Finding Cougan

Early 1970, a New England wintery mix showered into the frosty sinking woodlands. Evening darkness had long fallen near 4pm. I could hear him. Way out there… almost imperceptible – Listening… Listening…  “Did you hear that Dad?” He slowed the car as we entered the tunnel, the thick canopy of oaks, maples and white birch that hung over Ledge Road. The enchanted vortex spanned nearly a quarter mile before giving way to a glimpse of sky that peeked atop the hill where a quick curvy descent ensured momentum.

Mom’s beloved Doberman pinscher, Cougan, had broken his run once again. He was far away this time. I could feel it. Cougan routinely did not return to our beckoning calls and was more inclined to bolt in the opposite direction. He was a Nervous Nellie type of canine in that way. We had to listen for him. Listening… Listening… He had to be found.

Adopted from the shelter just months before, Mom quickly brought him back to health, with a lustrous rich coat of deep red satin. A bit pudgy around the edges, let’s say Cougan was at his full potential. Though his four stick legs held him tall, I knew his collar was likely dragging six feet of broken chain. With the thicket hefty and the temps threatening to plunge, a quandary like that could spell disaster. The consequences of not finding this short-haired oversized lap dog that night were near dire.

I just knew he was within reach. The terrain nested years of lain and freshly fallen branches braided across the unkempt fields of soft dirt and spotty swamp land bearing granite boulders. The quagmire was in essence, the quintessential briar-patch. I just knew that Cougan was probably tangled somewhere. I could feel his connection.

My parents were skeptical. It was a school night and before my 9:30 bedtime. Exhausting the local search, Dad and I jumped in the car and drove way up past Croteau’s house, calling out “Cougan! Cougan!” Turning around we re-entered the tunnel. No houses, just overgrown and forested pastures divided by dilapidated stone walls.

“Cougan! Cougan!” I called and called from the backseat window. Later learned, Dad was readying to call it quits for the night.      …the sound ever so faint, ever so far, if even there at all. “Dad, pull over here, please!” “…yip…  …yip…”  “ I think I hear him!”  “Sure Honey,” he said, turning off the engine.

We were stopped and it got quiet outside, real quiet. And then, more silence… We could hear all the natural sounds that surrounded us, the raindrops from the trees, the creaking of their limbs, the inspiring gusts whistling through space like tumbleweeds as it chilled the air. I was compelled to get out of the car and start trekking. I was drawn straight in. Off I went with Dad following close behind. “Be careful, Honey”, he said as I leaped over the stone wall, raising my feet high as my legs would allow, taking tall steps through the entanglements. Finally reaching a second stone wall, Cougan was not to be seen nor heard.

By this time Dad is getting concerned. He’s not so sure he ever did hear anything. ‘It’s pretty dark and wet out here and we aren’t dressed the part. This may be a wild goose chase!’ Attempting to reconcile a sad inevitability, I just knew Cougan was out there and we were going in the right direction. A moment later our heads raised to attention, “…Yip!..Yip!!” “ Did you hear it, Dad!?!” Excited, we both leapt to our feet with renewed enthusiasm. “Come on Honey. Let’s keep going.” Invigorated and resolute, we trekked further in with stronger knowing. Though the land could be rugged it held great beauty and peace in the dark twilight. Across the old field we spied yet another stone wall just inside the next tree-line. We halted. We called out. We listened. Listening… Listening… Listening… “…he has to be here,” I whispered to myself.

Very naturally staying open to the feeling of positivity and optimism, in a rush of energy I found him. “He’s over here!”      Cougan was certainly in a pickle. The chain was tightly embedded within the jumbled granite that wrapped around an ancient evergreen with ingrown barbed wire. He was confined in his space, unable to move right, left, up or down. He could only sit on the rock and shiver. Needless to say, Cougan was very happy to see us. His little stubby cropped tail and pointy ears were glistening wiggles. I checked his paws and sure enough, he had gashed one pad. He was just plain pitiful. We knew Cougan’s tendency may be to run once freed.  Loving on the dog in reassuring tones, Dad carried him all the way back to the car.

