Where do you go to soak in some positive vibes?

I’m not getting in quite as many walks as I typically prioritize. I’m a weather wimp!

However, between storms I did walk to the library the other day, and when I saw this on a local school’s marquee I reflected on the tone for the remainder of my walk.

“Listen First and Then Talk”

I couldn’t help but wonder if this message was primarily intended for the children or the parents. I was just walking by and it grabbed me, so good messaging!

There’s a lot of anger and frustration building up in people, and although I understand and even commiserate on some level, I don’t want it to affect my overall well-being, and I am very deliberate in what I choose to do or not do, listen to or not, in order to remain peaceful

My animals often provide strong visual metaphors.

The cold and rain is sticking around much longer than Darwin’s typical “long winter’s nap.” The other day we had a few hours of sun and he Β ambled out of his dugout and pulled himself up onto some landscaping blocks that were radiating some added warmth.

Sunbathing didn’t last long and he didn’t eat a thing, but he enjoyed what he could before putting himself back to bed. Like I said, he’s a good example!

The other day I had a lovely visit with a blogging friend who functioned for me like the comfort of a “hot rock.”

Ann Koplow, a blogger I’ve enjoyed for a long time now, was in town for the American Group Psychotherapy Association conference held in the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles.

I knew that Ann would be in town, but I was reluctant to suggest we meet, knowing that her conference schedule was significant and perhaps this wasn’t a time to coordinate. But fortunately, Ann was more open than I, and made the initial contact. Click Here to read Ann’s thoughts on being open and our meeting from her perspective.

The day we met she’d attended one workshop entitled, “Being a Group Therapist in Times of Political and Social Upheaval. This is Difficult.”

I think the title of the workshop clearly indicates where many of us find ourselves stretched–avoiding being a proverbial ostrich, but not taking in the vitriol and divisiveness. So we talked about that a bit, and then went on to discuss the areas of our lives that contribute to our overall well-being.

Ann has known some major health crises and I think I may have first been introduced to her blog, “The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally” when she was approaching major heart surgery. What made me stay and choose Ann as a friend, however, is her attitude and how she reflects resilience.

My time with Ann was an endorphin-boost!

And then to home I came, with more rain, and my lovely stack of books.

I’ll leave you with a tease for next post. In this season of cold and wet we have taken a feral cat into our always growing home animal rescue.

We’re calling the little thing “Shadow” and I’ll share more next time.

When I need a quick dose of positivity, I can always rely on the animals. They can be a little demanding, but give them their food and they’re grateful.

I haven’t heard a negative word out of a one of them lately!







66 thoughts on “Where do you go to soak in some positive vibes?

  1. It does appear that the whole state has been inundated with more than enough rain and in the Sierras, a much needed deep snow pack. Hopefully there will be enough to help the farmers recharge the aquifers. My roots are in the Central Valley and I know they have been hit very hard over the last several dry years.

    Hope our paths cross one of these days. I will attempt to make a trip out to the Central coast during the first week of June.

    • It’s amazing how drenched we are at this point, Bishop. According to the reports I’ve been reading the entire state is now out of the drought. It’s a temporary fix, I suppose, but we can be excited about it nonetheless. I haven’t been able to do any of my typical garden prep for spring, but at least when I finally do the soil should be wonderful. And to your question about the central valley and the aquifers in the farming regions, I think the answer is very positive.

      I would love for our paths to cross at some point. I think that’s a real possibility. πŸ™‚

  2. We have three kitties who love the rain (weird cats). I don’t mind walking on cold days, but I don’t like getting wet, so I don’t get the time to reflect that I’d like to.

    Somewhere I heard a similar saying you saw, “Listen more than you speak.”

    • I have been really concerned about our new little visitor, Shadow, in the rain and cold, Andrew. It bothers me a lot to think of him/her out there without a home, but she’s looking good, and there are porches and overhangs where she can go at night. She is very well fed, I can attest to that. We’ve made it almost impossible for anyone else to step in and take over while we travel. We watch for her and go feed her on demand. I don’t think we actually know what we’re doing, but we can’t turn our backs. She’s our responsibility now. LOL! I see that I’ve reverted to “she” when I really don’t yet know. I can’t get close enough!

      It’s been raining almost straight for the last 24 hours! I think tomorrow will be dry and I get to spend it indoor at the DMV renewing my driving license. 😦

  3. Listen first – then talk! I love Darwin coming out for a sunny moment! And that your friend is also a burst of positivity! Nice ideas! Love the photos, too! Is that a Butterfly Bush?

