Monday, 20 July 2015

The Cats Who Saved My Life (a short story)

If you've read my book, The Distracted Yogi then you'll know all about The Cats who saved my life! 

Martin passed only just a week ago & my heart is still broken. I'm left wondering, just how am I going get by without his calm, confident & unassuming cat self? 

Somehow I will, I'll go on, I must for there are other little ones who need me & it's for them I'll continue until life's passions kick in again & carry me onto the next chapter of my life... 

So here it is, my short story, eventually it will become my next book-

The Cats Who Saved My Life

Martin and Sammy, two cats of common cat heritage (as common as is possible for a Cat
that is!), came into this life-dimension probably completely aware and up-to-speed
on Me, their latest Cat-Human assignment of sorts.
I, on the other hand, was completely unaware and, eventually, caught completely off
guard by their wily abilities. This cat infiltration of-a-kind lead directly to full on cat
occupation of the deepest most coveted corners of my heart, then once firmly
established there, claimed total control my heart strings with the deft expertise of a
skilled cellist!
I was sunk from the very beginning I just didn't know it, and yet, I must remind Myself:
This, is a love story.

Sammy: 1999- 2013
Speciality: Undercover Cat-Human Reconnaissance agent.
Mission Assignment: To Remove & Rehome potentially deadly or fatal diseases
and/or illnesses from select Human subjects.

Sammy came into my life as an unwanted alley cat and by the time we’d locked
eyes his life’s mission was already in full-operation mode. 
What appeared random and chance were carefully crafted moments of opportunity-Sammy knew exactly what he was doing that day when he glanced towards me, as I slowly and
deliberately scanned the pet cages for that ‘Special’ one, when with expert feline
precision, gave me the secret cat-wink!

I was smitten right then and there, only, I didn't get it then. I didn't get that our
meeting was a set-up right from the start.

Sammy looked and acted like a regular cat only he wasn't regular or ordinary at all. The
cat rescue people named him Sweetie Pie which, while appropriate, had to go!
‘Sammy’ was the name sake of a dearly departed relative and so seemed fitting for this
sweet, unassuming fur ball. Sammy was easy going, liked to cuddle
(his favourite past time!) and be very vocal towards the other cats in the neighbourhood.
Though I’d later surmised that this was probably some secret Cat communications taking
place all along, however, back then
I was completely oblivious I was busy revelling in Cat companion heaven.

In 2012 my health was coming to the apex of a very long journey called ‘recovery.’
I’d had bad car crash years earlier, long after Sammy and Martin were already firmly
established in my life and in my heart.

In the fall of 2012 my doctor told me there was a chance that my head injury sustained long ago could possibly morph into something more, more of what I didn't really know,
probably they didn't know either or just wouldn't say. More tests and scans were on the
agenda but Sammy got sick so I put that all aside somewhere in my damaged brain and focussed on Sammy instead.

‘Little Sammers’ suddenly developed some very distressing and baffling neurological
symptoms. He began crying and crying apparently for no good reason. Then after a few
days of constant yowling he would fall completely silent. This phase was always the
precursor to other more strange and disturbing behaviours such as:  walking in circles,
getting stuck in corners of the room and unable to find his way out, going pee outside the
litter box, then the final most devastating phase: complete catatonic demeanour. No sound,
no movement just a limp unconscious little fur-body.
I was a wreck. Sammy was my baby and to see him in such a state was a terrible shock.
The vet prescribed antibiotics and within 24 hours Sammy did come back from the
brink-three times in all. But, after the third pseudo recovery. I laid him to rest
permanently. He’d suffered enough. The vet said Sammy had all the classic symptoms of
a brain tumour so with my permission, a sample of his brain tissue was sent off for
analysis. The vet cautioned me though, saying “it could take years to get back
any results.” I'm still waiting for the confirmation that Sammy took on my troubles and
made them his own. It was his mission, after all.

Martin: 1998-2015
Speciality: Cat Companion Liaison (Earth Division): Cat-Human Interventions
Mission Assignment: Heart and Souls Recovery and Reintegration

Martin’s arrival into my life could not be more unlikely an event yet somehow he
did arrive and even more incredulously, he stole my heart!
In 1998 life came to an abrupt halt when emotionally I’d a hit a virtual wall
after my beloved cat Hillary died suddenly and tragically from a fall.
I was utterly crushed by her death but in particular it was the
mind-numbing guilt of not adequately protecting her from such an awful end to
her short life of only 5 years. The guilt was soul-crushing I had to do something to
cope so, one week later I began a half-hearted search for a new kitty and, in the
space of that distraction, nearly forgot about my grief if only for a moment or two.

It was enough to keep me upright, to keep me from going completely insane from those three, soul destroying what ifs; shoulda, coulda, woulda.

After only a few hours of scanning the local papers I’d found one ad and only one;
‘Rescued Kittens for adoption. To good homes only.’ I dialled the number with
hands tembling. Just one kitten left out of a littler of five. I had to get there
As I entered the home of a very young, very kind woman I was
immediately mobbed by critters of all descriptions; nursing kitty-moms, expectant
doggy-moms, abandoned puppies and kittens, lots and lots of kittens!
They were everywhere and so was the Love. It was palpable. I scooped up
one of the tabby boy-kittens as he raced by. I held him to my chest tightly but he
struggled and wailed his kitten cries piercing the air all the while threatening
to squirm away from of my tight grasp. ‘He’s not the one.’ The rescue lady announced, ‘That one there, next to your foot, he’s the only one left.’ 

This one, the last one, was clearly the feeblest of the litter. The runt.  He struggled to crawl even while his siblings romped and did kitty burn-outs all around the room and all over me! I felt a bit dismayed. I needed a strong, confident type cat. One who could handle my grief and still thrive despite possibly being ignored for a time, at least until the worst of the sorrow over Hillary could pass. This one, I’d quickly assessed, the one who looked too needy, cried feebly, and barely crawled on shaky legs, was clearly not ‘The One!’
‘Do you want him?” “Sure, yes, I’ll take him.” I said haltingly not quite believing what I
was saying. Why did I say yes?! I was perplexed; I couldn't believe what I’d just
done yet there it was, I’d agreed to take on this fragile, innocent soul for good; a
promise to care for him for the rest of his life.
‘Martin’ stole my heart and never gave it back until he left this plane of
existence just one week ago. I didn't want my heart back though; I wanted him, not his
memory or a photo but Him and his soft silky self.

After his sudden death I came to the painful realisation that it was not I who rescued Martin but rather the opposite was true. 

He'd nurtured me through countless illnesses,

 health crises, all manner of traumas, relationship endings and beginnings, career
 changes, and multi-digit moves, several across the entire province!

It was Martin who taught me how to love and it was Martin who saved my life.

Forever devoted. Michelle

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Sensory Deprivation Tanks...Maybe a little Too Weird to talk about?!!

It's a NEW Year,  how are you going to make this year more about the life you really want, the one that's literally waiting for you to embrace? 

The SDT experience might be one of those small things we can all do for ourselves on the journey to reclaim our SELF. 

I've been visiting a local Sensory Deprivation Tank-sort-of-place these past few months & what I've discovered is interesting, shocking & well, just plain weird! 

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? William Hurt circa 1980 & Altered States?  

Ok so maybe I didn't take any Mind-Altering drugs before setting off on this adventure BUT I hear that some people might imbibe a certain herb prior to slipping into one of those tanks filled with a warm (Body-Temp) salty-slippery water solution...

What is a SDT & why would anyone even consider the time & energy it takes to go there, undress (yup ur naked), shower with special soaps and shampoos, slide into the beautifully infused salty brine-like substance that encases your body like a latex glove all heated to a glorious 97F?! Exactly! Sounds amazing does it not?

The SDT experience is much, much more than just a hottub experience. Although, the place I visited, Floatspace, located in Kelown BC Canada has a spectacular tank called 'The Cabin' which is a modified hottub for those of us prone to claustrophobic outbursts. For everyone else there is the Samadi Tanks 1& 2. I took the plunge literally on my last visit & opted for the Samadi 1 Tank...these tanks look like the iconic tanks of Altered States fame, very cool!

