By Adele Alfano

I love animals! If I had a choice, I would have a house full of little furry critters wandering around. But due to a hectic speaking schedule and traveling, it would not be fair. As well, our family cat Rusty, whom we loved for 19 year’s died of kidney failure a couple of years ago. As any pet-owner would attest…it is devastating to loose a pet that is part of a family for this long. I also know the benefits of having a pet: it reduces your stress level, blood pressure and especially they provide you with unconditional love. Win-win situation for everyone!

So, a few months ago, I decided that I needed to get a small pet that required little maintenance and that would benefit from all my caring and love. I felt it was time. So, MacKenzie (aptly named by my 4 year old God-daughter in a pet store) is the newest member of our family. He is an absolute joy with a spunky and sparkling personality. He is quite playful and animated. As you may or may not know, hamsters are nocturnal animals. They sleep during the day and come to life at night. Especially running on their hamster wheel all night long! As a light sleeper, I had a difficult time getting used to this!

Never being a hamster owner, I was curious and intrigued by this behavior of running around in circles.. Hours spent expending his boundless energy on his wheel. Round and round with no particular destination. One evening, Mac-a-doodles (one of many nick-names he has been given) was on fire!  He spent close to one hour vigorously going around his hamster wheel. Getting off the wheel he went to get some water. With his two front paws in his water bowl (I think I saw steam coming out from them), he placed his chin on the edge and he fell asleep due to exhaustion. And that is where he was parked for the next hour!

Have you ever felt that you have been caught on the hamster wheel? Spinning your wheel, going round and round, with no end in sight and absolutely exhausted. Are your thoughts, emotions or feelings causing you to spin your wheels?  I am sure in the animal world a hamster’s brain is not as evolved as a human. But, I noticed that he did learn from that lesson. He never repeated it again and has changed his behavior. He has stopped and shifted his behavior.

I have noticed now, when he vigorously runs on his wheel that he simply stops and diverts his attention to a bathroom break, washes himself, takes a short nap, plays with his toy or chews on a little morsel of food. It seems that this short break and diversion revitalizes him. Being aware or conscious of our behaviors, attitudes or even our stress-levels can be quite liberating. Staying on our personal hamster wheel is being inactive and disconnected in our lives. Getting off our hamster wheel is when we take control and become a living and an active participant in our personal life journey. Living life to the fullest, stepping back, taking a break and shifting our perspective!

Imagine learning lessons from a 30-ounce little animal that has a life-span of only two years?! Go figure!

About the author: NOMINATED FOR CANADA’S 100 MOST POWERFUL WOMEN Canada’s Diamond Coach Adele Alfano is “The Speaker with a Spark”
She is an Inspirational Keynoter, Seminar Leader and Best-Selling Publisher and Author Learn more about her at: