There’s more than one way to skin a cat. (My apologies to my cat-loving readers. I also hate that expression, but it was too perfect an opening line for this particular post.) And you can indeed kill two birds with one stone. (My apologies to my bird-loving readers. Dog lovers, you’re next.)
For years, I’ve struggled to establish a regular morning meditation practice. I would do it for a couple of days or maybe even a week, but then it would fall by the wayside. However, I’ve found the solution to my meditation challenge. It’s gray, furry, and weighs 10 pounds. Her name is Willow, and she’s one of my cats. (I have two. And, no, I don’t have any photos of them. I don’t know how to work a digital camera, all right? Get off my back!)
A week or so ago, as I was once again trying to get back into morning meditation, Willow jumped into my lap and settled down for a nice long stay. I suppose there’s nothing unusual about a cat jumping into a lap, especially one as soft and roomy as mine. Except Willow isn’t that kind of cat. She isn’t a lap sitter. She’s way too hyperactive.
Much as she demands love and attention, especially in the middle of a business call by knocking the headset off my head, Willow is too much of a wiggle worm to stay in one place for any length of time. So she surprised me when she not only voluntarily jumped into my lap but stayed there quite happily for the next half hour.
What surprised me even more was, after the initial kneading of needle-sharp claws into my flesh (how a cat mellows out and its owner doesn’t) and the obligatory head-bumping (how a cat acknowledges you’re part of its family – a huge honor) and the significantly loud purring (Catspeak for “I’m a happy camper now that you’re doing my bidding”), Willow the Wiggle Worm became very still and quiet. And even more surprising, so did I. It was a great meditation session.
The next morning when I settled in for my meditation, I wasn’t that surprised when Willow jumped into my lap again. Cats are the ultimate pleasure seekers. The supreme hedonists. If they like something, they want more of it. I can identify with that, can’t you?
The third morning Willow appeared in my lap, I knew it was no longer my morning meditation. It had become our morning meditation. Cats are nothing if not habit-forming – somewhat curious when you consider how contrary and independent-minded they are. But of course the habits they form are always their idea and never yours. Just try to convince a cat to form the habit of scratching the lovely new scratching post instead of your recently reupholstered sofa, and you will soon discover what I mean.
Willow’s and my morning meditation is a win-win situation as far as I’m concerned. I’ve got a single-minded, habit-forming cat who is now the morning meditation police — just exactly what I needed. Willow gets quality time and connection with me — just exactly what she needed. If I’m really lucky, I might even get to conduct business without a furry gray paw knocking my headset to the floor.
Yes, as you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m one of those weird cat ladies. I used to be ashamed to admit it, but I’m not any more. My cats were my sanity savers when I was a child, and they continue to perform that function now that I’m an adult. (It may be debatable how well they perform it, but that’s a post for another day.) So, yes, I will happily share my meditation time and space with Willow.
Do you remember that old Sinatra song, My Way? Well, that’s what I’m doing. I’m doing meditation my way. Correction. I’m doing meditation Willow’s way. The smart cat owner always remembers who’s really in charge.