That night held one happy reunion, I’ll tell you. Arriving home many cigarettes later, Mom had the woodstove burning at full tilt.  Cougan got the royal treatment being dried off with a family bath towel and given his favorite digestible treat. Flattered and complimented, my Father validated my power as he recounted our adventure.  Describing his perspective of previously unfolding events he said, “If Patty hadn’t heard him, I would have never stopped. He would be lost for sure.” I was elated! I had helped in finding Cougan. I absolutely knew it was possible. I just knew it – all because, I got quiet… And, that is a really good feeling all around.


What I take away from the experience is this. Tap into the silence. Meditation is the name of the game, in all aspects of wellness.  Meditation nourishes mindfulness and cultivates the alignment with that really good feeling vibration. The evidence tangible, our life gets better and better and better.  Personally, I appreciate the ongoing benefits reaped and wisdom gleaned after spending a few minutes every day, in silent meditation. …pausing to b-r-e-a-t-h-e,   b- r- e- a- t- h- e,   b – r – e – a – t – h – e… It’s mindfulness that creeps in and makes the difference. In mindfulness, we tap into the types of answers that we prefer to see and to hear and to feel. Fun realizations and positive expectations regularly come to the foreground. Meditating consistently, the how of things always takes care of itself.

Clarity comes incrementally. Sit comfortably and gently close your eyes and breathe. Notice your breath in and your breath out. It’s that simple. Through science, we know that meditating, for just sixteen seconds at a time, holds tremendous value in our overall health and well-being, even on a molecular level. Work up to meditating for five minutes to the ideal twenty minutes a day. Meditate and appreciate. Start now. You need not wait to be in a pickle to take up a meditation practice. Though on occasion, we do find ourselves sealed in the jar. At that point we are committed to the energies’ momentum. You may as well take a nap and start again.

Sometimes, we think about the undesired and then notice that we are thinking about the undesired. Pat yourself on the back for the noticing. That’s mindfulness at work! Noticing you are noticing is a big deal! Now, you have some control. Cultivate it. The more mindfulness we develop the more we perpetuate and thrive in our personal power. It’s all good!

Leading lecturers tell us we are “pre-paving our experience.” Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.” Simply put, we get what we think about. Take it easy on yourself and meditate. It’s in mindfulness we naturally become a discriminating gatekeeper at the door of our own minds. Reading these words, right now, we point our focus. ‘Energy flows where attention goes.’

Meditation centers us. Watch as your joy is mirrored back to you in gratifying ways, uplifting those you touch. We are always aligning. Cultivate your flow of happiness. Dream big, you are phasing into a more desired experience. I usually ponder fun, upbeat, and feel good kinds of things. Mom would say, “It sure beats the alternative.”

It is fun noticing my thought then very quickly seeing it divinely manifest.  Recently, after finishing the kitchen chores, the picture of a new car flashed across my mind. The experience was pleasant. I thought to myself, “Oh that would be good.” Next thing a couple weeks later, not one but two new cars in the driveway!

Make meditation and mindfulness a priority in your daily routine. Keep it right up there with eating, sleeping and breathing. How easy it is to take a few seconds now to breathe-in and breathe-out. Silently meditate, letting your inner cork float. Feel yourself relaxed within the flow.