    • Poor Darwin! I hope we are caring for him properly. I worry some! In his 10 years he’s never been exposed to this much rain and cold.

      The plant is Ceanothus, Beth, also called California Lilac. It’s a native plant and grows so easily! It does look like a butterfly bush. In my garden I have the two plans side by side. πŸ™‚

  4. I too am a weather wimp. I love walking but the weather has to cooperate. Poor Darwin. He’s ready for summer too. People make me crazy. Even if I ask that the conversation stay non-controversial there is always that someone. I like animals much better. They stay with the basics and are happy.

    • It’s funny that when I was working I think I had more patience with individuals, even those who were a little “trying” to me. I can control my environment most of the time and I’m a little self-protective. I don’t know if losing that adaptability is a good thing or not, but it’s kind of where I am at the moment. And I, like you, think my animals are wonderful companions. I don’t think we stress each other very much. Although I didn’t get much sleep last night. We had a powerful thunderstorm, very unusual for us, and Zena was a mess. She wasn’t happy, so my sleep was disrupted. LOL!

  5. Cheers to meeting a blogging friend. (I’ve met only a few – maybe 3). … and wow … what an appropriate title/subject for her session … and your selection of the school sign was a great lead in … and I think the message is for parents, students, and anyone else reading the sign. πŸ™‚ …. Speaking of walks, you’ll appreciate the graph on my current post (Return in the title).

    • I told Ann that the current “state of the nation” was causing me stress, and because of her blog, I knew we had that in common. I was very interested in what she had to share from what she had learned at the conference that day. Statistics indicate high volumes of people losing sleep and experiencing deep distress resulting from the constant chaos coming out of Washington D.C.

      Ann is a lovely person and I felt so fortunate to meet her. She lives in the Boston area so she was a long way from home. If you ever come this way, Frank, I hope you’ll let me know. Maybe you can spend a few weeks in San Diego some winter…you’d love the weather in February! πŸ™‚

  6. Love that photo of the two of you. And of Shadow. And Darwin.

    When I need to soak up some “positive vibes” . . . I look deep within. Joy is never in things, but it is always in us.

  7. For so many years the bemoan has been the terrible dryness, and then the fires, so it’s hard to find sympathy for too much rain. though I do know how depressing that can be. It’s a little bleak and grey here today too but I’m happy for the reservoirs. And it didn’t stop anybody from singing and dancing at Carnival. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ (me included!) The political situation? Now that will take a little more fixing! Stay positive, Debbie! I’m sure sunshine is coming our way.

    • Politics depress me, Jo, but the weather doesn’t. I’m loving the rain…just don’t want to go out walking in it! LOL! It’s rained for the last 24 hours, and it is a bit inconvenient, but I am not one who complains about it. I have lived with the drought for too many years. Sadly, people are losing their homes as hillsides shift and foundations are undermined, and there are mudslides in the burn areas, but overall, the entire state is officially out of the drought, so that’s good news. πŸ™‚

  8. People getting angry and frustrated? Now that must be ‘Fake news’ πŸ˜‰ As you’re probably aware, our right-wing politicians have made us in the UK an angry and frustrated nation too. I allow myself the luxury of feeling anger towards parliamentary self-servers sometimes, but life goes on and we make the best of a bad situation.

    Rainy days are a common thing in London as cold, warm and occluded fronts sweep across the country off the Atlantic. One positive about wet weather is the photo opportunities it brings – though appropriate clothing is needed if you’re going out in it! Looking out of my office window I see the rain has stopped – a brief lull I suspect. The Tits are flitting around the tree looking for early spring insects and one of the Squirrels is hanging on a feeder stealing peanuts. The Starlings are late this morning – probably staying in their roost out of the rain. Ahh! talk of the devil – here they are, just as I’m writing about them πŸ™‚ There’s plenty of things that lift our spirits and wildlife is a major one!

    Welcome to Shadow. I look forward to hearing about your ‘addition to stock’ as we train enthusiasts say πŸ™‚ I don’t keep pets any more but I do have a new furry friend who you’ll see in my next computer game related post πŸ˜‰

    • I have tried very hard not to talk about politics at all, of late. It’s not good for my health, I’m sure, and although I keep abreast of what’s current and necessary, I don’t want the negativity and fear mongering to seep into my daily life. My grandchildren and my pets help me focus on better things. πŸ™‚

      I’m still enjoying the rain, even though it’s causing me some concern for Darwin. He is a heat-seeking tortoise and this much “wet” isn’t optimum. I don’t know that we can do any better for him, though, as he’s getting too large for me to safely handle. I’m sure in a month or so we will jump from cold and wet to hot, so I’m watching my trees drink and I’m grateful.

