New Year’s Wisdom

photo_2I’m running a little behind this year in setting my goals and intentions and doing some creative planning for 2015. Here we are, more than two thirds of the way through January and I still haven’t finished my “resolutions” yet.   (On the plus side, that means I haven’t broken any yet either.) Somehow I get the feeling that I’m not alone, which is why I’m sharing this here.

So, naturally (being me), I decided to ask the cat. Rune can generally be trusted to offer a different perspective, help me see the important thing I’m missing. Her wisdom is so very grounded, common sense, and matter of fact.

When I asked her if there are things she wanted for us or for herself in this new cycle of our life together that has just begun, she was puzzled. “You mean this morning, when you got out of bed?”

Well no, not exactly, although I could certainly see how she would think that.  Just as Luna is my “nighty-night” kitty who says good night, blesses our bed space, and makes bedtimes special, Rune is the early riser who comes running in the morning when I finally drag myself to an upright position. She jumps on the bed, purring at full volume, greeting me and the start of a new day together.

Bigger than that. I tried to explain, imaging the larger cycles of season to season, dark-time to light-time. She was supremely indifferent. “But the sun rises every day. Why not just start there?”

I got her point. No matter how big the cycle you look at, you still have to live each and every day as it comes.  That means each and every day, is a chance to start fresh, to begin anew. Sure, we’ve all heard that before.  Maybe it takes a cat’s nonchalant, casual acceptance to bring it home. There’s a quality of presence called for in that outlook that’s hard to deny. It calls for one to focus more on living each moment fully, even as we include in those moments our goals, intentions and plans for the future. We can celebrate even the largest of life’s cycles by honoring where we are right in this moment.  It is, after all, the culmination of all that has gone before and the jumping off point for all that is to come.

But there’s the matter of dreams. Dreams are something that cats know a great deal about.  It seems likely that I will be posting much more about that in the weeks and months to come.  Cats sleep, after all, 18 to 20 hours a day, spending much of that time immersed in an energy world that most humans can only dimly comprehend.  Even with all the glimpses I’ve received over the years, I didn’t think it through when I asked “What about your dreams?”

This question was met by blank incomprehension as I realized I’d made the mistake of confusing the human notion of dreams as something desired but not yet manifest in the world with a cat’s experience.

“Yes,” she responded.  “I’m enjoying my dreams today.”  In that non-verbal way that the essence of thought is transmitted from one being to another, I understood that Rune’s dreams are as much a treasured part of her experience as her meals, her playtime, the warm sun on her fur, or her interactions with me. Our distinction between “dream” and “reality” has no meaning to her.  It is all simply and equally part of that thing we call Life.

There’s such a richness of learning for me in this brief exchange with my wise cat.  As of this moment, my “plan” for 2015 is to make a new beginning each day, honoring all my experiences, including my dreams and desires – both those which are already manifest, and those still in the process of becoming — as that which adds spice and savor to the process of life.

If that should prove tricky, I will remember to ask the cat.

Glimmers of Light: A Cat’s Thanksgiving List

LunalightI thought, it being Thanksgiving week, that I would ask my cat Luna about her gratitude list. Abstract concepts like gratitude can be difficult to convey to animals, so I started by asking what she likes most about her life.

Luna is a slightly skittish cat, leery of loud noises and unexpected activity.  She is also extremely sweet-natured and at the same time is very vocal and expressive. She loves to talk and is never shy of voicing her opinions about anything. She’s also a big purr-bunny, with a purr for every occasion. Cats, like most non-human animals, tend to be very much in the present moment so her immediate response to my question was that she likes the warm, soft spot she’s found on the bed to nap and the fact that it’s quiet this morning.

Wanting a little more from her, I thought about all her many different purrs. There is the one that she uses to soothe herself or me, when either of us is in need of comfort.  There’s the complex purr she uses when she wants to encourage me to do something, like rub her tummy or adjust my position to make her more comfortable. There’s her warm, sleepy purr, and then there’s the purr that expresses pure contentment. That was the feeling I offered to her when I asked what makes you purr the most?

Here is her list:

“Snuggling with you in the bed at night, when you pet me and talk softly and listen to my purrs and feel what I feel so that it is like we purr together;
waking up from a nap and finding you here and food in my dish;
mornings when it is quiet and peaceful and there is sun to warm me;
being the first to claim the big cozy chair [papasan] and having it all to myself for as long as I want;
when I sit on you in your chair and you comb me and talk to me.”

At this point, it seemed like Luna was getting into the spirit of the discussion I had intended, so I asked if there were other things that made her happy even if she didn’t purr. She offered these:

“The way my new toy sounds [crackly] and smells [of catnip];
seeing the birds perch outside the window makes me feel excited and happy;
when I hear that music that I like [Luna is a U2 fan, and also loves the meditation music I play].”

Thinking it might be a little off topic, but wanting to continue while we had the conversation going, I asked her how she felt about what I sometimes perceive as the relative sameness of her days. To my surprise — and bringing us right back on topic after all — she gave me a happy purr. Her routine makes her feel safe and comfortable. She appreciates and relies on it.

So, for Thanksgiving, my light-bringer, Luna, offers food for thought about the little things that we can all be grateful for in every moment. Appreciation and gratitude is where Luna resides. What might your beloved animal companion be grateful for right now?

With our warmest wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving and for the giving of thanks and happy purrs for families and beings of all species.

Words of Wisdom: From a Cat to Readers in Cyberland

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Rune, a.k.a. Her Majesty Queen Rune Elizabeth I, was originally named for her mystical markings. She is a wise soul, a big spirit in a small feline body.  As you can probably tell from her title, she has a decidedly regal air about her.  Like many wise elders who don’t suffer fools, she can also have a bit of an “edge.”

She loves it when I “listen” to her.  I know I don’t do that as often as she would like, and I’m not sure I could ever do it often enough to please her. So, naturally, I thought she’d be happy when I asked her if she had any wisdom she’d like to share with people on the Internet. I figured she’d jump at the chance.

What I neglected to calculate was having to explain about the Internet.  Don’t cats know all about it by now? After all they’re all over it everywhere.  I mean, don’t cats pretty much rule the internet?  What a shock that a flesh and blood cat wouldn’t immediately understand the question. By way of explanation, I started sending her images of people looking at their computer screens and seeing her.

Immediately I started receiving images back.  The first was of Rune politely putting out a paw to tap my keyboard, then of her walking across the keyboard in front of the monitor, followed by an image of her trying to get in my lap and finding the computer in the way. Is this sounding familiar to anyone?  Feelings of increasing annoyance and frustration accompanied these images.  The final picture she showed me is one that most cat lovers will be very familiar with. I call it “the back.” It’s one of the strongest expressions of complete feline disapproval.

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I don’t think she could possibly have been more clear.  In short, the message my wise cat sends to humans in cyberspace is: “Turn off your computers and pay attention to your cat.”