(Originally published 10 January 2012.)
This is Foghat. He is 15 months old in this photo.
He’s one of my ‘inquisi-kitties’ who likes to see what I’m doing and get involved. Most memorably, he reached for a paintbrush and landed his tail in my paint palette.
He’s also my ‘ADHD cat’. Very hyper. I’ve not known a kitty before him to play fetch, yet he will bring me a stuffed toy to throw and he chases after it.
The lesson I learned from him has to do with attention.
Foghat’s process and how that relates to whisperings from the Universe
When Foghat wants attention, he starts by sitting at my feet. This is the point that an idea starts whispering.
I’m usually engrossed in something, so he quickly moves to the next stage, which is scratching at my ankle. The idea wants us to hear, so it starts nagging a bit.
If he hasn’t caught my attention, Foghat escalates to clawing at my leg. I move my leg out of reflex and may put a hand down to scratch behind his ears. The idea starts invading your focus, really wanting attention now.
Sometimes this is enough, to acknowledge his presence. Other times, he begins to cry. The idea maybe isn’t ready quite ready for action, and just wants acknowledgment. Or, the idea says ‘drop what you’re doing now and pay attention.’
If I try to pick him up to cuddle, he will push his front feet against my chest until I let him go, and I still get scratches. Ideas, like cats, want attention on their terms and won’t be satisfied with a quick fix.
This happened yesterday. And I had an epiphany.
In the past, I learned to push down feelings and didn’t talk about a lot of issues. Over time, I suppressed so much that I would explode with little provocation. I’d eventually work stuff out, after a lot of unnecessary pain.
I decided it’s better to feel things as they happen even though processing those old hurts interrupts my life at times. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time, although sometimes it really bites.
I’ll spare you the internal thought process around an uncomfortable-for-me idea. I didn’t want to deal with it, and really wanted to push this thought down and suppress it. In doing that, a funk settled over me and nothing was making it go away.
Ideas and emotions want our acknowledgment because they need it to mature into understanding. When I realized this, I scribbled my thoughts and feelings into a notebook and the funk started to lift.
Sometimes when an idea pokes at us, it just wants to be scratched behind the ears. To ignore it is to invite being clawed.
Your turn + Comment Zen
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. You don’t have to agree with my ideas here, but I ask you to be kind about it.