Now for any pet owners, you know that taking your kitty to the vet can be a pretty harrowing experience. There could be claws, there could be flying fur, there could be plaintive meowing to break a kitty mama’s heart.
Jonesy – my cat – was a little trooper. Primarily because she was terrified. At the vet’s, she shook uncontrollably, kept her claws to herself, and quietly subjected herself to the indignities of palpation and a heart check. Her silence in the vehicle on the way home had me fearing the worst. If she hadn’t had a heart attack, certainly I was in store for days of skulking and litter box abstinence.
When I got her home and opened her carrier, she popped out her head and jumped from the carrier. Finding herself in a familiar setting, she gave herself a little shake, perked her ears, put her tail in the air, and made for her favorite kitty tower, none the worse for the wear.
After giving her some well-deserved catnip, I took a moment to marvel at her process. Here was kitty, fully in the moment, allowing herself to be afraid, meow, and shake. And because she’d be completely in the experience, once her vet visit as over, she had been able to completely let go of the distress and move on.
When something hurtful and scary happens to me, I do not react like kitty. Rather than meow and shake (or articulate my feelings and cry), I batten down the hatches, act reasonably, and stuff my feelings into the box labelled “unacceptable and vulnerable reactions.” Then later, instead of moving on, all the little goodies from that box start to leak out and worm their way into my thoughts and actions. The experience lingers.
What if we could be more like kitty? To fully experience the breadth of feelings in the moment without apology, and then – because our feelings had been given their due – to move on and freshly into the next experience? Now, reason is a lovely tool, so I’m not suggesting that we all run amok with our emotions without reflection. But kitty’s ability to experience the moment and then move on also gave her the capacity to immediately forgive me, enjoy some pets, and peacefully nap for the rest of her day. Her teachings remind of Eckhart Tolle’s passion for the Power of Now, in which he invites us to be awake fully to the present moment.
We can learn a lot about life from our little furry friends, feline and canine. In our yoga practice, consider how we hold onto our day, our agenda, or even our experience of one pose to the next. In the practice, can we instead return again and again to the current moment and our experience? In doing so, we give ourself the opportunity to be fully present to the breadth of our sensations and emotions, and we also clear our palate to available for the experiences to come.
Then, we could say that we too would experience, “The Power of Meow.”