Monday, May 2, 2011

BAD Kitty!

Although I am overly critical, I try to focus more on the lesson that can be learned instead of obsessing over the mistake. Guilt is one of those wonderful tools abused quite well by many religions but should really be used to help you focus on the true issue. Learning from the mistake.

I've moved from using terms like sin and atonement to mistake and lesson to remove the power that religions have tried to create for themselves and focus more on how to improve myself. It is quite a liberating experience though you may find it doesn't happen over night.

It's much easier to remain a timid sheep hidden within the folds of a large flock then to raise your head up high, desire to know what lays beyond a mountain ridge, and find your own path through life but I am happy to have found my own way.

What made me think of this was an issue I have with my pet cat, Sheena. A few years ago, she was young, fearless, and free. Her path took her into that of an on-coming vehicle. It shattered her face and blinded her and she is now very reliant on me for help.

Never having had kids (though I've helped with others children), she is the closest thing I have to a child. Now that she's blind, for as long as I have her, I'll be cleaning up her messes when she can't find the litter box, wiping snot from her nose from her fractured skull, letting her in and out of the house, and making her special food, to name a few of my responsibilities.

It was not something I intended to do. I would much prefer her to still be able to see and do things without my help. So, I try to ask myself, not "Why was this punishment given" but "What lesson will this teach me?". I see so many lessons it is hard list them all.

First, it helps me to understand how hard it is to constantly be responsible for another. My cat tries really hard to remain who she's always been. That means she usually makes it to the litter box on her own. With the sinus problems she has, I can hear when she's becoming desperate (breathing harder while she's trying to sniff out the box) and about to have an accident. It can often bring me out of a deep sleep to help her to the box!

Sleeping lightly and being wakened like that takes a toll sometimes. It's harder to be nice and understanding when you've had a lack of sleep. Being constantly watching her is also very taxing. You can't do it all the time. It's a simple lesson but one that I often have to remind myself of when around others who might be cranky for the same reason. Compassion is one of my short-comings (I believe from growing up alone).

That in turn teaches me about patience. Understanding. Channeling my emotions properly. Staying active even.

I can't run my life completely on my own. I have to consider Sheena's needs also. She tries hard to do things and I really have no right to get upset or annoyed with her (though I still do). So bit by bit (perhaps for a LONG time), she gives me the same lessons to learn and improve upon.

I don't always do the right thing, but I do try. Each time is a reminder to consider the issue in broader terms. Did I handle the situation well? How does this apply to someone else's issue? Am I judging others differently because I haven't considered their problem in depth? What advice can I learn or share?

For instance, I keep the center from a role of paper towels by her food. When she annoys me, I take the paper cylinder and hit her a few times on her back. SHE LOVES IT! I don't know if it's the "bonk" sound it makes or the way it feels on her spine but she just gets all excited when I do it.

She has no clue I am upset and I make sure I don't put any inflection in my voice to imply I am. I am trying to realize it's not her fault and find a better way to handle my emotions and be compassionate. What better way to handle negative emotions with than laughter and a smile?

So in the end, I hope to come out better. Not because I was punished for something bad but because I was loved enough to be given an opportunity to grow.

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