“Cat”

 

“I’m not what you think I am. You are what you think I am.”—Unknown.

I’ve been blessed and cursed with an overactive, curious mind, swaying from science towards philosophy then beyond to where Rumi lays in that grass and the world is too full to talk about, and always I come back to “I don’t really know.”

Because it’s the only place I’m truly comfortable.

The kitty above—one I sit for, and love—is part of the social experiment known as “humanity,” an experiment in which everything has been labeled—“cat”, “dog”, “love” etc.—by the subjects of the experiment themselves in a process of proving what exactly the experiment is even while we’re in the middle of living it. Meanwhile, 90% of the known universe is matter (“dark matter”; they posit now it’s a “fluid” of negative mass to where if we pushed on it, it would move towards us) that we can’t even experience with senses or instruments, and in the last 100 years, philosophy became science and just last month, an actual visible mini-moon was discovered that had been in earth’s orbit for three years completely undetected.

And for someone not prone to taking herself seriously anyways, to walk around like the big human expert on what anything is feels ridiculous and counterproductive.

For when even the most basic physical properties are 90% unknown, tossing labels and theories like darts are akin to hitting a “target” we can’t aim for or see and only designate as such after it exposes itself.

If humanity was the one that labeled this experiment, and there’s no objective template or guide outside of ourselves then “I don’t know” shouldn’t be shameful or fearful; it should be natural and lovely. Like accepting the complexity of the universe isn’t ours to maintain, rather it’s ours to experience as the joy of a connection. Where “I don’t know” comes to mean we breathe in a continuously-evolving state of unknowingness, and moments of leaning down to a “cat” becomes “Olivia” looking into our eyes with what looks like magic, and maybe even could be.

 

Muh Earl

Some pics belie the tenderness behind them. Because when I met introverted Earl–whose history included the passing of his former owner, the relatives for whom did not find new homes for his cats and Earl was put on the street–his eyes seemed almost too sad to overcome the emotional hesitation.
 
And as a pet sitter, everything is always temporary and short-term. For a few days, I come in, feed, stay for a bit, leave and don’t see them sometimes for a long while between their families trips. And because of this, good connections with sensitive animals who’ve experienced abandonment are challenging to manifest. Since animals become world-weary just like humans, and know better than to get attached. For although circumstances change, once we experience such a loss as Earl had the fear usually settles into even our muscles, so Earl had made his whole body part of keeping distance, revealing his skepticism and hurt as he’d let the other house cats crowd before walking off as if giving up.
 
But I understood Earl. Knew his grief. And in the justified sadness of a sweet cat someone shooed outside as if they were sweeping the floor, I was called to act. So I made time to find him each visit, to sit with him, to specifically bring him into the circle of my attention (even with his extroverted sibs crowding around) because I wanted him to know he was important to me. Wanted to make an event out of “Earl”. Came into the house hollering the refrain “Where’s muh Earl?” so that he knew right away I hadn’t forgotten between trips that he was that tender guy I wanted to see.
 
Because we’ve all looked out upon the world with sad Earl eyes, many of us coming to exist within the immovable sense of not feeling safe enough to trust the world won’t hurt us, for, in fact the world has—Purposefully, Unashamedly—until sometimes we want to even flee from this life. And while these are harsh realities I can’t erase out of existence, I didn’t want to accept that that’s all there is. And Earl didn’t either.
 
For sometimes sadness and grief seem solid as if anchoring us permanently into them. Yet from mutual loss flows a compassion and nurturance for our fellow humans and creatures until somehow, one day, we’re sitting on the couch and old man Earl suddenly climbs into our lap and nuzzles his face in our hair.
 
And there are yet mysteries to solve, but events often become bits of truth constantly discovering itself, and when sweet Earl jumped up that first day—cat hair like love floating delicately around—I think it seasoned us both in what to do with this Life. In how to stand inside the new love we weave into existence as we survive this world more powerfully within togetherness.

Finding home

 

Pics of George and I during his full-service snuggle sessions complete with hug, tender paw to face AND nose, with capstone experience to include rolling over on my lap, gazing into my eyes, and listening to me talk about my shit.  (from 9/2018)

***

I turned 50 years old on October 1, 2018.

I’ve lived a lot of lives in a single one, and can hear reverberations of self bouncing around in my cells and my soul, chorused with that of society—stereotypes and patterns of thought— which has before kept me moving in ways which didn’t make me joyful but which I did not question for reasons of both habit and distraction.

And I have encountered those who believe a pet sitter (my occupation) is of a certain station and intelligence, bearing simplicity unable to standardize within societal algorithms, and I’ve made my peace with the fact that even my girls’ dad (my former spouse who cheated, left town, etc.) tells my kids that I don’t have a “real” job.

But there is a certain point in life when you see a bigger picture of all, a point at which through connection and calm you derive sensations of well-being to where you must change. And that is where I’ve been. And am better for it.

For in the end, change is the breath of who we are and anchoring into the simplicity of heart is the most complex thing anyone will ever do, and once you realize that, looking good to society becomes silly.

Because, beyond habit and distraction, holding space for the tenderness of the world is all any of us can ever truly want for all else is just the journey.  And settling in on the couch—in a deep snuggle sesh, as a pet sitter, without a “real” job—I’m honored to have found the humility and reverence to see with eyes of a different world.   For the world we crave is one of love and safety, and when all things change, all is never lost when we ourselves walk through life as the loving home we desire.