There’s nothing here that hasn’t been said or thought of before, but I recently had a reminder of how precious, and short, life can be. A friend and fellow cat blogger lost her young and seemingly healthy cat quite suddenly. I’ve been through this myself and it’s mind blowing. The grief and chaos I went through when I had no time to say goodbye to my loved cat — I’ll never forget it. (I’ve not been through this with a human, though I have witnessed and taken part in the passing of loved human friends and family.)
These things make me stand up and take notice.
In my daily life, how much do I take for granted?
When I’m stroking my cat, am I really “there” or is my mind racing on to twenty other things? (Is the mind even capable of that, or do we just drive ourselves crazy trying?)
Do I look into my cats’ eyes, tell them I love them, and mean it? (Do I take the time to do this with any l0ved one in my life?) Am I completely there, in that moment, when I do this?
If I’m in conversation with someone, am I really listening, without agenda or attachment, or is my mind racing about, thinking about what I’m going to say next? (It’s all about me!)
If I’m drinking water, or lemon water, or whatever, am I IN THAT MOMENT, enjoying the taste of the water, the feel of it on my tongue and the sensation of it sliding down my throat — or am I racing through the never-ending-to-do-list in my brain?
Even if I only have a moment (or only think I have a moment — I probably have more than I realize), can I stroke Zorro and be completely, mindfully there? Can I admire his fat and fluffy paws, tell him how beautiful his eyes are, laugh with him as he flops on his back? Can I be there, in that moment?
Can I tell Rama I love him, and mean it, and be there with those words, as I speak them aloud? Words are power, with the correct and good intention behind them. Can I stroke Rama’s beautiful shiny black fur with a hint of red in it, and remember what a miracle it is that he is still around? (He’s had recurring sarcomas forever.)
Hey, I think life is some kind of practice session for being good. That’s about the extent of my spirituality, if you want to call it that. It’s a gift and we really only have NOW. So I am going to try and keep being present in NOW. Believe me, it’s an ongoing practice, just like meditation.
I remember, at one point, writing an article for Dogster.com about my senior dog Corona. Believe me, she had MUCH to teach me about living in the moment. We were providing hospice for her during the last two months of her life. There were some amazing moments during that time; one in particular when she bounded out the door with joy on her face, to greet me. It was a complete surprise, given her failing mobility. A wise commenter from the Catster/Dogster community pointed out that we only have now. I could worry about Corona and what tomorrow might bring; I could think about how she used to be; or I could treasure that amazing moment in the now.
So, I do my best to keep reminding myself of that, and practicing staying in the now. Meditation helps. Yoga helps. Walking in nature helps. And my cats help, too.
p.s. — Chester just bounded up onto the desk, almost landing on the keyboard. Rather than thoughtlessly trying to push him aside, I mindfully petted him and admired the silky texture of his orange fur. He’s my manager boy, after all, and he loves to know what is going on.
Catherine Holm is the author of fiction and memoir books about place, cats, transformation, and mindful living. She’s also a regular writer at Catster.com You can see her books on her website or on her amazon page.