Loki Wisdom Series
Loki Wisdom is a twelve-part series about an orange tabby kitten who was born on or about April 19, 2019. Loki joined the Ramsey family on June 2, 2019, welcomed enthusiastically by Tucker, her three-year-old brother and reluctantly by Taylor, her nine-year-old calico sister.
Blog 12: The Loki Wisdom Series
September 17, 2019
Part Twelve: Milestones
Loki is reaching major milestones marking her first five months of life. We find her baby teeth all over the house as her adult teeth take their place. She now sleeps in Tucker’s basement lair and not in bed with mommy and daddy, and she prefers adult cat food to the kitten food she once devoured. As she grows longer and taller, she is becoming Tucker’s well-matched wrestling partner. As the weeks and months tick by, we fondly remember the little orange fluff ball who emitted that “new baby” smell. Now we eagerly await the next accomplishment she demonstrates with her growing strength and prowess.
At the recent World Day of Prayer service, I chose to read the passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “For everything, there is a season”. The author reminds us of the cycles of life with its ups and downs, its comings and goings, its sowing and reaping, and its mourning and dancing. In all of life’s rhythmic cycles, we always have a choice. We can participate fully in the changing event, feeling the depths and heights of the emotions they bring. Or we can resist the changes, telling ourselves and everyone who listens, how our life should be different, and begrudge the loss of what was. Knowing that ultimately there is a divine order to the changing phases, whether we understand the order or not, we can rest in the assurance that all is according to divine plan, and we can look for the blessing in it.
Reflection: Is there a change occurring in my life right now? Am I judging it positively or negatively? What emotions am I feeling? Am I suppressing my feelings, or feeling them fully? How can I awaken to a deeper relationship with the Divine as a result of this change? How can this change make me become an even more compassionate person?
Affirmative Prayer: With deep appreciation and trust, I move forward through this experience with grace and ease. I know, as I have experienced in the past, the blessing in the situation will make itself known. I feel a deep peace in my soul as I rely fully on God’s Divine Order in the process. Amen.
Blog 11: The Loki Wisdom Series
September 10, 2019
Part Eleven: Higher Vision
Loki’s vision of herself is that of a lioness. She hasn’t met an obstacle she cannot overcome. If the dining room half-wall is too tall for her to jump up from the floor, she’ll climb the back of a chair and leap with the greatest of ease to the top of it. If she needs a better view, she’ll scale door and window screens until she is satisfied with her range of vision. She boldly and confidently goes where her mother prefers she wouldn’t!
Growth and evolution have been a part of the universal unfolding since the beginning of time. Our own bodies have grown and evolved since we were born. As we mature spiritually, we have an opportunity to examine whether our spiritual beliefs and our relationship with the Divine are also growing and evolving. In The Keys to the Kingdom, Rev. David Owen Ritz instructs us that we will not rise higher than our personal vision for our life. He asks us to believe in our highest potential so that we can and will realize it.
Reflection: What is my highest potential in this life? Is my personal vision big enough? What is mine to do today, tomorrow and the next day to fulfill that vision? How can I live fully in the life and love of God?
Affirmative Prayer: Sweet Spirit, you have placed in my heart the desire to be your vessel of love in this world. Guide me where you need me. Awaken in me the vision you hold for me. Let me be ever aware that you are with me on this journey so that I may boldly go where you lead. Amen
Blog 10: The Loki Wisdom Series
September 3, 2019
Part Ten: Time Out!
I’m not sure of the ingredients in canned cat food, other than there is a magical element that sparks all three cats into tremendous, joyful activity. Loki likes to take the lead by chasing after the other two in hopes of tackling them to the ground. After leaping across couches, tables and chairs, she momentarily captures Tucker, who flips her on her side in an effort to slow her down. Although she wiggles free from his embrace, he flips her again in a kitty version of “time out” until she settles down a bit. That effort is short lived, however, and they are off to the races once more.
Fitness experts instruct their students to take a rest day from their workout routines. Recent medical studies have also suggested rest can improve our weight, attitudes, mental acuity and relationships. Many of us were raised to observe the Sabbath, a day set apart from our busy work week to rest and worship the God of our understanding. In addition to recharging our spiritual connection with the Divine, Sabbath recharges our physical and mental batteries so we can give our best back to the world.
Reflection: Have you ever noticed the feeling of being hit with an unexpected illness or an unusually strong urge to nap, right when you are at your busiest? Have you considered that by taking periodic breaks to rest and replenish your body, mind and soul that you will better contribute to your life, work and relationships?
