syl poses in snow“I have lived with several Zen masters — all of them cats.”

― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

This is probably going to be a short little post…I just wanted to write something about cats..we have 4 and I wanted to write something light and hopeful…disconnecting from all the horror that seems to be life on earth today.

Animals and Nature will take us back to the center..where we all belong.

kittens:bob marleyAll my life I’ve had animals..my dad started getting me involved with caring for animals  after my mother died when I was 9. And I had all sorts of animals, birds and reptiles including chickens, a parakeet, rabbits, turtles, a skunk, hamsters, a dog named Beetle Bombme:flip:beatle

smokey and meand a horse named Smokey.

I remember my first animal/bird was a baby chick my dad won for me at The State Fair of Texas. At that time, in the 50s, you could throw a penny into a container and win a chick. I was so excited! I named the chick Chee and watched him grow into a large rooster.

turtle_greenIn the summers, I carefully transported my turtles from Texas to Michigan where I lived with my grandparents. In our little community there on the Lake Michigan, once a week there were frog and turtle races for the kids. It was a time of innocence, of being part of Nature and my turtles always participated.

These animals helped bring me through a sad and lonely time when people were not very helpful.


I call animals “guardians of Being,” especially animals that live with humans. Because, for many humans, it’s through their contact with animals they get in touch with that level of being.

Eckhart Tolle

I don’t remember being especially drawn to cats though I’ve had a couple through the years; I don’t think I really appreciated them until recently.

When I moved to northern New Mexico 8 years ago, I adopted a cat for the purpose of killing mice. I named this cat Phantom because he hid for quite a long time. When he came out of hiding, he didn’t kill any mice but I came to totally love and appreciate him.phantom stare

Some years later, the mouse population was out of control and I adopted Maggie, a cat from a rescue center in Taos NM

maggiemorning-light-816Maggie went to work on the mice immediately–I think she killed 40 in a matter of days. morning catsShe is the sweetest of beings….very gentle, very feminine and she talks all the time.

So we had 2 cats, 2 horses and 3 wolfdogs-most of them rescues- when Jody [the Brown Piglet in this blog] brought home a very tiny kitten.little-bear-ponderNaturally he [we thought he was a she at first] was so cute and irresistible as kittens are, but we were struggling to feed all the animals we already had. I didn’t want any more but Jody quickly became attached to the kitten–we called him Osa’ for bear in Spanish.

Not much time passed before Jody brought home another kitten from the same litter. He was about to be sent away to live as a barn cat and Jody wanted to rescue him…. we also thought he was a girl at first and named him Selena but eventually he became SylvesterosaselenaI distanced myself from the kittens…we were having a difficult time financially and for me they were another responsibility that we could not afford.

Jody however, was becoming more and more attached to them..he treated them like children and would not think of letting them go outside even for a moment.

They were getting into trouble…tearing things up, knocking lamps over..so he decided they would stay in the barn during the day.redman looking

He spent hours and hours fixing it so they could not get out..putting chicken wire around the bottom and at the top but they always escaped. I could see how hard  he was trying to protect them…he called them the sons he had always wanted but never had.

He worried about them endlessly…if they coughed once or threw up, he got very upset and I began to realize that Oso and Sylvester were probably the first pets he had ever had, the first that actually belonged to him.

People who knew him could not believe that someone who appeared to be so tough, so macho, had spent much of early life in prison and jail, had totally fallen for these 2 kittens.jody-don't come here copy

But I realized that they were providing the same kind of comfort as my animal family had provided for me when I was little. Jody’s love for the kittens was taking him back to the little boy he once was before he was forced to fight and prove himself to his violent and abusive father.

We found a wonderful service in Santa Fe that provided funding for neutering and spaying cats and once they were neutered Jody agreed that could spend a little time outside during the day…..oso purple:lookingfeeling hopeful3

I had never seen cats behave the way Oso and Sylvester do with Jody……cats have always seemed to me to be very independent beings..living alongside humans but separately…keeping their own counsel

but Oso and Sylvester seem more like dogs..


following him everywhere..


just like a dog would.


Most amazing are the daily cat massages Jody gives Oso.

oso cat massage 2 None of the cats I have known have liked their stomachs to be touched and will often bite os cat massage 1but Oso enjoys a massage almost like a human

And so I think this is The POWER of LOVE ….which heals, which unites, which brings compassion and understanding and beauty into this world…


Below is a little slideshow I made about our cats, author Kinky Friedman’s Eulogy for his cat Cuddles…..and Memory from CATS because it is one of my most favorite songs


On January 4, 1993, the cat in this book and the books that preceded it was put to sleep in Kerrville, Texas, by Dr. W.H. Hoegemeyer and myself. Cuddles was fourteen years old, a respectable age. She was as close to me as any human being I have ever known.

Cuddles and I spent many years together, both in New York, where I first found her as a little kitten on the street in Chinatown, and later on the ranch in Texas. She was always with me, on the table, on the bed, by the fireplace, beside the typewriter, on top of my suitcase when I returned from a trip.