After the usual routine of undress, shower then slip-slidding into the tank it can take sometime, 20-30 minutes of ruminating, mind-games ect ect to settle into what is the utter blissfulness of the environment. Warm, dark (pitch-black actually if you don't opt to keep the salt lamp on), quiet, still, peacefull & well, just a little other worldly-weird! Eventually I forget where I am and might even lose the awareness of my body. Though these days I'm trying to maintain my mind-body connection so my main focus is staying in my body for the full 90 minute 'Float'. If that sounds like a long time to be in what amounts to a cave then yes it could be a put-off to some but the reality is: You become completely immersed in the experience of deprivation, which is to say-AWARE, FOCUSSED & IN THE NOW.

I'm hooked! I'm about to book my fifth excursion to the Tanks.

Briefly, this is what I've discovered while floating:

Interesting: That the various stages/dimensions of awareness one can experience is actually limitless. 

Shocking: How busy my mind really is & how disconnected my body-mind awareness can be...

Weird: The salty-slime experience, very strange, but in a good way;-)

Fig 1, Samadi TANK:

Fig 2, The Cabin:

Michelle xo

Floatspace Sensory Deprivation Tanks in Kelowna BC, CANADA., check it out. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Time To Wake Up!

This past weekend saw me travelling to Victoria, BC Canada for two day retreat. The nature of this retreat and it's facilitator were completely unknown to me however, this did not trouble me at all....I simply Knew I must go anyway!

Have you ever experienced anything like that? You feel guided, actually instructed, to do something the moment you hear about it or read about it. In fact You feel COMPELLED to do it. 
This retreat was one of those things that I did because I felt that unmistakable sense of Knowing inside; that I must go or do this thing no matter what, also that it was of critical importance that I follow through! 

The title of the retreat was called 'Divinicus; Rise of the Divine Human', now to be completely honest I didn't know what to think of it yet once I'd read the back-story it no longer mattered. The title could have been Anything and I would have gone! But Why? 

My book is called The Distracted Yogi for a really good reason-My life post brain-injury has been mostly about my attempts at reclaiming the ability to live-in-the-moment. This is something which had eluded me for years post-injury I just could not get beyond all the distractions & recapture the present moment. 
The irony is though that nowadays EVERYONE Is Distracted not just the brain injured or anyone else that might be prone to distraction but rather it's become somewhat of a normal human condition-To Be Distracted! 

So, I'm curious, do you ever ask yourself-What The Bleep is going on with that?! 

Ok, see what I mean? I got distracted just then...

Anyway, my question is: 


Why are we all so Distracted? 

From what are we Distracting ourselves? 


Are we being deliberately led away from ourselves into something less authentic, perhaps even non-Human? 

And if so, Why & by Whom/What?

You see I needed some answers & 'Divinicus' delivered! 

If you want to know more then look here: 

Then, ask yourself these questions because you may not get this right now BUT- YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW THE ANSWERS! & Please, keep looking because no one else can do this work for you! 

It's Time to Wake-up.

Michelle xo

Monday, 18 August 2014

Get to know Shirley Harris-Slaughter.

Welcome to The Distracted Yogi! 

This week I'm doing something a little different, why? Well, when someone comes along & writes an important book I want YOU to know about it: Shirley Harris-Slaughter is that Someone

Our Lady of Victory:The Saga Of An African-American Catholic Community,

is That Book!

History is written but most often it's incomplete, one-sided, lop-sided or downright fiction! Shirley's book aims (& succeeds!) to clarify some of the gaping holes & inconsistencies of Black American History, specific to southeastern Michigan, pre-1970's. 

This is what you can expect: “This book will present the facts – and some of those facts may not make for pleasant reading."