When we practice meditation, we open to feeling the grace of alignment with appreciation and love, which begets feeling the grace of alignment with appreciation and love. We are meant to feel good.         Aum… Listening… Listening…Finding Cougan and we lived happily ever after, I just knew it! It’s only natural.

toilet paper

     We all experience points when life takes that turn and everything really starts to go our way. We feel lighter and freer. But – so often we’re encumbered with a sense of guardedness, feeling like this is not going to last, while we wait for the other shoe to drop. We have grown so accustomed to the struggle and daily grind that when good things happen we’re not used to it and we think it is an anomaly.  Well, I’m happy to report that this type of stinkin’ thinkin’ is all in your head. It is only natural for us to feel good and everything is supposed to go our way.
     To prove this point, consider your toilet paper. I have lived in many different locations over the years. Each abode, of course, had a holder for the toilet paper. In one place I became accustomed to turning toward the left to gather this precious reserve. It became automatic to lean in that direction for the much needed item. After a while I didn’t even think about it. The brain pattern was in place and I could be totally mindless when it came time to acquire this useful tool.
     Moving to a new place, I found this valuable commodity to be on the right. How odd it was to automatically be reaching left, reaching left, reaching left. I realized, though without fanfare, that if I wanted to utilize this important resource, I had to open myself to a new way of thinking. I had to allow and create some new brain wrinkles. I had to be mindful and reach right. Those little subtleties can change everything. In mindfulness, the shift is always for the better.
     Meditation cleans things up. When we meditate we cultivate mindfulness and open ourselves to all that good stuff. Each time we meditate we, little by little, train our ever agreeable brain to lean in the direction of our natural inclinations. We become mindful.  We begin to notice that we are turning left when what we want is on our right. We recognize our passions and our brain re-patterns to accommodate our wishes.
     Test your toilet paper today. Take a few minutes each morning to meditate, breathing in and breathing out; paying attention or being mindful of your breath, your breath, your breath. The shift is incremental and it does not take long to become used to and normalize. Life is supposed to feel good, without compromise. Meditate and let it in. It’s only natural.
hearts (3)

(artist unknown)

core intellect

025I’m taking a 100 hour meditation teacher training which will ‘qualify’ me to share a type of meditation that everyone can utilize. I love it. Oddly, I’ve always been qualified but over the years I had allowed the opinions of others to jade my self- confidence.

We are such people pleasers, we humans, that most of us have trained ourselves right out of our own innate and natural well-being. We’ve allowed the intellect to take over our lives forgetting that we are an energy field at our core walking around in these garages we call a body.

When we meditate we are cultivating that core. It is a distraction for the intellect, which says ‘yes’ to everything we feed it. In meditation we tune in to our inner world where inspiration, simplicity and goodness reside. Meditation leads to mindfulness. Cultivating mindfulness through meditation is a powerful tool for daily living. We are able to soothe that which does not serve us and our perspective shifts.

Emotions are simply the indicator of the direction of our thought. Our thoughts, thought often enough, turn into beliefs. The intellect is comprised of our beliefs. Contrary to what the programmed intellect may offer, it is natural for us to feel good. When we meditate we become equipped to notice if we’re feeling good or if something is feeling off. It is that noticing, that mindfulness, that allows for us to consciously change our minds. We are enabled to slow or stop feeding the off-ness our energy/attention and it slows the momentum.

010.jpgIt is the daily practice of focusing on the breath, the breath, the breath that gently breeds mindfulness. The intellect conforms to mindfulness and you will find your behind in the proverbial sling less and less and less. If you’re in a pinch, breathing and focusing elsewhere, like your big toe for example, helps to find that place of well-being. Overall, once a consistent meditation practice gets a foothold on the intellect, feeling good becomes normal and life gets better and better.

007Cultivate your core and meditate. Open the channel telling the intellect, “I know I have the ability to focus.”  Bring your attention to the breath, the breath, the breath. Feel a type of detachment from the physical environment letting your inner cork float. The more you do it the more you want to do it. It’s all good AND It’s only natural.

b r e a t h i n g science

The Closet Academic

I always thought the art of meditation was common knowledge; taking a few minutes every day to focus on our b r e a t h i n g. We can stir up much ado over little things that they seem big and out of reach. How many of you know people who b r e a t h e? How many of those b r e a t h i n g people you know are ever aware that they are b r e a t h i n g? How often are you aware that you are b r e a t h i n g? If you do a workout you may be aware that you are b r e a t h i n g, and b r e a t h i n g hard and exerting yourself and sweating…

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power pause

Deep breath in to the tippy top, holding briefly and a strong exhale out the mouth. Allow a sigh. One more time – inhale and exhale. Now, just breathe normally noticing the rush of air coming in and going out. Just noticing. At the beginning of a practice, meditation students  are often instructed to silently ask themselves three simple questions.

