Happy, Healthy, Peaceful, Awesome, Smiling New Year to All Kindred Spirits

 

T

Happy Dog

Happy Cat

Happy Cat

Happy Dolphin

Happy Elephant

Best wishes for a healthy, happy, peaceful, enlightening and awesome New Year to all my Kindred Spirits! May your New Year be blessed with inner and outer smiles and may you be able to share that joy with all beings!  By sharing our inner and outer smile and  joy with all beings we are actually part of the change, creating a healthier, happier world!  When we smile, it actually causes positive changes in our neurophysiology thereby creating more happiness for us and then for others.

I hope you have enjoyed the first year of the Kindred Spirits Project blog and that it brought joy into your life.  This has been just the beginning of helping to transform society  into a healthier, happier, more compassionate global community.  Thank you for your support, feedback and insights in 2011 and for 2012.   Let us all work and play together creating the loving, compassionate global multi-species, trans-species family that we inherently know that this world can be.

Blessings to you all! Chat in the New Year! Share and spread the cosmic Smile that transcends all beings!

 

P.S.  If any of these  photo’s require acknowledgement or credit to a particular person, company or whomever, please let me know and I will be glad to credit you or remove this beautiful sharing if desired.  Much gratitude to you, whomever,  for creating such  heartfelt photographs that brings joy to so many!


Celebrating the New Year With All Families, Inner and Outer

Celebration by Tom DuBois

Celebration by Tom DuBois

Celebrating and bringing in the New Year with beloved family members can nourish old bonds, heal old wounds, create new experiences and allow for support for future endeavors. Hearing, seeing and watching so many family members flying all over to connect with others families stimulated thoughts in my mind about the families closer to us as well as deeper concepts of family.  Hearing of different perspectives on the holidays, gift-giving and receiving and the “mind traffic” that can occur based on different belief systems and philosophies about this holiday season helped me appreciate all the different mind universes that live together on this planet.   Recently, I shared in a previous post about inter-species families with gorilla’s as well as all the varied species that share my sanctuary with me.

Today I came across a beautiful commentary that spoke to me regarding all these  varied observations and interactions of what family means.  This commentary is from one of my favorite books, “Glimpse After Glimpse, Daily Reflections on Living and Dying” (Harper SanFrancisco, 1995) by Sogyal Rinpoche, the author of the renowned book “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”.  Sogyal writes:

“Just as the ocean has waves, and the sun has rays, so the mind’s own radiance is its thoughts and emotions.  The ocean has waves, yet the ocean is not particularly disturbed by them.  The waves are the very nature of the ocean.  Waves will rise, but where do they go? Back into the ocean.  And where do the waves come from?  The ocean.

In the same manner, thoughts and emotions are the radiance and expression of the very nature of the mind.  They rise from the mind, but where do they dissolve? Back into the mind. Whatever rises, do not see it as a particular problem.  If you do not impulsively react, if you are only patient, it will once again settle into its essential nature.

When you  have this understanding, then rising thoughts only enhance your practice. But when you do not understand what they intrinsically are…the radiance of the nature of your mind….then your thoughts become the seed of confusion. So have a spacious, open, and compassionate attitude toward your thoughts and emotions, because in fact, your thoughts are your family, the family of your mind. Before them, as Dudjom Rinpoche used to say: “Be like an old wise man, watching a child play.””

Upon reading this commentary this morning, I had a totally expanded concept of family, from our inner family to our outer family of all beings on mother earth and beyond.  The inner family of our thoughts and emotions are an integral  foundation for how we relate to ourselves and all other beings.  Our thoughts and emotions which radiate naturally from us allow us to perceive and experience family in so many varied ways.  Once we recognize that, we have the opportunity to embrace a more loving compassionate  perspective on all our families, inner and outer, from our thoughts to a bloodline family to friends and to all beings that we share mother earth with.  Once we appreciate all these levels of family, we can create a more harmonious, compassionate world, again, both inner and outer. Thereby, we can have a huge impact on the health and happiness of the planet through the impact that these compassionate action steps, of cultivating our loving thoughts and emotions, can have on the conscious and emotional commons and on global coherence.  Through our positive thoughts and emotions we are making a difference in the world, thought by thought, moment by moment.  These positive thoughts and emotions can be greater gifts to our families than any material gifts.  There is great truth in the saying that the greatest gift one can offer is  being”presence” for the other being, rather than physical “presents”.

