Our cats have taught us some valuable lessons in these areas this past fall and into the present. In January, we said goodbye to our beloved kitty, Gabrielle, after a sudden, heartbreaking illness. Now, after losing an eye to cancer this summer, our 14-year-old cat, Midnight, is nearing the end of his physical journey with us.
One big lesson I’ve learned from all of this is that animals adapt. They don’t whine about ailments and over analyze why this is happening to them. They accept, adapt and move forward the best way they can with their “new normal”.
When Midnight had his eye removed last summer, it was traumatic for all of us, but mostly for him! He was on pain killers for a while, had to wear a cone and was separated from his feline family for 2 weeks. With lots of love he recovered quite nicely. He was accepted back into his little kitty family, gained back any weight lost and got on with his daily activities. Hugs, pets, num nums, lounging in the sun and luxurious naps returned.
He simply adapted to his new normal as a one-eyed cat and moved on with his life. He made the best of his situation. He still has an amazing life with a loving family and sometimes annoying cat siblings.
I think there’s a lesson for us humans. Of course, life will bring us lots of experiences, some wanted and some not, but it is our perception of these experiences that shapes our lives. We can be the victim of our circumstances or we can rise above.
We get to choose whether we label our experiences as good or bad and then whether we ruminate over the “bad” ones. Or, we can just stop with the labels. What if we thought about these experiences as just moments in our life. Each experience is proof that we are living, learning, growing and moving forward in our life.
With each experience, we are growing. In times when everything is going our way, we learn what we want to keep thinking and doing. Then come some of the most valuable lessons, those we learn when we hit a bump in the road and things aren’t going so well. That’s where we learn to adapt. We learn to course correct.
We don’t have to label this as good or bad, we simply need to accept that this is what is right now. We can take a moment to breathe and evaluate the situation. Remember that in times of stress, we pinch ourselves off from our own intuition and inspiration. Give yourself space. Be kind to yourself as you settle into acceptance, but then choose to move forward.
Midnight’s cancer has spread and his tumor is growing. There’s nothing we can do for him, but love him and make him comfortable. And still, my brave kitty is loving life. Sitting on our laps, enjoying the sun and not worrying one iota about what’s going to happen next. He’s in his moment knowing he is loved no and forever.
Today, take a moment to breathe. Appreciate the wonder that is you and your life. Make space for inspired action. Course correct when necessary. I wish you joy on your journey. Over the straight still paths and the bumpy winding roads, may you find the peace of acceptance, the will to adapt, and the curiosity and bravery to move forward! –glp