Which is exactly why this is my kind of book & if You appreciate getting the facts separated from the fiction then You will Love it too! So, 

please join me & many others who have discovered Shirley Harris-Slaughter then celebrate her devotion to our mutual enlightenment;-)

**see links to Reviews, Shirley's Blog & To Purchase at the end of this blogpost.

In Shirley's own Words:

You have probably heard about the water situation right here in my town of Detroit, Michigan. It is the main news and has been for weeks now because of the emergency situation Detroit has found itself in when the city went bankrupt.
The water Dept. has threatened to shut off water to thousands of Detroiters who have not paid their water bill. Businesses have also been delinquent, but have not gotten shutoff notices, and therein lies the rub.
There have been demonstrations around the country in support of these citizens who are in trouble. The thought is that providing water should be a basic right. Something should be worked out so people can continue getting water while the payments are worked out.
Suddenly big businesses have started paying their bills to the tune of millions of dollars which should never have gotten behind in the first place. The water board is working with delinquent residents to get the threat removed. They only started doing this when it became a political “hot potato.”
I’m listening to the news on 8/4/14, and the water ban was lifted in Ohio so that folks could start drinking that water again. It was too toxic for people to drink. The poison was caused by blue and green algae that had grown out of control and was causing a chemical change in the water. The crisis was caused by too much phosphorus in the water from surrounding communities, rivers and lakes.
Both of these problems can be resolved if all communities including Canada would work together to solve the problem. It’s like we are having problems that they have in third world countries. Is this what we have come to?
Fast forward to a few days ago when we experienced the worst flooding in Michigan history. I say there is definite climate change going on and misuse of our land by unscrupulous businesses. We have to become better caretakers of this planet or we won’t have anything left to pass on to our children.
This is a warning and it’s just the beginning.

Author Bio:   
Shirley Harris-Slaughter is a Michigan native. She is a community activist having been a school board trustee in the Oak Park School District.  She mentored four freshmen girls in the Winning Futures Program.  Her interest also lies in politics and helping to elect candidates running for public office. She studies the issues and votes! Shirley loves trains, vintage clothes, and old buildings with historic significance. So it was a natural that she would write about growing up in historic Royal Oak Twp. and keep alive a catholic community that was about to lose its history and identity. It seems that everything she loved had been closed down and she was not about to let any of it be forgotten.

Shirley joined Rave Reviews Book Club because she recognized the need to support fellow authors in order to move forward in her own endeavors. She already had a thriving relationship with like twitter followers. “We all had the same goals so it was a natural fit.”
The culmination of all these experiences pushed her in the direction of becoming a first-time author. Unlike most authors who have a passion to write from early on, she was pushed into becoming an author out of necessity.
Shirley Harris-Slaughter, Author

Tour Lineup Page:
Author Page:

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

6 Simple Strategies For Overcoming Trauma

TRAUMA              AFFECTS              EVERYONE 

Relationship endings, losing a job or not getting that much needed promotion to more severe events such as your house burning down or coping with injuries after a serious car accident. The list is truly endless yet knowing that trauma is common-place is not enough to help us through it. 

What to do? & How to cope? 

After surviving a cycling accident, then acquiring a Traumatic Brain Injury as a result, for many years afterwards I felt lost & helpless. I pondered those same questions for years; what to do & how to cope?! After years of recovery, through the highs & lows, I developed these 6 simple strategies which have not only become my own personal blueprint to surviving trauma but actually going beyond any immediate crisis and truly thriving! 


Yes nutritionally but in addition to food, feed your Optimism, Your Faith in the Miraculous & the Belief that your situation is only temporary.


As well as the beliefs of others. Remember: Facts Are Fluid, consequently they are always changing. We all want closure thus we are attracted to answers and some of them hinder rather than help-they keep us stuck. For example, if I'd chosen to believe the 'experts' who had insisted that I would not recover beyond the 2 year post-injury mark then I would not have progressed any further than that...I challenged their ideas about my recovery potential. 


Your life or life-situation is yours to create or un-create. Remember that only you can make this commitment and that no one else can make the decision to change. You are also 100% in charge of your life and 100% responsible for your recovery! I spend  months, probably years blaming the person who ran me over with her car but eventually all that energy was redirected into positive change. 