One of my many wishes for all  kindred spirits for the New Year is that may we all be blessed with a loving, peaceful, healthy, awakening, fun family of inner thoughts and emotions and may they all be blessings to all other outer family members that truly transcend all labels!


Kindred Spirits Wishes for a Joyous Completion of 2011

My sister sent me this email that appears to be passing around the internet. It seems quite appropriate for this blog at this time.  Pictures and captions regarding the human animal bond and inter-species connections always stimulate a smile.  The joyous smile then subsequently creates a change in our neurotransmitters and neurohormones and thereby positive shifts in our behaviors and actions that fill us and thereby others with joy.  May these photographs bring joy to your hearts and your families as the dynamic year of 2011 comes to a conclusion.
Blessings for a joyous New Year and may all your positive intentions manifest in ways beyond your wildest imagination and may they all be of benefit to all beings!

 


Here is my last month of 2011 wishes for YOU.
May you ALWAYS make the right move
cid:1.3093232749@web83604.mail.sp1.yahoo.com
May your cup runneth over with love
cid:2.3093232750@web83604.mail.sp1.yahoo.com
MAY YOU ALWAYS FIND SHELTER FROM ANY STORM
cid:3.3093232750@web83604.mail.sp1.yahoo.com
May you remain good looking and looking good.
cid:4.3093232750@web83604.mail.sp1.yahoo.com
May you find the perfect diet for your body and your soul.
cid:5.3093232750@web83604.mail.sp1.yahoo.com
May you find perfect balance in the company you keep.
cid:6.3093232750@web83604.mail.sp1.yahoo.com
May you have as much fun as you can before someone makes you stop.
cid:7.3093232750@web83604.mail.sp1.yahoocom
May the worst thing that happens to you come in slobbery pink and furry TAN.
cid:8.3093232750@web83604.mail.sp1.yahoocom
May  you  manage  to  MAKE  time  for  Time Out!
cid:93093232750@web83604.mail.sp1.yahoo.com 

May all the new folks you meet be interesting and kind.

cid:10.3093232750@web83604.mail.sp1.yahoo.com

May you always know when to walk away… and when to RUN!

cid:image013.jpg@01CA8877.8F1B0980
AND MAY YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY ALWAYS BRING YOU JOY
cid:14.3093232750@web83604.mail.sp1.yahoo.com
May the last bit of 2011
be your BEST month EVER!!!
May this time only hold good health, success, growth, wealth and happiness for u and your loved ones!
May God bless you and your loved ones every day!!

P.S.  If this photographic composite requires acknowledgement or credit to a particular person, company or whomever, please let me know and I will be glad to credit you or remove this beautiful sharing if desired.  Much gratitude to you, whomever,  for creating such a heartfelt composite that brings joy to so many!


Celebrate the Holidays with All Beings: A Special Gorilla Connection

gorilla connectionGorilla Connection

After a few week hiatus from writing about  insights on the kindred spirits project blog due to a “time-challenged”  schedule of seeing my horse, dog and cat patients,  there are so many exciting and interesting perspectives I would like to share with all of you.  I would like to begin this renewed sharing with a video that brought such joy to my heart. It feels especially appropriate for this holiday season, illustrating the connection between all beings that transcends words.

This video of  a  Gorilla Connection, where an ecotourist  visiting them in their endangered sanctuary in Uganda demonstrates to me how if we all can shift our hearts and minds to be in an inner place of love wherever possible, what miracles can occur.  They have chosen to introduce a complete stranger to their intimate family of parents and children.  Wherever I go, I find that if we come from a place of inner peace and quiet, without fear, animals of all species gradually warm up to us and treat us as one with them.  I am blessed to share my small sanctuary with two family of deer who give birth, one to one fawn and one to twins every year underneath my deck.  A pair of Anna’s hummingbirds stay all winter around my cabin sitting in the dead arbutus tree branches or on top of the douglas firs and sip the nectar from the yellow oregon grape flowers.  Eagles, otters, seals, herons, flickers, junko’s, chicadee’s, quail, raccoon, and many other families reside on, above, below or around my sanctuary.  As we all get to know each other throughout the various seasons, we come to accept all living together comfortably without fear.  As I fill the bird feeder, the birds are all inches away on the branches chirping to me as if to say “thank you and hurry up please”.  When I sit in a chair outside, the hummingbirds will come fly right in front of my face and look at me eye to eye.  We can truly live in a garden of eden if we choose to.  It is simply a choice to create a sanctuary around us and within us that nurtures a compassionate life with all beings, beyond all labels and species.