      I’ll be eager to see your new cyber-pet, Martin. πŸ™‚

  9. We have a long hot summer here in Australia. A bit of rain here in our area is always most welcome. As far as listening goes, I often try my best just to listen to people with different views to my own. When I get the feeling someone is really not interested to hear my viewpoint on a certain subject I tend to shut up. But if people challenge me and want to know what I think then I try to let them know my thoughts. But this is not always easy. Once I had a friend who was quite a bit older. She had a view outrageous views but she was always ready to discuss things and listen to my views too. I really enjoyed this. πŸ™‚

    • I think you’ve hit on something that I appreciate, Uta. I welcome listening to others’ views if we are in a dialogue. It’s when minds are closed and defenses are so high that there’s no room for a true exchange of ideas that I feel frustrated and shut down, too. At the moment I think all of my friends are so polarized in their chosen “positions” and dialogue is completely broken. So politics as a whole just isn’t a safe conversation these days.

      I know Australia suffers the same drought tendencies as we do here in California, and any amount of rain is precious! This is the first time in many years that we’ve had this much rain and according to reports, the entire state is completely free of drought! I didn’t think that was even possible. Thank you for your comment, Uta. I found it interesting and enjoyed hearing about your friend. I don’t mind people with outrageous ideas, and sometimes really enjoy them, too!

  10. Where do I go to soak up some positive vibes? I go to meet, in person, a wonderfully warm and affirming fellow blogger. And from now, I am going to regularly soak up the positive vibes here, along with all your other positively glad-to-be-here readers. Thanks for making life less difficult with all your positive vibes, Debra. ❀

    • I think as long as we keep giving Shadow meals on demand, he’s going to be ours. LOL! I can’t believe how much he’s eating and we seem eager to please. My husband can touch him/her, but not enough to determine the sex. So far I’m not as welcome, so I hope eventually we can be friends. πŸ™‚

  11. I am a weather wimp too… and I feel even wimpier since those of us in SoCal don’t have to deal with snow and freezing temperatures. How wonderful that you were able to meet up with a blog buddy! I’ve been lucky to meet with several IRL… bloggers are the nicest people!

    • I think we need better “cold weather” clothing! That would help. LOL! I feel better in sunshine, too, but I am honestly not complaining. Judging by how healthy the garden weeds are I’d say that the soil is really nourished! Brown has turned to green, and I feel renewed! πŸ™‚

      Blogging friends are so fun to meet, and Ann was a true delight!

  12. How I love the idea of a good friend being our “hot rock.” Just brilliant!
    I’m a weather wimp but I have more reason than you. πŸ˜‰ We got a foot of snow early this week. This morning it was 6 degrees. But I make myself get out of the house for my dance and yoga classes. They are my “hot rock” on winters like this. xo

    • Honestly, Pam, I do laugh at myself about my “weather woes,” if I can even categorize my wispiness that way. I’m SO aware of what others experience and I only assume that on our part some of it is lack of experience. Many times friend to friend someone will make a comment about being “cold” and we all laugh at the ridiculousness of our complaint. But a friend is a good source of inner joy, and that can warm the spirit. Ann was that for me last week.

      6 degrees and you got out of the house for your classes. I am really impressed! I honestly don’t know if I could do it! LOL!

      • I totally understand your point of view. I lived in the SF bay area for 20 years and complained about the foggy cold in the middle of the summer. Then East Coast family members would come glorifying in the cool air, escaping 90 degree humidity. It’s all in the perspective. ❀

  13. Oh, Debra, I am once again late arriving at your words. I seem to be lagging in such things these days, BUT, I’m here, having enjoyed your words and photos and am grinning from ear-to-ear.

    You’re wearing my red “Toots” coat! The color, the collar, the buttons – even the sleeves πŸ™‚ – and such a lovely photo of you and Ann. I”m sure you had some lively, invigorating conversations and pure delight at being together. What an interesting topic for a conference – and an endorphin boost to boot! Joy supreme!

    It seems we are surviving this season in the small, connective, ways; books, friends, pets and those moments of being with a “hot rock”.

    PS – Shadow looks just like our feral friend, Midnight, who often stops and begs at the door for milk. πŸ™‚ She doesn’t come around as much as she used to since our two doors over neighbor built a dog house (I couldn’t sat cat house, could I?) that is heated on their deck.

