Tag Archives: gentle

The Massage Therapist Auditions

a cat in a complete state of relaxationAbout twenty years ago, a received a gift certificate for my very first registered massage therapy (RMT) session.

It was a very kind and generous gift, especially at a time when I was dealing with the grief of my Dad’s passing. At the same time, I was recovering from the final sprint to the finish line for a major project at work. The timing was absolutely right for what I would consider my first real dose of self-care.

I admit that at first I was bit shy about the whole idea, but the massage therapist assigned to me took the time to ask me questions about my health, what I was looking for from therapeutic massage and to walk me through the process.

Any apprehensions I might have had disappeared within three minutes into the treatment. I relaxed and turned into a mass of jelly which allowed the therapist to gently work out some of the knots that had accumulated over time.

By the end of the session, I was a convert. I was so deeply relaxed, I worried about the long drive home and accidentally veering off the road, but I successfully made it home in one piece.

Sadly, the distance to this particular spa made it difficult for me to promise my return. But I was immediately hooked on that amazing feeling that followed, that “clean slate” sensation when the knots and kinks are eradicated. And so began what I called “the massage therapist auditions”, closer to home. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, stories

When the Cat Asks for a Massage

I think I’ve created a monster!

When I adopted Ivy the Wonder Cat, naturally, she was guarded when it came to where she would allow herself to be petted by this new stranger. But as we got to spend more time together and she realized that she had nothing to fear with me, she started trusting me more and letting her guard down.

At first, I could pet her back and perhaps the top of her head, but that was it. If I pet her anywhere else, I risked getting bitten.

As she warmed up to me, her head became welcome territory as she loved getting massaged behind the ears. Then she started presenting her chin as she liked a little scratch there from time to time.

When she realized that I was a willing participant in indulging her requests for attention, the “rub my belly” days began. Whether I was just coming out of the bedroom in the morning, or coming home from work, she would collapse to the floor like her joints all gave out at the same time, roll over on her back, front paws up in the air and present her belly for a gentle tummy rub.

What surprised me was the slow evolution with her allowing me to go near her paws. As I discussed in my post about challenges in trimming my cat’s nails, she has never been fond with me touching her paws, even if I didn’t have the nail clippers in my hand. She took a long time to warm up. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats

Trimming My Cat’s Nails Without Looking Like I Lost a Fight

As much as I have gushed about all the fun things my cat Ivy has brought into my life, one area that has been a constant learning experience has been the act of trimming her nails.

What is it about my normally cool-as-a-cucumber kitty that the moment I attempt to gently snip 1/16th of an inch off a sharp nail, she can turn on a dime, and a zen moment suddenly becomes a scene from The Exorcist?

Trimming Ivy’s nails has been like a trip to the casino. Most times, I walk away with nothing. On a few occasions, I might get one or two nails done. And on a few rare occasions, I may hit the jackpot and get a whole paw (or even two) done! The trick has been to figure out why I am successful some times and not others, and then to follow the pattern.

It’s pretty easy to check the status of her nails without any intervention on my part. During our daily pets, she lies flat on her blanket and starts moving her little arms back and forth, making that kneading motion with her paws. Her little Wolverine claws pop in and out, giving me a full account of whether her nails are still blunt or if they are sharp or jagged, meaning she is due for a trim.

But if I miss the status check, another sign that a trim is overdue is when she walks around the house, when she doesn’t have her collar on. Usually she can be stealth kitty and sneak up on me at any given moment (which can also be a little creepy, quite frankly). But if I can hear her walking through the kitchen sounding like she is wearing stilettos, those nails are getting long.

The trick is finding the right time to do it. If I say yes to any of the following, chances are, it is not an opportune time: Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Cats, How to, Humour

How I Became an Early Christmas Shopper

A couple of years ago, in the blog post “The Christmas Trees of August”, I poked fun at the retail sector and how stores seem to be putting out seasonal merchandise earlier and earlier each year.

It is funny how times change.

Here we are, two short years later, and I am finding myself seriously venturing out to Christmas shop earlier and earlier with each passing year.

