for the safety of my own cats, who are allowed outside, and my second thought was that the bobcat was much smaller than I had expected. Still, I caught my breath at how majestic and wild it looked, with its pointed ear tufts and white spots that looked like a second set of eyes. It paused and looked directly at me and I stood still, both hoping it would stay, and that it would pass by in peace.

I immediately thought of my deep attraction to and affinity for all things feline. I am a Leo, born in the Chinese Year of the Tiger, and I have large cats as my animal totems. As soon as the wild creature passed out of sight I rushed to look up “bobcat” in my medicine card and animal totem books and learned that it is a member of the Lynx family. It represents secret medicine, and the ability to keep secret knowledge. I took this information to heart and, not wanting anyone to disturb the bobcat’s migration, I told no one about the sighting until I knew enough time had passed that it would no longer be in our area.

(For a glimpse of wild encounters in other countries, check out Rory Young’s wonderful story of Patches and Stumpy, the two elephants that touched his heart.)


Have You Seen the Garden of 1,000 Buddhas in Montana?

| by Cheryl Shainmark

This video has lighted up our imaginations! Can you say road trip? Dateline NBC has captured the peaceful and sacred feeling of this wonderful site, called The Garden of a Thousand Buddhas. Located just north of Arlee, Montana, the multi-acre garden is nestled on a beautiful valley that is part of an Indian reservation for the Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Created through the visionary guidance of Gochen Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, the Garden aligns positive properties of the physical world…

Read More.

Anchoring the Reality That We Want

| by Cheryl Shainmark

We’ve all experienced this phenomenon before: you’ve never heard of a particular item, idea, or person and then once you do you find it popping up all over the place. It’s as if the whole world (or at least everybody you know on Facebook), all got the same buzz at the same time. Of course, we all know that someone had to be “the first” — the first to think that thought, invent that item, do the research, say or do or discover something new — and that everybody else caught on later….

Read More.
Filed Under:

To March or Not to March: When Science Gets Political

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Data is data, science is objective, and the facts should speak for themselves, right? The answer is… complicated. The choice of what to study can be very subjective, constrained by preconceived ideas, and driven by special interest groups, or funding, (often the same thing). Data has always been open to interpretation, and – even before Kellyanne Conway coined the phrase – “the facts” were sometimes ignored in favor of “alternative facts.” But what’s scaring some scientists now is the anti-science, climate change denying stance of the Trump administration, and the fact that data is disappearing.

Read More.

Moved By Mountains

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Moved By Mountains – Several years ago I dreamed I flew as a hawk, high above seared mountains, gazing down on granite soil marked only by occasional stunted evergreens. In my dream I soared and twisted, riding the air currents until I actually felt dizzy and then, as soon as I thought, “This is too much!” I woke up in my bed. I remembered the details vividly, though I had never seen those vistas in real life. Last week I saw the mountains of my dreams, that is, the dry stretch of the Rockies where the rain does not fall.

Read More.
Filed Under:

Everything’s Coming Up Qi Gong

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Several weeks ago I went through a spate of night sweats and hormone induced tossing and turning that left me wide awake at 2:30 or 3:00 every morning, heart pounding from the surge of adrenaline and completely unable to fall back asleep…. Each wee hour I’d grab a fresh dry night shirt and plod downstairs, resigned to Law & Order reruns and arguing with the cats for four hours about why they couldn’t go outside right then. After several nights of this I decided that I really had to do something better with my time.

Read More.
Filed Under: ·

Feeding Body & Soul

| by Cheryl Shainmark

If you’d asked me a few years ago whether I’d be following a virtually wheat free, 90% vegetarian — hell, 90% vegan diet, I’d have said, “That’s nuts.” Now I’m likely to say, “That’s raw cashews to you, and by the way, do you know how many recipes you can make with them?” It’s safe to say that I’m not alone in making a big diet and lifestyle change, either. Based on the latest bestsellers, opinion pages in the New York Times , increase in vegetarian and vegan websites and buzz on the Internet, it seems we have reached some kind of “tipping point” toward a radical change in the way we eat and what we will accept from the food industry.

Read More.
Filed Under:

Visions of the Future

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Several years ago I had a vision of the future that transformed my life and helped me to determine what new career path to pursue. Leading into that moment was the fact that, at the age of 40, after years of working in computers, I was back at school. I was an adult returnee in my “senior” year at college and my three most favorite professors had each approached me about entering into their field of expertise: Asian Studies, the School of Journalism, and Psychology. What a wonderful compliment! — each thought that I would excel in their profession and offered me mentoring, contacts and references for further graduate work. I was both flattered and immobilized with indecision

Read More.

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I just finished reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It,” by Kamal Ravikant. I have to say that this slim volume completely jumpstarted a whole new spiritual practice for me. I don’t usually rave (in print, at least)… but this is one of the most accessible, transformative books I have ever read — and at 57 pages, you’d have to be in a coma not to get through it. Actually, if you are in a coma I will come and sit by your side and read it to you, because I want “Love Yourself” to be the earworm that gets stuck in your head. You’ll thank me later.

Read More.
Filed Under:

Tell Me A Story: Stirring Up Cellular Memories with Meditation

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I have been meditating for over fifteen years now and find it an essential part of my life. Many have written about the substantial physical and emotional benefits, and while I’ve certainly found that to be the case, too, I’ve also noticed that there is a component of releasing “cellular memories” that is rarely addressed. People shy away from phenomena that are not so easily explained, but whether you call it “cellular memories,” “past lives,” or releasing “old patterns,” I have found that there is something extraordinary happening that also brings welcome relief to the body and the spirit.

Read More.
Filed Under: ·