    • I thought of you with the read coat, Penny! I really did. My mom has been going through her closets and this one she gave me from her very abundant closet. My mom is much more of a “clothes horse” than I ever was. We generally wear the same size and I only wish we could share shoes, as she has wonderful shoes, too. LOL! I have needed the coats so much more this season than ever before. We have more rain coming again this weekend and I’m just enjoying it despite some of the challenges. I suppose I like the idea that I can put off some of the things that need attention, using weather as a temporary excuse. That works for me. LOL!

      Ann is a delight and I know you’d find her wonderful. She sent me an email the day before and the entire meeting was serendipitous.

      I hope Midnight is okay. I’ve worried about Shadow in the cold and wet, but your winters require some careful planning. Warm planning!

  14. Rain, more rain… great news!! Hope Darwin will get sunny day back soon.
    A lovely photo of you and Ann. Beautiful coat!
    Thank you for introducing your blog friend, Ann to us. πŸ™‚

    • More rain again this weekend, Amy! LOL! Poor Darwin is still going to need to wait a little bit longer! I’m so glad you enjoyed meeting Ann. What fun it has been for me to share her with you. πŸ™‚

  15. Hi Debra. I do believe you are the most pleasant and most diplomatic person I have ever “met” — and your words are brilliant. I too find myself turning off — or at least restricting my news diet — for the sake of my emotional and physical health. That’s where gardening comes in — it’s one of the few places these days where things make sense. As for the “hot rocks” in my life, I count you and your blog among them. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much, Kevin. You’ve made me smile with such an affirmation! A week ago Ann commented that in times that are so divisive and I’d say painful, we need to continue to focus our attention on people who are kind and generous, people who take action to support good for all. I want that to be said of me, and I need to be with people who reinforce those ideals. We need each other. So thank you, Kevin. You’ve pleased me with your observation and we all need encouragement these days! I hope you continue to be well…and I know the value of the garden. I can believe that you find a lot of personal peace in the hard work and cultivating beauty!

  16. Dear Debra, you do such a fine job of recognizing what you need and taking care of your soul and your generous spirit. Perhaps you don’t do that every day–I don’t know. But when you post I often see the ways in which you show compassion for your body and your mind and heart and soul. Your postings are a gift to all of us who are stumbling through the darkness of our own inner forest, trying to find the light that will enable us to be gracious to ourselves. As gracious as we are to others. You are traveling that route and your words lead us on. Peace.

    • Oh dear Dee! What a lovely comment and you’ve affirmed me so beautifully. I am on that same journey–the one we are all traveling, and sometimes self-care comes to me in ways that surprise me, and other times, I stumble along as well. It is so challenging to remain grounded and feel “plugged in” to the generosity and kindness we need for our own well-being as well as feeling positively connected to others. It really is an “every day” choice and some days I can do it better than others. Thank you for your kind words, and please believe me when I say that YOU have inspired me many, many times as we’ve chatted. I am glad we can draw strength and add support to each other. Bless you!

  17. Hi Debra
    I am so glad you are now blessed by that Kitty. My two doggies give me great joy and peace when everything else around me is crazy! I also love to hear the rain but not be in it. And snow it lovely here, but I love to look at it not be in it. And yes your blog and reading yours and others is such a joy and encouragement to me. I am getting cataract surgery on the 22 which will help me to read better. Much Love Debi

  18. Used to go to one of Miami’s beaches for positive vibes. The quiet sounds of the gulls and the waves were cleansing but must go very early in the morning before the crowds come with their loud music ruining all the serenity. Now in inland North Carolina and beach too long a drive to reach. After several decades of absence I’ve return to church. Yes, a small simple old Presbyterian church on Sunday mornings recharges my batteries, faith and hope.

  19. I’m so happy to hear of the rains that finally made their way to you…and look you are getting use of your winter coat! Friendship from another human or companionship with non-humans are uplifting and cherished moments…cheers to many more moments with your friends Debra!

    • Thank you, Cristina, for such a thoughtful response. Yes! The rain is unbelievable. I know we can’t count on it yearly, but it wasn’t predicted for the season, making it all the more a joy. I’ve worn my coats more this winter than I have in the last five years, and that’s without exaggeration. LOL! Hugs!

    • The rain has slowed down, and I’m ready for spring. Taking care of outdoor animals in this weather hasn’t been easy either. More on the kitty very soon, thank you!

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