It’s been a rough year, and it’s only May. I won’t go into the gory details of why, except to say that an elderly mother is part of the equation. For those of you caring for an elderly parent, enough said. So I have needed to regroup. Part of what I have done in the last few months was to take a sabbatical from writing anything other than my Morning Pages (from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.) It has been a time of paring down commitments in order to give myself time to recover. One of the great things that has supported me is the Tai Chi class I started going to last October. I love it. It requires total attention to detail so the thinking mind has to go on holiday. It’s also very graceful and flowing, like a slow dance. We do the form, or practice of the 108 moves, in total silence. I find it incredibly peaceful. Mobile phone off, quietness, and moving meditation. It teaches you patience, because you practice and practice and then one day, you find that you know a bit of it, and gradually add a little more to what you know. It can’t be rushed. I know about the first eight moves and the two snake movements, that’s all. I bought a bamboo plant and put it in a pot in the back garden. The bamboo is on one side of me and the shed is on the other in a very small space as I try to practice the little I know out of sight of the neighbours, so that they won’t call for a strait jacket for me. The second string of my regaining my equilibrium has been my daily meditation practice, a godsend in tough times. It’s a lovely rest for the mind and helps me focus on all my blessings, of which there are many. Of course the cats are a great help too. Felicity leaped on a sheet hanging over the stairs last week, and slid down the bannister with claws stuck in the fabric, a look of total shock on her face. It was the funniest thing I have seen all year and gave me a much-needed belly laugh. So I am grateful for all mercies, large and small, and especially the way the Universe responded when I asked for help in regaining my joie de vivre. Try it. Sure what have you got to lose?! 🙂
Yesterday I went to the library and emerged, as usual, with a basket of books and a big smile on my face. I have never lost my enthusiasm for going to the library and to me, it is like an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures and possibilities. Not only do they offer books, but of course there are audio books, CDs, MP3s, and DVDs. It’s like a permanent and ongoing lottery win. I’ve just finished listening to the mellifluous voice of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes telling wonderful archetypal stories on the mythology of the crone, while driving my ancient Nisssan Micra grubby with dog hair and cat fur. Quite subversive, don’t you think?! A couple of years ago the library increased the number of books you are allowed to take out to twelve. Twelve! I was thrilled! My motto is that a book and a cat in each room in the house makes a happy home. Yesterday afternoon I turned the phone off and delved into a selection with large, black, furry Sid on my knee. This afternoon it was Felicity’s turn. Could there be anything better than having a purring cat on your knee in front of the fire as you read a good book? Seriously? And as a writer, I can call it “research!” Way to go. The simple pleasures are always the ones that delight the heart and fill the soul.
Today I got the big cage out of the shed, and have it set up with a litter tray and an electric heat pad. I covered it with a blanket. My four cats were agog. Who is going to be in this cage? Can we help by sitting on top of it? What’s going on? I explained to them that Samson, a terminally ill cat is coming to stay with us for a little while and that everyone should stay calm. He is FIV positive, so he has to stay in the cage until they are all out of the room. It’s only transmitted through biting though and he is a friendly boy so all will be well. Samson is actually in good form, but is painfully thin at 2.4 kgs. He was checked by the vet last week who said that the prognosis is not good. His immune system is shot to bits. Of course, it will all end in tears (mine) but I want to offer him some TLC, healing Reiki and try to build him up a little. The goal is to make him as comfortable as possible because he has had a hard life on the street. If he gets into distress, then we will let him go. He will be in the sitting room, beside the fire, offered little tidbits a few times a day and get plenty of strokes and cuddles. No doubt my furry crew will be trying to eyeball him but it’ll be okay. They are all in marathon snooze mode these short winter days and after five minutes excitement on his arrival tomorrow, they’ll probably yawn and go back asleep. Cats have it all figured out.
Cats are God’s best invention. They are warm, furry and funny. Is there anything better than putting a purring cat to your ear and listening to the sound of happiness? Talk about sound therapy to heal the heart and soul! We can learn a lot from how cats spend their day. Get up and stretch. (Activate muscles and open energy channels.) Big yawn. (Release tension from the jaw.) Go out for a ramble. (Fresh air and exercise.) Come back in and be served food. (Manifestation of good-quality staff.) Go for a power nap. (Don’t overdo it.) Get up and stretch. (Stay flexible.) Nibble on some food. (Eat small and often.) Go out and catch sparrow as gift for Mammy. (Use God-given talents.) Watch Mammy in disbelief as she rejects gift and instead successfully resuscitates sparrow from near-death experience by giving him healing energy. (Educate Mammy in higher healing arts.) Watch Mammy with exasperation as she runs out door with chirping sparrow wrapped in kitchen towel. (Create exercise program for Mammy.) Watch Mammy in puzzlement as she adds revived sparrow to her miracle list. (Create spiritual growth opportunity for Mammy.) Throw back leg over shoulder to clean bum while considering that Mammy needs to get out more. (Attend to physical and mental hygiene.) See what I mean? Cats are God’s best invention.
As I write I’m looking at a seven month old kitten called Daisy May that had her front paw amputated last week. I offered to foster her for a couple of weeks to make sure she didn’t develop a post-op infection. If I could bottle this kitten’s attitude I’d be a millionaire. She is up and about, with no signs of pain or depression; she is eating, drinking and even playing. Her favourite toy is a tuft of discarded fur she found in Sid’s basket. He is a long-haired Norwegian Forest cat, miffed but asleep upstairs on the bed as HIS sitting room has been purloined for this temporary intruder. So for me, playing with Daisy May is a wonderful alternative to “pc Kung Fu” where I wrestle with foolish things like how to get the URL of my new Youtube channel, and the computer freezes before I save work, and the worn cable has to be coaxed to work by moving its position ten times – which leads me to want to do a Miss Piggy-style “Ah yah” and not only chop the laptop in two but also cause myself further grief by throwing it through the window. But I won’t throw it through the window, because that would frighten Daisy May, and nobody is going to stand around my graveside and say, “Hey, didn’t she have a great Youtube channel,” but they might just say that I loved animals and never frightened them on purpose. Like Daisy May and her absent leg, it’s all a question of perspective. But just in case you’re interested, here’s a short trailer of what I intend my Youtube channel to be about.