“Way down deep, we’re all motivated by the same urges.
A growing sense of urgency gnaws at me while the chatter in my mind clamors to be heard.
I sit at my desk and stare down at the growing to do list on my note pad. It's a recurring pattern over the last couple of months; the fast pace of everything, work that keeps building up with seemingly no end in sight. Even with a detailed list of everything I need to get done and where to place my focus, it can feel overwhelming. Sometimes it's easy to sacrifice self-care just to get a few more things off the list.
I get caught up in the fast pace of things, and fall out of flow.
This constant noise in my head used to be a daily part of my life and kept me in a constant pattern of stuckness, until in a moment of terrifying courage last year, I hired a creative empowerment coach who helped me to move forward and build so much confidence in myself. (A huge shout out to Nikol Rogers of ZenRedNYC. THANK YOU!)
Now, as I sit at my desk with the overwhelm setting in, I realize my old patterns of brain noise and inner critic are rising to the surface. I become aware of the tension I’m holding in my body. Sometimes a start is merely bringing your attention and awareness to the fact that there is a problem. I ponder this as a furry, ginger blur flies out of nowhere, lands in my lap, and gives me a loving headbutt. His tail wraps around my neck and he purrs contentedly as he jumps from my lap onto the table and drapes himself on my notebook. He glares at me with piercing yellow eyes. As he meows and rubs his head on my hand, he forces me to drop my pen and pay attention to him.
'CAT MAGIC' ~ "One maybe forgiven when they mistakenly believe at times that their cat is simply staring off into the distance, seeing things we do not. In actual fact only half of this belief touches on truth - our cats are Zen Masters, and at these times in deep meditation with the flow of the Universe; helping to balance and harmonise these unseen energies, and communicate with the higher realms.."
Odysseus by nature is not a cuddly cat, however he does have moments.
When these moment come along, I have to seize them right then and there; no ‘’in a minute,” or “wait a second,” or even “hang on, just let me write this email!” If my mind wanders when I’m cuddling him, he can sense it and he’s not shy about biting! In this way, he reminds me to be present, to embody more of his Zen like qualities in my daily life.
Not all cats are perfect Zen Masters. Just like us, they have are here to learn and sometimes have lot going on. We live in a very noisy world, be it physical or mental noise. But, cats know how to observe silence and regularly take time for themselves. I suspect that they are masters of Meditation. Odysseus regularly joins me in my meditation sessions.
Although cats are capricious, they don't really need us. That they decide to stay and ‘help’ their humans is a gift. In keeping with this idea, cats have their own pace; you can’t rush your feline friend as life is on their terms. They remind us that we must practice our own self-care if we are to thrive and give back to others. For all our feline’s detached love and sometimes plain selfishness, how often when you feel the dread from deadlines and overwhelm creeping in, does your cat appear and sit on your work or keyboard to remind you to take a few minutes to come back to the present and just ‘be’? You might remove the cat, but very often they will keep coming back until you listen!
Most importantly, cats know how to protect their energy, so they can focus on the things that are important to them. I have seen Odysseus sit for hours in intense concentration, focusing on a single spot until his prey appears. How many of us can keep that sort of focus before getting distracted?
So as I sit at my desk stroking Odysseus’ head and listening to his’ contented purr, I take a few deep breaths and let myself become more present. My to do list waits, however right now I’m going to take a break and spend some time in quiet focus with my furry, ginger Zen teacher.
Siobhan is a Visual Artist Connecting Animal Lovers with Customized & Magical Animal Portraits, and an optimistic realist with a day job.