At the best of times throughout the year, I rarely shop on Saturday afternoons. But in the last weeks approaching Christmas, I also avoid shopping on Saturday mornings as the stores and parking lots get far too busy for me. Then a week later, I will drop Sunday as a possible shopping day. Then a week later, Friday evenings are off the list. A week after that, Thursday evenings are eliminated.

When I only have Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings to get my shopping done, there are only so many hours to accomplish that.

Then add to the mix the wildcard of snowstorms or freezing rain that can strike at any moment. If they do, some of those prime shopping days can unexpectedly disappear.

What does one do in light of this weird Christmas shopping algorithm?… I started shopping earlier.

Why?

I seem to have a romantic notion of Christmas shopping being a fun activity. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under 50+, Christmas, Humour

A Kinder, More Gentle Journey

A collection of lit tea lights, arranged in the shape of a heartWhenever I am on a flight, I find it interesting that when the flight attendants are delivering the pre-flight instructions, they always suggest to “take care of your own oxygen mask first, before assisting others”. As an analogy on life, I think it is a great one. I don’t think anyone will disagree that you need to look after your own interests first, but I think as a society we are losing sight of our friends’ oxygen masks!

One of the TV personalities I genuinely enjoy and admire is Tim Gunn, the mentor for the designers on “Project Runway”. I have always thought that he had a solid balance of gentlemanly cool, kindness, tact and diplomacy (while still being able to tell it like it is), qualities that I am continuously working to refine. I am almost finished reading Mr. Gunn’s book “Gunn’s Golden Rules – Life’s Little Lessons for Making it Work” and am even more captivated by his perspective on life because it truly resonates with me.

In his book, he provides tips and hints for “making it work” (his catch phrase on Project Runway) in all disciplines of life. Where he really struck a chord with me is his questioning of where good manners, kindness and respect have seemingly gone out of fashion.

I don’t think my parents and family spent a ridiculous amount of time in my childhood drilling the importance of “please”, “thank you” and respecting my elders. Things like shaking the hand of a grown-up always made me feel like a grown-up when I was being indoctrinated into such gentlemanly rituals, and I gobbled up all such learning opportunities they provided on my quest to becoming a young gentleman.

I do remember that before we went out, there was always a short “briefing” about how I should behave in this setting, which I think went a long way in establishing parameters and ways to behave, where and when appropriate. Sometimes they were followed up afterwards with a few footnotes of positive reinforcement or pointing out where I could do better next time. Knowing from such a young age that such distinctions existed made it a given in adult life and – I would like to think – show the respect we have for our peers in social settings.

I am not suggesting we all need to stand around in tuxedos, sipping tea, speaking in “Downton Abbey” dialects, but rather that day-to-day social graces like holding a door open, waiting one’s turn, waiting until people get off an elevator or public transit before storming in, should not be the abnormality. I don’t know of anyone who dislikes or disapproves of basic good manners, so why is it such a discouraging exception?

I find it interesting when random acts of kindness make the headlines. Shouldn’t a kind and gentle society be engaging in these all the time to such an extent that it shouldn’t make the news.  I am certain that there are a combination of factors and perceptions that suggest why that is, maybe it is a perception of a sign of weakness rather than alpha dominance in a dog-eat-dog world, perhaps it is just forgetfulness with no follow-up coaching on common sense, or perhaps have good manners really gone out of fashion?

In any case, I don’t think it is too steep of a price to pay respect to a total stranger by offering a smile, a nod and a “Good morning” when the occasion presents itself, or to say politely and gently “Excuse me” when someone runs into me with a grocery cart, in the hopes that it generates a reminder to people that they weren’t in fact raised in a barn. It may sound a bit of a Pollyanna perspective on things but I’d like to think that the positive energy of respect, honour, grace and generosity of spirit is contagious. If good manners really did go out of style, I would like to think that the tide could turn and they could come back in style… as most fashions eventually do!

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, your likes and shares are most appreciated.
If you haven’t already, please check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspiring, Misc blogs