Affirmative Prayer: I take a moment to rest in Spirit and worship God. I quiet my thoughts and feel Divine Life flowing through my life. As I practice this feeling, my life seems to run more smoothly and joyfully. With deep thanks, I pause, noticing all the divine ideas that brought me to this point in time. I reflect on the loving guidance I have received that helped me accomplish what I wanted or needed to accomplish. I rest in calm peace and feel deeply blessed. Amen.
Blog 9: The Loki Wisdom Series
August 27, 2019
Part Nine: Curiosity and the Kitten
Whether adult cat food, warm laps, toys or kitty beds, Loki must explore anything of interest to her siblings, to the point of nudging the older cats out of their dinner dishes. Loki inserts herself into every situation. Once in a while, the older cats must indelicately remind Loki that some things are not for kitten consumption. They deliver the discipline with a paw pop to her forehead and a quick hiss. Usually, though, they acquiesce, allowing Loki space to explore and learn new things.
Harvard Medical School suggests that if we want to keep our minds young and active, we should try new things like improving our diets, getting plenty of exercise, and participating in mental stimulation. Mental stimulation includes reading, taking courses, and trying “mental gymnastics,” such as word puzzles or math problems. The school also suggests experimenting with things that require manual dexterity as well as mental effort, such as drawing, painting, and other crafts. Walt Disney is quoted as saying, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
Reflection: Have you ever noticed the routines in your life? Are they comfortable, or are you feeling discontent with your habits? Are you leaving space to open new doors and to do new things? Are you keeping your mind open and active by becoming curious about anything and everything? Can you look at the world again with child-like wonder? What one routine action can you replace with something new today?
Affirmative Prayer: In the quiet of my heart, I feel a deep, abiding gratitude for the wonder and glory of all creation. I choose in this moment to see Divine Presence everywhere I look. I choose to see creation in all its magnificence, as if seeing it for the very first time. I choose to see everyone and everything in their innocence, just as they were created. In the quiet of my heart, I feel a deep abiding love for it all. Amen.
Blog 8: The Loki Wisdom Series
August 20, 2019
Part Eight: Comfort Zones
Taylor, the eldest cat in our home, claims every new box that enters our door. Respecting her elder, Loki patiently waits her turn so that she, too, can revel in the comfort and security that only an empty cardboard box can bring. She doesn’t stay there long, though, because there are more adventures to discover and (toy) mice to stalk.
Cat experts advise that cats choose boxes for reasons of comfort and security. We humans might not jump into a cardboard box, but we too have our own mental and emotional comfort zones into which we retreat. The Cambridge.org dictionary defines a comfort zone as a situation in which we feel comfortable and in which our ability and determination are not being tested, as we do not have to do anything new or difficult there. Denis Waitley suggests, “A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.”
Reflection: Is your dream, your soul’s calling, on the outside of your comfort zone, trying to get your attention? Is it upsetting or startling to think about? Is your dream too big? Too impractical? Too “out there”? If the dream keeps calling to you, might there be a small step you can take to discover an adventure you didn’t know was possible? Are you bold enough to step into the unknown?
Affirmative Prayer: In quiet reflection, I choose to let my heart’s desire make itself known by asking what is mine to do and to be. If my comfort zone attempts to answer, I gently let it rest and allow Infinite Wisdom to guide the answer. In quiet reflection, I feel safe to dream the dream Spirit planted in my heart before I was born. In quiet reflection, I let the still calm peace of my soul envelop me. In quiet reflection, I let Spirit guide my next steps into the unknown. Amen.
Blog 7: The Loki Wisdom Series
August 13, 2019
Part Seven: Know When to Hold ‘Em
Loki has a sweet habit of cuddling with her brother, Tucker, and with her parents. She is especially sensitive to us when we’re feeling off, either emotionally or physically. She puts her arm around as much of us as she can reach and loudly purrs until one of us falls deeply asleep. When she feels ill, she curls up in a warm lap and allows her own healing to begin.
There are times when world, local or personal events make us feel the need to retreat into ourselves to try to make sense of what has happened, making it difficult for others to show us kindness. In our retreat, we may not realize that reaching out in compassion to someone else is exactly what we need to heal our conflicted emotions. Those same events might also fill us with compassion, but we may not know what to do. We find a hint in the Dalai Lama’s words, “It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act.”
Reflection: When you feel the need for empathy or care, how can you reach out to a trusted friend or loved one? When you feel filled with compassion, what compassionate action is available to you? Some people donate blood regularly or in a time of great need. Some volunteer to fill sand bags in flood-prone areas, or clear brush in fire sensitive places. And some pray, knowing that God’s Presence is already in the situation or person. They then enfold in love those for whom they pray.
