By Jill Place, The Acting Intuitive
My cat disappeared about a week ago. Walked out of the house as she sometimes does. And never came back. I did the requisite checking for her at the shelters, posted the posters . . . even putting them in the boxes of my nearby neighbors. At the suggestion of a caring shelter worker, I even checked the nearby emergency hospitals for injured kitties. No luck! And it didn’t help that it’s turned cold here in Pasadena and has also been raining on and off.
I reached a dark night of the soul a couple of days ago and barely slept. I was cursing the Universe for not returning her to me . . . throwing open all the doors of my house hourly and begging . . .
“My Dollah, please come home . . . please come home to me . . . I can’t be without you . . .”
I’m choking on tears just writing about it. Then the light streamed in this morning. Not only illuminating the beautiful sheers in my office meeting room where I’m now writing this, spilling out gold and green all over the floor. But in my sometimes thick head.
Instead of trying to manipulate the situation, as I am wont to do, I got into gratitude. I began to thank Dolly (I name all my cats after Shakespearean characters and, after years of dubbing cats well-known names like “Ariel”, I instead chose “Doll Tearsheet”, an apt-named bawd in Henry IV, Part II) for all the years she had watched over me. When I broke my ankle a few years ago and was relegated to the daybed and a short hop to the commode, she barely left my side, standing 24-hour guard.
I also closed my eyes and thanked her for her quirky personality, coming to fiercely rub up against me one moment, then biting and running off the next. Dolly (she refused to answer to the name “Doll” and only answered to “Dolly” and . . . sometimes . . . to “No”) also yowled and bit when I cut her nails. She refused hairball lubricant and I had to rub it on her lips or paws and then mop up a thin, sticky trail of the stuff as she ran away and hid. I also had to mop up her throw-up when she managed to elude the lubricant.
But I got into gratitude for all of it . . . the negative as well as the positive. Her posing for pictures because she thought herself beautiful . . . and she WAS (note the picture). Her managing to show up in the middle of acting class and appear to observe all the goings-on with her piercing amber eyes. And, most of all, her constantly keeping me in sight and doting on my every move.
James Herriot, who wrote many books about the relationships of animals and their people, noted,
If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.
Gratitude can totally shift your perspective about everything. Through it, I was able to honor Dolly’s attributes such as they were. And getting into gratitude set us both free. She was now able to return free of my wishes and manipulations. And, if she didn’t, I at least had released and honored her. And enabled her to move on unfettered.
True to the synchronicity I also always seem to be experiencing, I was discussing balance with my Mastermind group last Thursday. And someone said something I’ll never forget:
Balance isn’t easy for human beings. The most we can hope to attain is ease.
All I could think of were those precariously-placed stones that often illustrated balance. And that it is almost humanly impossible to get there, let alone stay there. Being human means losing your balance at any given minute. But finding gratitude allows us instead to develop an ease in any situation. I now felt an ease where Dolly was concerned.
Getting into gratitude and ease is easy. And, on the eve of Thanksgiving, totally appropriate. Simply sit quietly and focus on your breathing for a minute or so. Then fill in this blank in your mind, “I am grateful for . . .” Note what floods in for you. Then, when you’re ready, open your eyes and write down whatever you saw in your journal. I even have a journal especially for my gratitudes. Or, even easier, just grab a pad and keep finishing the sentence over and over. Don’t forget even the tiniest thing.
Happy Thanksgiving! I am eternally grateful for your patronage and perusal. Enjoy your abundant table. And by all means feel gratitude for it!
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
– Melody Beattie