Now, in your mind, as you breathe ask yourself,  ‘who am I?’ breathing in and out, ‘who am I?’ very gently offering the question – breathing in and breathing out. Next question, ‘what do I want?’ And, again breathing in and breathing out, ‘what do I want?’. Ever so easy, ever so natural ask yourself ‘what is my dharma/purpose? What is my purpose/how may I serve?’ And then, let the questions go, breathing in and breathing out. Inhale in the luscious air, savoring it and then exhaling out what no longer serves you.

How easy is that? Very! Now you have launched your practice for the day. Enjoy the peace of natural breath for a few minutes more. Make the best of the rest of your day and watch what comes. ‘Seek (the good stuff) and ye shall find.’ It’s only natural.

diving deep

The Closet Academic is diving deep this weekend. Always having been certifiable, I am embarking on the road to meditation teacher certification. Often, in our rushed world today, we find ourselves having been trained out of allowing our natural states. We tend to stifle our natural ease subtly replacing it with hurried anxiety. That’s where meditation comes in handy.

It is interesting to note how natural mindfulness is to us and a part of our many innate abilities. Taking just a few short minutes each morning to breathe in and breathe out – quieting our minds and noticing our breath, our breath, our breath, changes everything. Meditation cultivates our natural mindfulness. We can dive deep in mindfulness and reap its endless benefits. We find life growing better and better and better.

Do yourself, your family and our world a huge favor. Meditate every morning. Do it before life takes over for the day. Make it a part of your personal constitution. When we meditate we dive deep and have more room to maneuver. Mindfulness always bobs to the top. It’s only natural.


mini rant

Today, I’m compelled to cross over to the dark side. Occasionally, I’ll torture myself and binge on reading headlines, watching clips and perusing print media. Thankfully, I meditate which brings mindfulness and calm to my perceptions. It is interesting to watch how easily people can be manipulated. I live in the #fitn state. My fellow New Hampshire, twitter savvy citizens may know that the hashtag means first in the nation, in reference to the Presidential Primary.


Polling is a major resource for rhetorical puppetry. Here in New Hampshire, after having been polled and polled and polled again, I want to see a poll on how many people would like to rip out their landlines and pole the pollsters where the sun don’t shine. Being in the #fitn state what you, the average non-New Hampshire resident, hear about issues or candidates leading the field or gaining or losing points, with their plus or minus margins of error, can be highly misleading. Typically, once the result of a slanted specific poll shows a hint of fodder, it quickly hits the media cycles to suit their particular commission.


This week we saw the product of an antiquated corporate model in the form of a man named Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. He’s the guy who bought a drug and jacked the price into the stratosphere. Though despicable, it’s legal. He was brought before a committee of the United States House of Representatives to explain himself. His obvious, blatant contempt was more than palpable. His lawyer said that the constant smirk plastered across his client’s face was due to nerves. I almost believed the explanation until I read what the twit tweeted. His demonstrated disrespect is beyond comprehension.


It can be tough to stay out of the fray of the mindless ugly, at times. Just opening our snail-mailboxes has the potential to, and often does, explode paper commercials directly into our homes. We look at it as we toss it aside and that’s all it takes. The seed has been planted. It must be physically handled just to get it to the recycle bin. Unless there is discriminating mindfulness afoot, you may find yourself embracing the gecko.