Okay, I know we've all heard this one yet so many people just do not make the time. If your time is really tight then why not try Brainwave Entrainment? It's easily accessed via Youtube and other sites plus it's free! Binureal Beats are digitized simulations of our brains' natural states such as: Alpha, Beta, Theta & Delta brain-wave states. This technology, when listened to through stereo headphones, causes our brains hemispheres' to synchronize, not to the input but rather the difference between the two separate tones which comprise the Binureal Beat . It's a bit technical but it works & best of all you only need to set aside 10 minutes a day but trust me, you will soon want more! 
Go To: (page 3). I was a daily meditator prior to my injury and not until I discovered this technology did I once again feel the pure bliss, calm and peace of my former yogini life. I cannot live with out this stuff, it's a difference-maker for me. 


Outside that is. Reconnect with nature not for just the fun & enjoyment of it but because nature stimulates our brain to function in the calmer states of Alpha & Theta, and in some cases Delta (think of a Yogi on a mountain top). Our brain waves synchronize with the natural 'heartbeat' of the earth sometimes referred to as Isochronic Tones or Schumann Reasonance: & ( This rhythmic tone emitted by the Earth is it's signature; it's primal voice if you will. Our brains are naturally drawn to and resonate with this sound-wave vibration. 


Say thank you for Everything especially those things which challenge you. As Rumi said: '...each has been sent as a Guide from beyond.' My favorite quote regarding this subject sums it up perfectly: 'If Thank You was the only Prayer You ever said your whole life, that would suffice." Meister Eckhart 
Through this practice you will allow your being to become saturated with gratitude until soon you will feel grateful without even trying;)

In real life's easy to get off track. Sometimes a minor bump in the road can lead to a permanent derailing if we are not fully committed to going beyond the trauma. My most reliable go-to strategy, especially in difficult times, has been the addition of an Accountability Person/Partner in my daily living regimen. This person can be a partner, a family member, a friend or even an acquaintance the important criteria being that they are someone you trust with your 'personal stuff'-impeccably! An Accountability Person/Partner is the person who will help dislodge you from your denial. They will, at times, be brutally honest but will back it up with love, which is exactly what we all need when we are stuck, slacking off or in a 'thought-rut.' We don't always want to hear the truth about ourselves especially when we are afraid to move forwards however, is it a requirement of healing-to keep pushing on. Imagine if our ancestors gave-up when life got tough or tougher?! We wouldn't be here if it were not for their extreme level of persistence and perseverance. 

The bottom line: You can do it with the right strategies and a sufficient amount of loving support. You have what it takes to go on and get through trauma. It's in all of us. 

Michelle xo

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Violence & Aggression in the On-line world

Have you noticed the increasing aggressiveness of people who frequent forums and/or leave comments on the Internet? 

C'mon now, I know it's not just me! 

I am a Comment/Review/Opinion-type person so I often find myself perusing the most interesting & intriguing part of Any article: The Comment sections of the On-line world i.e News Sites such as; Huffington Post, CBC; Health/Diet/Lifestyle: MindBodyGreen, MarksDailyApple,; Consumer: Amazon; Sports Sites: TSN, ATP ect, ect. 

You get the picture, I get around on-line! 

What I've been noticing lately is an increasing trend towards aggressive & foul language and overall meanness in the tone of some comments. To be honest, I enjoy swearing from time to time, Ok daily, But I don't bring my potty-mouth into the realm of the public domain- why? Think about it, do you enjoy reading expletives in comments? I don't & I like to swear especially when the situation really begs for it which is usually when I'm by myself, driving, or when I want to emphasize something or impress my closest friends!

Swearing casually, especially in public, is unattractive & a clear sign of social-ineptness, low self-worth & down right pathetic! However, in some situations I'll admit that it can be just a simple case of frustration, sometimes extreme frustration (speaking from experience!)...but that's NOT what's going on in the internet world-for the most part. 

What's happening on-line is downright scary & a complete turn-off! 

I've personally witnessed on-line attacks that where so intense they'd qualify for police intervention if it weren't for their anonymity. Maybe the police were involved, I have no way of knowing but my point is that it is growing unceasingly UnSafe in this Cyber-World. 