In this time of celebration of the winter solstice,  Christmas, Chanukah, the shifting of seasons, let us celebrate not only with our immediate family, but with the larger family of all beings, two-legged, four-legged and winged.  Let us expand our compassion web to integrate a fun, loving relationship and rejoice in a much more expansive view of family!  Yes, we are all family, in one small neighborhood, mother earth!

Wishing you all a joyous, healthy, peaceful, prosperous, fun, enlightening and awesome holiday season and New Year!

Blessings from your kindred spirit,

Allen M. Schoen, MS, DVM


Keep A Child Alive: A Compassionate World

As the world turns, pain and suffering is evident daily.  In honor of World AIDS Day and the noble and achievable goal of eliminating AIDS within this generation, Showtime premiered “Keep a Child Alive with Alicia Keys”.  It is a heart wrenching documentary providing a closeup view of how people are surviving through this pandemic.  Alicia Keys, a  grammy award winning music superstar and AIDS activist guides us through some of her ground level support activities in South Africa with her organization, Keep A Child Alive.   I was  honored to be invited to a special movie premiere of this riveting documentary at the Tribeca Grand Hotel on November 29.  This event was reviewed in the news the following day.  Bono also appeared that evening in support of Alicia Keys.

Alicia Keys and Dr. Schoen

Alicia Keys and Dr. Schoen

I was so touched by the courage of so many in the film. After watching the movie,  I had the opportunity to briefly share my thoughts and ideas about  the possibility of integrating the health benefits of the human animal bond into some of her projects.  I felt that amidst all the pain and sorrow, perhaps sharing their lives with animal companionship could provide some healing from the emotional pain in the hearts of so many orphans from this pandemic.  It might provide them with the unconditional love that our kindred spirits can provide.  It might also offer them loving companionship and supportive hugs that they might not receive otherwise.

In keeping with the theme of the kindred spirits project goal of creating a more compassionate world, Alicia Keys and Bono are surely doing far more than their share of compassionate care for so many in Africa and India.  I believe that as more orphanages, humane shelters and refuges for all beings integrate the health benefits of the human animal bond, there is the opportunity for even deeper healing of the emotional and psychological wounds that so many suffer from.  As the cycle of giving and receiving with our animal companions heals so many wounds, it also increases the awareness of compassion for all beings and how that can make this world a bit brighter, happier and healthier, being by being.  Kudos to Alicia Keys and Bono!

 

http://news.yahoo.com/bono-alicia-keys-lioness-energy-034506568.html


Vitamins, Minerals, Antioxidants and More: How Do I Choose?

One of the most frequent questions I hear in my small animal integrative medicine practice is “Which supplements should I give my animal friends?”  There are so many pet foods, supplements etc. on the market it can be quite challenging for the nutritionally aware animal caretaker to know which ones they need and which ones to choose.  As the pet nutraceutical, supplement and food industry continues to boom, more and more companies are producing supplements and foods of questionable quality.  It is challenging even for veterinarians keep abreast of all the different companies and to know which ones are best.  Being a pioneer in this field for over thirty years, I have seen many supplements come and go.  It is not uncommon for a client to bring in a basket full of supplements that they have purchased either from other veterinarians, the internet or a pet food store.  They would pour them out on my exam table and ask me to review them for me.  Sometimes they will have even forgotten why they purchased them.  Sometimes they were out of date.  Sometimes they would not even list the ingredients!  As much as I love the natural health movement, I must admit, I have become somewhat disillusioned over the years as to how it has been usurped by profiteers, scam marketers, questionable companies and all the challenges of the marketplace. Amidst the onslaught of new companies and products, in order to assist my readers and clients,  I am in the midst of reviewing the latest products available.  Fortunately there are some out there that are of superior quality.  I will review these with you over the next few months.