Our world is ever changing for the better. We have intelligent, optimistic, enthusiastic and naturally mindful millennials and meditators. Where once our academic institutions supported practices that inadvertently cultivated the dregs we see in the news, we are now much more aware. We know that when we put well-being first that the bottom line automatically falls into place. We thrive and prosper in mindfulness. Breathe In. Breathe Out. We’re in for a wonderful ride! It’s only natural.

mindful leap

It’s here. Twenty sixteen is officially a leap year. We’re taking the leap. Those born on the sixtieth day of a leap year have the opportunity to celebrate their fourth birthday at sixteen years of age. This year is my fifteenth leap year.  Leap years calibrate our calendars saving us from the drift. In the USA, leap years leap us into another presidential election. We leap and drift and leap and drift.

Where do we find the time? One quarter of a leftover day each year breaks down to nearly one single minute every day. Keep that in mind next time you are at a loss to find the time to leap into a quality of life activity, like meditation, for example. Taking the leap, just a few single minutes each day, into a silent meditation provides a positive upsurge and stretches us. We become more supercharged and may feel like leaping tall buildings in a single bound (metaphorically speaking).

Leap years and meditation have a lot in common. Leap years adjust our time/space calculators to align more accurately with the united global understanding. Meditation adjusts our personal time/space calculators to align more accurately with ourselves enhancing the united global understanding.  The time goes by whether we are paying attention or not. We can leap over our time and not give it a single minute’s thought or we can leap into our time and be happily mindful of every single minute. Take the mindful leap and meditate. It’s only natural.

Gap revisited

The Closet Academic

3 practical steps to Mindfulness
I’m watching a linear trend in the world of blogging. Seems most disseminated content is now translated in steps 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 etc. Readers, like me, go straight to the bolded caption and I dare say, rarely read the descriptive paragraph that follows. Okay, I’ll cave. Here are 3 practical steps to Mindfulness and visiting the Gap.
  1. MEDITATE – breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out – focus on breathing in and breathing out. It’s all about the breath, the breath, the breath.
  1. MEDITATE some more – build up to 5, 10, 20 minutes every day focusing on the breath, the breath, the breath. Ideally, you are seated quietly and comfortably with eyes closed. Open with a cleansing breath and notice your lung capacity. Then just breathe normally, noticing, feeling, appreciating the breath.

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safe happiness

‘Do what you love and everything else takes care of itself.’ As a metaphysician and meditator I have heard this over and over again. A mature American woman living in the early 21st century, I’ve learned that this philosophy is absolutely correct and see it in action daily. Conversely, our dominant society would have us question the notion of living in love and happiness for the majority of our stay on the planet.

We seem to be tethered here in our physical world, interacting energetically, through our individual belief systems. Those who love the Lord love loving the Lord.  Those who love the path of the Buddha love loving the path of the Buddha. Those who love their pets love loving their pets. Whatever Channel that feeds and provides the deeply felt Connection and Knowing, we as individuals, egos on Earth, appear to be pure Light or the ‘hue’ in human. We are the owner and operator of our life in this time on this beautiful spinning sphere. We walk around in this vehicle we call a body. The body’s maneuvering mechanism steers and directs the ever positive, ever agreeing Light through its steering wheel known as our Focus and Attention.

Everyone, whether atheist or martian, boy or girl, knows of this deeply intimate space, even if acknowledged for just a nano-second.  When one is in conscious recognition of it, a sense of unencumbered freedom and happiness prevails. Freedom from the training, socialization and often perverse and conflicting but well-meaning rituals, procedures and beliefs that have been pounded into us since the day we were born. Like endorphins, freedom and happiness provides an often lasting sense of upliftment and a taste of the savory divine, that we all are at our core.

Pay Attention to what you are Focused upon – in any given moment. Does it really feel good to watch the news every single day? Is it advantageous to fret and feel poorly over something that you have absolutely no control over? Can you give what you don’t have? Of course not! We are always free to choose. We just forgot. It takes Focus to slow this train down and turn it around. Pay Attention to your own happiness first. Ask yourself, ‘wouldn’t it be nice if…’ Keep leaning your Attention toward the better feeling. Nourish and cultivate often your most exhilarating dreams and feel the joy of them. It is safe to let yourself feel happiness. It’s only natural.