Often those who 'expose' their opinions on-line, in a seemingly innocuous article or post, are the most vulnerable to ambush or attack. 

Words by themselves are without judgement but when aggressively hurled at others, usually strangers, without pause of consideration are like ammunition & do go-off like bombs in the minds & hearts of others.

As a side note: Some scientist now postulate that a new species of human being has emerged, within the past 50 years, they call it The Psychopath. This new type of human being is almost identical to it's predecessor with one notable exception: this new breed lacks a conscience. 

Their rate of occurrence is approximately 1 in 4 persons however this ratio is steadily increasing.

I'd say the evidence is everywhere including on-line where there appears to be roaming groups of highly aggressive, rude and even violent comment/forum-crashers.  

My Rule:  Before I Comment /Criticize Anyone, I do some research first. This often results in a 'Pause' which then helps me reflect on the author's words & ideas. Once I've formulated my reply I write it out, think about it for a while then & only then do I post it. This rule or routine actually intercepts any compulsion to reply immediately which I think is the problem for some people. They rant & write before they think, they don't seem to have the elusive stop-gap strategy for whatever reason while the more aggressive types are not interested in saving anyone's feelings their aim Is To Hurt. 

Yes, even after all that, I'd still love to know what You think;)
Michelle xo

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Excerpt from The Distracted Yogi:

Each week (or so) c'mon back here & get some free reading from my book, The Distracted Yogi: How I reclaimed my BLISS After Brain Injury & Trauma.

On the subject of Trauma...below are a few paragraphs from my book. 

From: Part II, Confessions Of An Abuser-Chapter V-The Distracted Yogi:

The Customer Service Wars, A Continuing Saga.
It was with this backdrop of grief, frustration and discontentment that my attitude took on ever increasingly dark and bleak outlook.  I’d often think about how horrible my life predicament was, and note that I would never have to remain somewhere I didn't want to be. I’d always been free to pack up and leave whenever I chose to, but not now, I was firmly stuck in what felt like a cavernous sized rut.
It’s comical now, and with a sense of irony that only hindsight can bring, to reflect back on all the ongoing simultaneous product and service difficulties I was dealing with that appeared to spring up endlessly during that time. I could not then, it seemed, be capable of purchasing anything that didn't eventually turn out to be defective or outright broken.
These Customer Service Wars manifested as constant daily battles between me and the many customer service contact persons of their respective corporations. Mostly, these companies were giant conglomerates, which only served to feed my already enormous sense of feeling persecuted and hard done by. I had become an extreme victim of sorts; the world was out to get me. Under these circumstances, my feelings of anger, and what were by now an infinite number of resentments simply continued to multiply. 

A Very Close Call
I’d be reminded daily of the parallels to my experience in recent times with the legal system. To me it was the same old same old, how had I gotten myself into such a horrid mess? I’d spent my days raging at the world, and my nights crying while shaking my fists at the same cruel world. I’d become hopeless.
This was a dark and miserable period in my life that nearly did kill me. I’d honestly thought I wasn't going to get through it. This awful cloud, that followed me everywhere and blanketed my every thought with darkness, came to a dramatic conclusion of sorts one day, while I was driving into town to see my family doctor.
The route into town was a 10 minute scenic drive complete with spectacular views of the rolling hills of ponderosa pine punctuated by areas of grassland range. It should have been beauty to the eye of any beholder but not to me, not then. It was with tears streaming down my face, as I approached a sharp corner that bent hard to the left, where I considered the idea of just driving off the edge. It would be quick, I imagined then.

I just barely stopped myself from going through with the hastily conceived plan, because I reasoned that if I died, Debbie would get everything, and that my friends and family and my beloved little cats would get nothing.  It was too much for me to bear, so I chose instead, to continue to live. This was the second time in my life where resentments actually kept me alive

This week the subject was trauma, a theme common to my life after I sustained a brain injury in 2002. I'll be posting more excerpts each week or so...please leave a comment because your opinion counts here;)

Michelle xo