I dug Cuddles’ grave with a silver spade, in the little garden by the stream behind the old green trailer where both of us lived in the summertime. Her burial shroud was my old New York sweatshirt and in the grave with her is a can of tuna and a cigar.

A few days ago I received a sympathy note from Bill Hoegemeyer, the veterinarian. It opened with a verse by Irving Townshend: “We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle…”

Now, as I write this, on a gray winter day by the fireside, I can almost feel her light tread, moving from my head and my heart down through my fingertips to the keys of the typewriter. People may surprise you with unexpected kindness. Dogs have a depth of loyalty that often we seem unworthy of. But the love of a cat is a blessing, a privilege in this world.

They say when you die and go to heaven all the dogs and cats you’ve ever had in your life come running to meet you.

Until that day, rest in peace, Cuddles

FEBRUARY 5, 1993


Cats is an award-winning musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and other poems by T. S. Eliot.

I’m a Self Promoter TODAY/Tell it like it is but speak from the Heart!

If you’re lucky, you can convince an introvert to go to a concert or a movie. They’ll enjoy it, but what they won’t enjoy are the crowds. Standing next to a stranger at a concert who doesn’t understand personal space is somewhat of a nightmare come true for an introvert.

~by Gostica

“You want help? Ask for help. You want love? Ask for love. If you want anything from the universe, anything from yourself, you must first ask.”
~Kamand Kojouri

Several months ago when everyone was so angry and continuously expressing their opinions about the ‘presidential candidates’ on Facebook, I responded to a comment and a woman wrote back, telling me I had no compassion.

So thinking of a way to explain that I actually was very compassionate-a stupid game I realize- I sent a link to my gofundme page which tells of some of the work I’ve done over the past 30 years with terminally ill people, parents who have lost a child, Native American People and Elders. I wasn’t asking her to contribute, I just thought after she read about my work, she would understand.

But she became even angrier and accused me of being a self promoter.

This was funny because being a self promoter has always been very hard for me [funny too because the politician she was defending was and is a self promoter extraordinaire…they all are]

Anyway I’ve never liked being in the spotlight, I hate public speaking…I would always rather be in the background..behind the scenes, behind the camera rather than in front of it. I don’t mind promoting someone else though..that’s fun for me.

me 1rst gradeThe first time I remember being consciously aware of this was when I was in the second grade at the Hockaday School in Dallas. We had to play Bingo and I was so shy and so afraid I might win that I didn’t put my chips on the numbers when they were called..I didn’t want my name called out.

And that’s really never changed.

Many years ago I was in British Columbia, participating in one of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s Life Death and Transition workshops. There were usually about 70 people in these workshops and anyone who wanted to, worked with Elisabeth individually but in front of the group.

This seemed pretty terrifying but I was there to finish ‘unfinished business’ so when my turn came I made myself go up to the front to work with Elisabeth. ekr at workshop copyElisabeth never used a textbook approach. She worked with each person individually and her intuitive understanding of each person’s needs seemed to come from a much higher source……which was why she could never train people to take over her work.

So… when my turn came…she gave me something that she wanted me to do which was to go up to each person in the room and ask for a hug. And she told everyone that I had to ask first, otherwise they were not to give me a hug. She would leave the room while I was doing this.

“No, I don’t want to do this!” I thought..but I had to.

When Elisabeth came back, I had finished and she said “Did you learn your lesson, did you learn that you have to ask for what you need?”

But I didn’t really learn. Several years later I had a small grant to give presentations on AIDS to church and community groups. I was doing this through RITES OF PASSAGE, the non profit I had founded to provide care for people with AIDS.

cathedral-me-ttm1 copyOne Sunday I gave a presentation for an adult Sunday school class at an Episcopal church in Austin Tx. After my presentation [which went pretty well because I showed a video] a woman came up to me and offered to help with fundraising ideas. She was a professional fundraiser and when we met a few weeks later, she first asked me about any connections I might have. So I told her about my background and she said “You have connections I would give anything for. Why don’t you use them?” “I can’t” I said “I’ve always felt like Cinderella.”cinderella

“Well” she said “Maybe it’s time to get to the end of that story.”

So why am I a self promoter today? Because I need help. I’m asking for help. For me.

I’m asking for help because I’m about to lose all my electricity. I’m asking for help in raising money so I can replace the batteries for my solar system. The batteries are old and if I don’t replace them very soon, we will have NO electricity here. I live off the grid and the solar system provides all of the electricity for my home. No electricity means NO WATER because the batteries also run the pump for the well. I live very, very simply but I do not think I can live without water. chloe:redman happy

shiloh-with-roadieI have animals ….they need water. It’s a very frightening feeling if you can imagine.

And why should anyone help me? I don’t know..why does anyone help anyone else? Why are some people so quick to offer help and others prefer to sit in judgement. Do I deserve help, does anyone…does all the help I gave to others qualify me for help? I don’t know.

The story most of it-of how and why I lost everything is on my gofundme page so I’m not going to write anymore about it here. These past 2 years have been incredibly hard. Trying to pay off a lot of debt because I lost my salary and my savings, trying to live on $600 a  month [if you think it’s easy, do an experiment and try it for a couple months], trying to feel happy and to have faith when I feel terrified so much of the time…wondering if I’ll be sued, wondering if I’ll be homeless.

Several friends have helped me as I climb out of this very dark hole…they have made contributions, they have listened when I was at my lowest point..they have not judged me and I am thankful.

I started writing this blog for a few reasons but probably the main one was as a way to share some of what I learned from my close relationship with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, with Native American Elders and other spiritual teachers as well as what I learned from hospice patients, from parents who have lost a child, from living in a multi cultural community.

This blog has been a way of continuing the work I did..in another way. Though I still try to offer emotional support to people in need, I cannot do what I used to do with no money. Our last film, THE LIGHT IN THE SHADOW on the US Prison System will not be finished because our funding was lost but I can continue to share what I’ve learned and I will for as long as I’m here.

I updated my gofundme page yesterday. If you want to help. I need to raise $4000. I don’t know what else to say other than I appreciate..so much..whatever is given and though these last years have been very hard, maybe this was the only way I could learn certain things, things I came to learn.

All Creatures Great and Small

*I write these blog posts from my heart..about my work with the First Nations People, about my teachers such as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, about my time spent with terminally ill patients, about life off the grid in northern New Mexico. Though in some ways, I write for myself, I try always to share information and experiences that may be helpful to others, that are universal.

If you would like to contribute to to the continuation of these posts, there are 3 ways: the donate button on the side of this post, my gofund me page or poohsstore where we offer sacred and visionary art for these times of transition and transcendence

osaselena“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”

― Francis of Assisi

shiloh loves dakota

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
James Herriot/All Creatures Great and Small


apollomagical-mystery-tour“We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.”
― Francis of Assisi

shisakina-enjoying-the-morningI think this is going to be a short post…it’s mainly a wish or actually a plea for contributions to help us feed our animal family.

With 2 exceptions all of our animals are rescues…. puck-leg-upredmanOur horse, Redman we rescued from Texas 3 summers ago when due to extreme drought, there was no grass or haywolfdog-eve-all-32 wolfdogs, Sakina and Apollo we rescued from death row where they were set to be killed  because they had some percentage of wolf and maggiemorning-light-8162 cats, Maggie & Phantomphantom stare as well as 2 kittens, Osa & Selenaselenaosa-2 were rescued from shelters or from owners unable to keep them.

This beautiful video below is the story of our wolfdog,Sakina ..twice rejected, we rescued her this past August. I think this little film portrays on the deepest level..the meaning and the feeling of rescue.

This past year I have learned a lot about generosity and its opposite: Those who give even when they have nothing and those who take even when they have everything.

I have rescued animals and people for quite a while now and for most of that time, I haven’t needed to ask for help… but life changed as it often does.

I have heard the spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle refer to our life/life experience as if it were a tapestry. Woven together in our tapestry are things like our health, our family and friends, relationships, finances etc –   our tapestry seems complete and whole, everything seems to be working and we can relax. Then quite suddenly something happens, something is ripped away leaving a large hole: terminal illness, sudden death of a friend or family member, ending of a relationship, loss of a job… As Eckhart says  “If you’re not being challenged by life right now, just wait a little. It’ll come.”

My story is here  if you are able to contribute and even if you’re not, it’s a good story I think.

I am most concerned about the 2 horses right now.horsessnow-oct-13 Winter is coming and they will need a lot of  hay. An amazing woman who has a wolf rescue center outside of Albuquerque shares freezer-fulls of meat with usdiy-freezer-whole that is donated to her rescue center… so the wolfdogs are pretty well provided for.

*As I try to pay off a lot of debt, I am living on about $600 a month now…it’s very difficult –try it sometime…it’s an experience not to be forgotten  and it’s all explained HERE

For everyone who contributes, there is something in return. I never take without giving back in some way. SEE BELOW. And when you contribute, just indicate under ‘comments’ which of these gifts you want, the size if applicable and your name and address..there is no charge for shipping.

I have also posted below a very short Pay it Forward film . I know that are many people  are depressed, angry and sad following the US election and one way out of this, I think.is what Alice Walker wrote in a recent essay: ” We can awaken completely.The best sign of which will be how we treat every being who crosses our path. For real change is personal.”

For everyone who has contributed, who has encouraged me this past year who has not abandoned me, in the most difficult year I have yet experienced…I thank you with all my heart. Someday you will understand how much your support meant.


For a contribution of $200.00, this St Francis Altar~Custom made, hand-painted, Artist: Jody Armijo- only one available..more altars coming soon..each is unique, one of a kindst-f-altar-evening

For $30-$50 contribution:

A Jonathan Warm Day Coming designed t-shirt [authentic Native American design] sizes large and xl availableland-tshirtwall



or a Jonathan Warm Day Poster signed by the artist-painting by Taos Pueblo Artist, Jonathan Warm Day 11x17vert

For $55-$100