Affirmative Prayer: Loving God, sometimes it seems like there is so much chaos in the world. I sometimes feel that You have forgotten me and I need to sense Your presence more deeply. In my hour of need, help me be aware of Your omnipresence and unconditional love. Let me share Your grace with others who might also need to feel closer to You. Let me be Your willing hands, Your embracing arms and Your unconditionally loving heart in this world. Amen.
Blog 6: The Loki Wisdom Series
August 6, 2019
Part Six: Standing Tall, Looking Large
There are times when Loki’s big brother Tucker needs a rest from the little orange fireball. When Loki spots him, she leaps into the air with her arms and legs spread wide, looking as big as she possibly can. She then grabs him by the neck or tail to express her delight at catching her prey, and the tussling begins. It doesn’t seem to matter that he is four times her size. She makes herself look as large as possible because in her heart, she is a mountain lion. There is no prey or obstacle too large to tackle and at the moment, the prey’s name is Tucker.
According to the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Montana, if you encounter a bear and the bear is aware of you, but not aggressively attacking you, you should avoid direct eye contact, but remain aware of its actions. Stand tall, with your arms out to the sides, slowly moving them up and down, looking as large as possible. Marianne Williamson gave us similar advice when she said, “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”
Reflection: Have you ever encountered an obstacle in your life that felt like a big bear in your path? Did you run away screaming? Did you focus on the obstacle by making direct eye contact, eliminating the possibility of the awareness of another solution? Or did you face the obstacle, talking to it about possibilities with God’s help? Did you reveal your inner light? Did you stand tall, looking large in your spirituality?
Affirmative Prayer: When faced with the appearance of a daunting problem, I take a moment to breathe. As I inhale, I remember that I am breathing the breath of God. As I inhale, I realize God always provides everything I need in every situation. I just have to let my worried mind settle down so that God’s perfect answer can appear. I stand tall in my awareness of God’s unconditional support in my life.
Blog 5: The Loki Wisdom Series
July 30, 2019
Part Five: Climb Ev’ry Mountain
In Loki’s first nine weeks of life, she tipped the scales at two pounds and three ounces. But the diminutive size didn’t deter Loki from taking giant leaps of faith to scale whatever mountain-like obstacle was in her path. Like an expert lineman scaling a utility pole, Loki ascended to the higher ground of staircases, beds, couches and chairs. Once in a while, Loki’s nails got trimmed, making mountain climbing more difficult. In those cases, a helping hand (usually mine) appeared to offer assistance.
Lynda.com describes “stretch goals” as targets that push people (and kittens) to continue performing. Unlike “commitment goals” that must be accomplished, stretch goals are motivational tools that we may or may not accomplish, but can be achievable. In other words, if we fall short of achieving a stretch goal, it’s okay to reassess, look for help, and try again.
Reflection: Have you ever considered adding stretch goals to your daily routine? Adding five minutes to a meditation or exercise plan is achievable. So is committing to saying only kind, loving words for an entire day. Is there a “mountain” in your life that you would like to overcome? Making a stretch goal toward reaching that summit might be just the motivation you need to conquer your mountain.
Affirmative Prayer: Loving God, thank You for guiding me in every aspect of my life. When I feel life gives me more than I can handle, I know I can turn to You within for a helping hand. An inspired thought, the kindness of a friend or stranger, or the sudden appearance of a book or article, reminds me that You are always with me, leading me in the right direction for my highest good. Thank You, God. Amen.
The Loki Wisdom Series
July 23, 2019
Part Four: Small Enough, Brave Enough, Fast Enough
Loki woke me one morning at 5:17 by gently biting my hand and arm. I thought she must be hungry or needed to use the litter box, so I gently placed her on the floor. Not waiting for me to don my bathrobe, she made a direct and swift path down the stairs and stopped still next to Tucker, her three-year-old brother. Tucker didn’t notice her entry, as he was intently staring at the wine rack in the dining room. “Ew! A mouse,” I thought. Sure enough, a mouse hid below the wine bottles. While Tucker, too large to fit into the rack, made a move to the left side, Loki stealthily crept to the back side. In a literal blink of an eye, Loki made her move and emerged from the rack with the prize firmly held in her mouth.
With single-minded purpose, Loki knew what to do. Neither size, nor age, nor expectations of others (especially me, who wanted to set the little mouse free), kept Loki from the goal. Dr. Joe Dispenza teaches that when we keep a clear intention (the mouse is caught) married with an elevated emotion (pure joy) we cannot be deterred from accomplishing our goal.
Reflection: Have you ever discounted something, perhaps a heart’s desire or life purpose idea because you thought you were too old, too young, too tall, too short, not good enough or not smart enough? What if you decided that God gave you everything you needed, your own set of “instincts” just for you, to go after and catch your prize?