A few general comments are in order now though.  The classic statement, “buyer beware” is appropriate for the field of pet foods and supplements as well.  If a product just makes claims on the labels and does not even list the ingredients, consider that one to go into the proverbial trash basket.  Know your manufacturer.  Quality is essential. It is not uncommon for a product to simply be labeled natural, healthy, or with a common title such as probiotic or arthritis supplement and have poor quality ingredients in them that somehow vaguely fit under those labels.   It is sad to say that even some veterinarians who have not received any additional training in nutritional supplements are not aware of all the challenges in choosing appropriate ones.  I must humbly admit that before I became more educated, I fell into that category as well.  It is beneficial for animal lovers to become more educated as to the quality of the products they feed their animal friends.  It is funny to hear sometimes when clients will begin to read labels for their animals supplements, they chuckle and often say “wow, I did not even know what to look for for my own supplements”.   It is a continual learning process.  I too continue to learn as I discuss supplements with colleagues, human nutritional supplement experts and review the cutting edge articles on nutrition.  We are living in a more and more polluted, toxic world and good nutrition and supplements are becoming more essential to maintain our health and prevent disease.  As Hippocrates said “Let your food be your medicine”.  I may spend more on quality organic supplements and some may question that benefit, but I believe judicious awareness and choice of appropriate quality natural nutrition and supplements is some of the best preventive medicine available.  It is so much wiser than treating disease.  The old cliche “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is more true today than ever before.

The entire field of nutrigenomics is becoming more widespread in veterinary health care as well as human health care.  Essentially, this is evaluating and recommending nutrition based on one’s genetic predispositions.  For instance, if you have a breed of dog that is prone to arthritis, it may not be unreasonable for you to begin nutritional preventive supplements earlier in their life, hopefully to prevent future progression of degenerative joint disease.  This is just one simple example.

Over the next few months I will share my thoughts on specific approaches to integrative health care and which supplements I find to be beneficial. In the meantime, do your homework, and do the best you can to keep your animal friends and you as healthy and happy as possible!


Gratitude for All Kindred Spirits!

Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. is always an excellent reminder for all we are blessed with.  I find myself today so grateful for all my kindred spirits that I share this adventurous journey of life with including family, friends and all our animal companions that we share life with.  I find myself grateful to all the wildlife families that we share our lives with as well.  There seems to be this respectful flow of animals that share all the dropped sunflower seeds from my birdfeeder.  They seem to show up at certain times during the day and during the week. Joy fills my heart as I see my chickadee family chirp with glee as I fill the feeder and they huddle inches away on the branches waiting till I complete the task. The nuthatches sing their songs, the junko’s and all the other songbirds patiently await their treats.  Then the quail family shows up to eat whatever has fallen to the ground, the deer that are born underneath my deck then meander through, one generation after the other.  In the evening the raccoons explore to see if there is anything left.  The hummingbirds search the flowers for their delicious nectar.  Yes, I am grateful for all the families that I share my life with, two-legged, four-legged and winged.  In the midst of all the global challenges, I am thankful that I am able to share my life with all these beautiful beings.

I would like to share with you today one of my favorite blogs, tinybuddha.com, .  Lori Deschene, alias, Tiny Buddha has quite the following for a young seeker and has just written a wonderful book based on her blog.  I have been meaning to share her wise blog with my readers as I think many of you will be able to relate to many of the insights she shares.  So, as a gift of gratitude to all my readers, I offer you her Thanksgiving blog on 50 ways to show your gratitude to all beings.  I just simply add showing gratitude to all our animal friends as well.  What ways do you show gratitude to your animal friends?

Wishing you all a Joyous Thanksgiving!

Blessings from a kindred spirit,

Allen Schoen, DVM


Duality vs. Oneness With All Beings

Heart Connections

Occupy Love

 

I came across this video, Occupy Love, occupylove.org  that has assisted me in appreciating a much more expansive view of all the unfolding events around the occupy movement.  This is not meant to be a political blog or anything of the sort.   The video actually addresses one of the goals of this blogsite,  “How to create a more compassionate, heart based society”.   I have heard many of the polarized perspectives on what is happening and found myself asking questions such as “what is the bigger picture?” and what really are the “best questions” to be explored if we are searching to create a more compassionate society for the benefit of all beings.

