Three weeks ago our little stray cat had her very own kittens in a hole she cleverly dug beneath some shrubs outside our kitchen window. We relocated this little family to a box inside our garage in which they seem to have adjusted quite well. I have grown very fond of this little cat family, which is pretty remarkable since I have never been a lover of cats, due to some pretty serious allergies.
I find myself thinking of these sweet little fur balls often and when I am away from them, I miss them. I enjoy sitting on the floor in my garage talking to them and petting them. They make me feel peaceful and I am moved by how this young mommy instinctively cares for her babies. For the first couple of weeks she rarely left the box. She nursed them day and night. She looked so tired, yet so content. Last week, the kittens opened their eyes and became very active. They still nurse a lot, but I have noticed that mommy kitty slips away for small periods of time to be alone. She never goes very far and never stays gone too long. The kittens cry loudly for her when she is gone, but she doesn’t appear concerned, she just lays curled in a ball until she is done with her mediations or whatever she is doing. I imagine her saying, “you precious little ones, you’re ok, mommy needs a break, I’ll return shortly.”
I find this “me time” really fascinating. My oldest “kitten” is already 14 years old and I have only recently learned the value of taking time to re-charge, while the instinct-driven mama cat does so when her kittens are only three weeks old. When my babies were three weeks old, especially my first, I had no concept of rest or down time. His naptime was my chance to accomplish things – very important things – like re-organizing the pantry or scrubbing a toilet.
I used to think taking time for myself was lazy and selfish. Where did I get that notion? My mother? Ok, where did she get it? Her mother? This continues on and on up the family tree, probably all the way up to “the big mama” Eve. So here I am, believing the “truths” of people I have never even met. Making decisions based on beliefs in which I have not consciously made my own. Living my life based on the standards and expectations of very distant relatives is exhausting and confusing. When I spend my time pleasing and taking care of others so they will not be disappointed in me, I am trading my authenticity for approval and the exchange rate is debilitating!
I am learning to be authentic in my thoughts and my actions. My mother continues to influence me, but not as she used to. She is now teaching me the art of relaxation and meditation. Something she must be learning in Heaven. She is teaching me that life is short and relationships are most important. She is showing me that perfectly clean houses are illusions and the price for chasing illusions is much too high. She is teaching me to love and accept all of me so I can do the same for others. She is teaching me that compassion breeds compassion and to ignore the voices that say I am not enough. And apparently, she is teaching me to love cats… which may be the most unexpected lesson of all. But for all these lessons I am most grateful!