Affirmative Prayer: With deep thanks, I rejoice in the many ways my life is already blessed. Thank you, God, for creating me in Your image and likeness, with everything I need right now to do what You entrusted me to do. With Your help, I do it now.
The Loki Wisdom Series
July 16, 2019
Part Three: That was Unexpected!
We took Loki to the veterinarian for his eight-week checkup and vaccination. While we were waiting for the doctor, his wife, the veterinary technician, held the little kitty on his back and noticed something odd. “Doc, you better come quickly. Something’s missing!” Oh, dear God, I thought to myself, Tucker must have injured the little tyke and I didn’t even notice! When Doc arrived, his wife explained that there weren’t “boy parts” on the kitty. Loki might just be a female!
About eighty percent of all orange tabbies are born male, making the possibility of a female unusual. We and the veterinarian fully expected this little orange one to be a guy, too. But life brings surprises. Some of them are happy, some not so much, like the sudden passing of a loved one, or an unforeseen illness that pops up seemingly out of nowhere. Then there are the surprises that bring joy and fulfillment in life, like the little orange kitty named after the Norse god of mischief: Loki.
Reflection: Allow yourself to take a moment to reflect over your last week. Now, reflect over the last month and the last year. What unexpected surprises presented themselves to you? Did you feel the unexpected event was positive or negative? What was your reaction? Are you able to find a blessing in it yet, like kind assistance from another, or perhaps someone comforting or guiding you, or perhaps someone celebrated with you?
Affirmative Prayer: When something unexpected occurs in my life, I pause and recall Your Infinite Presence. I then check my feelings, because You remind me to respond from love. I take a breath and notice the ground beneath my feet. Feeling supported by the earth, I know I am also supported, unconditionally and lovingly, by You. Thank you, God, for supporting me as I move, with You, through this experience.
The Loki Wisdom Series
July 9, 2019
Part Two: Ask, Seek, Knock
When the veterinarian discovered the orange tabby kitten in his horse barn, Loki was wailing at the top of his little lungs. The horses steered clear of the tiny banshee who was making his desires clearly known. He was cold and hungry and trying to get anyone’s attention to rectify his condition. “Doc” put him in a bucket to keep him safe from the horses’ hooves until he could take him inside to feed him and warm him up.
In the Gospel of Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus instructs us to ask, seek and knock and our request will be fulfilled. We might think we need to ask, seek and knock just once. However, the Greek words used indicate a dedicated continuation of effort. We need to ask (αἰτεῖτε) and keep on asking until we get an answer. We need to seek (ζητεῖτε) and keep on seeking until we find what we are looking for. We need to knock (κρούετε) and keep on knocking until the right door opens for us. And through it all, we keep our emotions fixed on a confident expectation of the fulfillment of our request. When we persist in prayer, we tend to find what we are truly seeking, and the right doors open.
Reflection: Have you ever asked for something from God and were met with what appeared to be a stony silence, or worse, a definitive “No”? Have you considered that being focused on something specific, with a heart of doubtful fulfillment, might prevent you from noticing a better opportunity?
Affirmative Prayer: With deep appreciation, I give thanks that all my prayers are fulfilled. If a specific request isn’t in line with my higher purpose, I know that Divine Guidance leads me to the right answer, and the right doors open for me. I feel so blessed.
The Loki Wisdom Series
July 2, 2019
Part One: Choices and Decisions
We recently acquired a rescue kitten, who we named Loki, for “Little Orange Kitty” (or the Norse god of mischief, we haven’t decided yet). We haven’t had a “baby” in the house since 1995 and the addition to our household meant that the older cats needed time to adjust to and play with the new kitten. We not only changed Loki’s and our lives, but we also changed the older cats’ lives. We really hadn’t planned on adopting another pet, thinking we would let attrition take its course, but the moment we laid eyes on that orange baby boy we were hooked. It wasn’t a reasoned decision made with our conscious minds. It was a heart-felt decision, a siren’s call, something we could not resist.
Depending on which research study you read, we humans make an average of thirty-five thousand decisions per day, and over two hundred of them are just about food choices! Granted, most of these thirty-five thousand decisions have minor lasting effect on our lives. We even make some of them while on “auto-pilot,” focusing on something else entirely. Then, there are decisions that change the course of our lives forever.
Reflection: Have you ever consciously or unconsciously made a decision that changed the course of your life? Did you feel that one course was better than the other? Reflect for a moment on how you made that decision. Was it rational or impulsive? Did you feel you were called from deep within to make the decision? How has your life changed for the better as a result of the choice made?
Affirmative Prayer: Divine Guidance is within me, around me and through me always. When I feel the need to make a decision I pause and ask, “What is the right action for me to take in this moment?” I then choose to listen to the inner Guidance that always leads me in the right and perfect direction.