Tag Archives: honor

Ode to Cat

ode to catWe lost our cat. He didn’t come into the kitchen for his usual nightly dinner meal at 5pm. He usually glides into the kitchen and starts his meowing to let us know that he is on a schedule and it is time for his dinner. If we haven’t fed him by 5:15, or 5:30, he keeps up his meows loudly again and rubs up on our legs or jumps up on the counter and pads in front of our face. We had been keeping him on a regime because he needed to slim down a little; 17 pounds of orange tabby muscle. But he hadn’t come in and we went looking for him at 6:20pm and there he was lifeless, with his spirit gone. I could tell instantly just by looking at him that he was dead. Then I touched him, patted him, and the fur on his back was still warm. His paws were chilled. He had died peacefully in front of the heater upstairs facing towards the door. And I cried. He was 14. He’d lived with us for a while, but I still thought we’d have a least a few more years with him.

And now when I come home there is no jumping down off of the counter, not getting caught licking the butter. There is no 17 pounds walking across my chest and my husband’s chest in the morning, 5am, so that he can get fed for his morning meal. There is no lap time in the evening in front of the fire, brushing his fur. Or licking my hand where he scratched and wounded me. And the house is so quiet now. He didn’t make much noise, but we knew he was with us. It was the three of us living together, knowing each other’s movements. We were aware of each other and would have daily interactions. The house is very, very quiet now. My husband and I are now home alone. He shared our space with us. I wanted just one more pat, one more walk across my chest in the morning, one more hand lick. I wanted some warning of his leaving. But even in his passing he was teaching me. Stay in the moment. Enjoy what you have. Life is ephemeral. His fur pattern had a wonderful orange bull’s eye on his side. I will look for that target as I go forward and remember him. When I get lost I will look for his target to follow.

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Exercise: How to Change Mourning of a Pet’s Death to Honoring the Pet

Now here is an exercise for you, if you have lost a valued and beloved pet. Our pets are more than just the word, pet. They are our companions, our acceptors, our friends. Often an integral part of a family’s make up, the status of our pets belies the actual relationship you may have with them.

First find some photos of your pet; lounging, eating, playing. Then think about what you really admired and loved about your pet and go to magazines and tear out photos that make you think of the essence of your pet. I have used a lion’s photo because our cat really reminded of lion energy. You might find toys or balls, fields or woods, or other animals. It can be whatever your image is of your pet’s energy. Then tear or cut all the pictures up and arrange them on a piece of cardboard, 4” x 6”, 5”x 7”, or even larger, 8”x10” and glue them down. Create a collage of memories. Then place the collage on your desk. These gathered pictures will be a heartfelt expression in honor of your animal friend.

Aging Gracefully

Aging gracefullyAging, growing older, getting gray hair, seeing wrinkles by our eyes when we smile, noticing brown spots on our hands, not being able to run as fast, not seeing as clearly; what does this mean to each of us? I was reading a book by Heyoka Merrifield, about the White Buffalo Calf Woman stories of the Plains Indians. White Buffalo Calf Woman brings the elders of the village together to create a new circle. Anyone who had an issue or problem could take it before this newly created circle. One elder grandmother was stepping down and appointing her grandson in her stead. And he wondered if he was up to the task. His hair had not yet turned gray or white. He believed that hair color signified how much wisdom and knowledge an individual had gained over time. But what do we do now? We seem to be very, very concerned with keeping up the appearance of youth as ever long as can be. Truthfully, my children are now getting gray hair. What sort of illusion do I want to create? I want to proud of my years. It’s taken me a while to get here, and I have good friends who did not make it this far. I want to honor age. I want to wear my gray hairs proudly. If I honor and respect my elders, can I then be respected as an elder too?

Our grandparents have many stories to tell us if we slow down and listen. If your grandparents do not live near you, you can listen to the stories of an elder neighbor, an elder teacher, an elder friend. Our elders also need to hear the stories of youth, so that they can stay connected to new thought forms surfacing and bubbling forth. Aging does not mean we should pick a way of being and then statically maintain it all costs. Our learning keeps on, until we die.   Learning keeps us growing and growing keeps us fresh, even if our skin is leathered. We can share our knowledge with the youth and the youth can bring forth fresh ideas, and then we co-create new patterns. We create a circle of sharing that includes all ages. Honoring only the youth keeps us as a culture young, unseasoned, and immature. The benefits of age are wisdom, more emotional stability, and a better ability to control anger and other negative emotions.

Brain researchers from Duke University and the University of Alberta compared the brains of 20 year olds to 70 year olds. Volunteers were asked to recall photos they had been shown of positive images or negative images. The older group had a harder time recalling the negative images than the younger group. Brain scans were done to examine the differences of the amygdales, which is responsible for processing memory and emotions. It was deduced that the amygdales react less to negative events as we age. Maybe that’s why we have a broader perspective as we age and the ability to see alternate patterns. Creatively daydreaming into my aging years is what I hope to do. I look forward to advancing years of harmony and insight.