Last weekend, I was babysitting some kitties, feeding them, conversing with them and cleaning up the kitty litter. I love doing it because I bring work and they come and walk on my computer when they want my attention. They are soft and cuddly when they choose to grace me with their presence.
I have long, ruminative conversations with them and clarify issues which have been puzzling me. Does anyone else do this, talk to animals? Out of my head, the words sort themselves out and my concerns seem less dire when they are spoken aloud. For the same reason, I have been writing almost every day and I can see threads and themes once they are down on paper that I am blinded to when they are in my head.
I was also struck by how fully cats relax. When they are resting, a cat looks completely boneless. I lay down to rest and launch into worries or self-critical thoughts. Or I sometimes catalogue where my body hurts, my back or shoulders or feet or neck. It does not look like cats do this although I could be wrong.
My two lessons from observing cats at rest:
1) Writing rights me. If you like to write too, try it. Other activities can also right us, like painting, singing, dancing. What’s yours?
2) I have begun to model my behavior after cats although I can’t seem to match their relaxation because of the thinking. When I settle down and feel aches and pains in my body, I have started to, one-by-one, breathe into and relax each spot. The thoughts do what they will but, as I become present in my body, they act more like clouds than clamps. It works.
Years ago, in 1982, I did something called the est training and we learned an exercise to make a pain or headache disappear. A bunch of ifs to the process like if you are willing to get rid of it, if you will play along with the process, if you are open to suspending your disbelief. One person asks another a series of questions about the pain, what shape is it now, what color is it now, what size is it now, how much water does it hold now, a bunch of them.
And it worked PROVIDED the person answered in the present. For example, “my headache is the size of a grapefruit.” It did NOT work if they said, “My headache is still the size of a grapefruit.” For some reason, which I don’t fully understand, attaching past experience to present experience anchored the pain in the body. Curious, right?
That is all. Last night, I went out for drinks with a friend and had a tad to much grappa. Fun, but now I’m weary and must rest. LOL
And cats know how good it feels to really stretch… from nose to toes! 🙂 Great post!
Yes, they do, Janice! Thank you.