I personally do not believe that polarization of “us vs. them” in any shape or form is not necessarily beneficial for anyone.  It is a form of duality that pits one against another, stating one side wins the other side loses.  Perhaps my idealistic naive side of myself is showing up too much today, yet it seems that we can truly make situations a win/win for all parties involved, if that is indeed the primary intention.  What might be beneficial to accomplish this though, is to see if we are indeed asking the right questions.  The concept of “occupy love”  is a much more inclusive, positive perspective that encompasses all beings, including all our animal friends.  If we “occupy love” or “be love”, we come from a different part of our brain.  We actually stimulate the release of different neurotransmitters and neurohormones.  We feel different, see differently, think differently and thereby wire our brains differently.  We actually see with new eyes so to speak.  We actually give our brains and our hearts a “love” tune-up so to speak.  This is also what happens when we share our lives with our animal companions. It is like a virtual “love” tune-up to our hearts and minds.

So dear kindred spirits, I share this brief youtube video in hopes of stimulating positive neurotransmitters and neurohormones and offering you a day filled with more loving, compassionate thoughts and feelings for all beings.  Perhaps we can go forth in our day with more compassion for others who we may not necessarily see eye to eye with, but respect them realizing we are all looking for the same thing, to be loved.  What does it feel like inside you to “occupy love”?

 


Lyme Disease in Horses and Dogs: Part 1

Tick

Tick

It seems like the incidence of Lyme Disease (Borrelliosis) (LD) and other tick born infections continues to rise and are flourishing this autumn.  I hear from clients about how their horses, dogs as well as themselves are just getting covered in ticks more than ever this season.  Tick born diseases have been increasing in the northeast and throughout North America for more than two decades.  In 1992, I published on one hundred horses that I diagnosed with Equine Lyme Disease based on my acupuncture physical evaluation.  I correlated my clinical findings with the horses laboratory diagnostic tests, response to antibiotic treatment as well as their behavioral history.  It seemed that  there was about  an 82% correlation of my physical examination with response to antibiotics and the laboratory tests.  I have diagnosed hundreds of horses and dogs with Lyme disease since then in the past two decades.  If left untreated it can cause severe debilitating disease and even death.  If not treated appropriately and quickly, it is not uncommon to see it reoccur and become a chronic disease with potentially devastating consequences.

Lyme Disease can be ubiquitous and quite challenging to diagnose.  It has commonly been termed “the great imitator” since it can mimic so many other common conditions.  Whenever I lecture on LD, I state that it is both overdiagnosed and underdiagnosed.  In  the past, it had only been considered part of a differential diagnosis if classic signs such as an acute onset of swollen joints and a fever were evident.  Clinically, I have found that it is not uncommon that the first signs may actually manifest as various sudden behavioral aberrations due to an immune mediated myofascial inflammatory reaction to the spirochaete.  In horses,  some of the first signs that my clients and I notice are a sudden reticence to being touched, groomed, being saddled up or ridden.  The horses may occasionally become aggressive to people when being touched or handled in anyway.     At this point, results from diagnostic blood tests may be negative since it is too early to develop a blood titer.  Unfortunately, too many veterinarians still base their diagnosis solely on the blood tests (Elisa and Western Blot blood tests) despite the reminders by the laboratories that they are not definitively diagnostic.  There is rarely one specific sign that is definitely diagnostic for just Lyme disease.  I use a checklist of criteria to decide if I think Lyme disease may be the cause of the animals signs. (more…)


Horse Bulldog Connection Transcends Us vs. Them

Horse and Bulldog

In the midst of all the challenges facing the world these days, animals continue to be excellent models for us on how we can transcend the “us vs. them” mentality.  In this smile stimulating video on huffpost,  the police horse and the bulldog are connecting at a deeper level.  Perhaps if humans consciously chose to be less adversarial and realize we are all in this together, then we  could choose to see what we share in common and how through this commonality, we can come to terms of agreement based on what is best for all beings.  I know this sounds quite simplistic, but sometimes, if do not ask the correct basic questions, we will never come up with the best answers.  Can we choose to be like this horse and dog and from that common ground, work on developing a society that really focuses on what is best for all beings involved?