feline wisdom

Conscious Cat Sunday: The Platinum Rule

Allegra close up

We’ve all heard of The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Many of us strive to live by this rule. It implies the basic assumption that other people would like to be treated in exactly the same way you would like to be treated.

Then there’s The Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.”

Think about it for a moment. The Golden Rule is all about you: you simply assume that everyone should want what you want, and you’re going to treat them accordingly. It’s all about control. This was brought home to me the other day, when Allegra gave me one of her rare lap times. Allegra is a supersweet, affectionate cat, but she does not like to sit in my lap, nor does she like to be held. As a result, the times when she does make one of her rare lap appearances are extra special. Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: Allegra on Living in the Moment

Allegra_The_Conscious_Cat

I don’t understand why humans have such a hard time with what they call “living in the moment.” To us cats, it’s just living. Where else would you be, if not in this present moment? That’s where all the good stuff happens: it’s where the sunbeams are, it’s where the birds outside the window are, it’s where breakfast and dinner are. Why would you ever want to worry about what’s going to come next, or think about what already happened?

When we want to play, we play. When we want to nap, we nap. When we want to cuddle, we cuddle. I know humans have what they call “responsibilities,” the most important one, of course, being that they make sure we never run out of cat food, and I’ll concede that that requires some planning, but I thought I’d give you some pointers on how you can be more like a cat and enjoy the moment.

Conscious Cat Sunday: Be Resourceful

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Guest post by Angie Bailey

Have you ever had that “stuck” feeling? Like you’re just not quite sure how to move forward and you’re a little afraid to move at all, for fear you’ll make the “wrong” choice? I know there have been times when I’ve found myself in that position and, honestly, at those times I felt paralyzed. Sometimes I moved ahead and sometimes — again, because of fear — I did not and I occasionally wonder what would have happened if I’d just taken a chance.

Part of the reason I felt paralyzed is because I didn’t feel like I had the resources to advance in my preferred direction. And by resources, I mean money, time, connections, equipment…all types of resources. What I’ve found is that the resources I picture in my head aren’t necessarily the resources I really have to have to move forward.

Cats completely get this. They have no sort of expectationContinue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: Allegra on the art of hanging out

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Hi everyone, it’s Allegra! It’s been a while since I got to write something here. I’ve been too busy keeping my sister Ruby in line, and making sure Mom takes breaks from work. Let me tell you, between the two of them – it can get exhausting.

If you’re wondering what’s harder – keeping an eye on Ruby, or making sure that Mom relaxes enough – well, I’d have to say it’s getting Mom to relax. I will never understand why humans have such a hard time with this concept of just hanging out, just being. I can sit for hours, either staring into space, or sleeping, and let me tell you, it feels really really wonderful!

Sometimes, I even resort to sitting in Mom’s lap to get her to relax. It seems to be the most effective wayContinue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: fuzzy resolutions

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Guest post by Angie Bailey

I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions. I guess I believe in intentions that can change in any moment. I don’t need to wait until New Year’s Eve to decide what’s important to me and set goals for myself. But since many people use the new year as a kickoff point, I thought I’d once again look to my wise felines for cues as to what I’d like to intend for myself in the new year.

Be present with one thing at a time

I know I’m a good multi-tasker, but that doesn’t mean it’s always a great attribute. Sometimes when I’m busy with one activity, I’m thinking about something else. Cats are laser-focused on whatever they currently have their paws on, and when they’re finished, they move on to the next thing. Presence is something for which I constantly strive. Keeping one browser tab open at a time on the computer is a start. It’s way too easy to pop over to Facebook and waste some major time when I have an article deadline. I can find myself easily distracted — and that does nothing for my time management or presence. Cats don’t care about multi-tasking, tabs or time management — they just live in the flow, which is an excellent example for all of us.

Stare into space more oftenContinue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: make time for contemplation

contemplation

Could the purr be anything but contemplative? – Irving Townsend

It’s hard to find time for quiet contemplation in these busy lives we lead, but without making time for it, we end up stressed, depressed and anxious. Cats are masters not just at purring, but also at quiet contemplation, as Amber demonstrates in the photo above. We’d be wise to take our cue from them.

Contemplation can take many forms: it can be something as structured as a meditation practice, or something as simple as taking a walk in the park. For me, even watching my sleeping cats can be a contemplative experience.

Most people use the excuse that they’re too busy to make time for just being quiet. I think you can’t afford not to make the time, or your mental and physical health will suffer. And it’s really not that hard to carve out a little extra time each day. If you’re a planner, you may need to schedule quiet time into your day, just like you schedule any other activities.

To help you along, here are some tips on how to create extra time for quiet contemplation and solitude. Whether it’s an hour, or even just ten minutes, I promise you, you will find that your life will improve. Solitude is not the same as spending time alone watching tv, surfing the internet, or reading. There’s nothing wrong with any of these activities, but they won’t result in the quiet space you need for contemplation and reflection.

  • Cut back on your TV time. Americans spend an average of seven hours a day watching tv – how hard could it be to cut back on what, let’s face it, is often wasted time? Stick to watching only shows that you truly enjoy, don’t just sit in front of the TV because it’s there.
  • Get up a little earlier. Spending quiet time first thing in the morning (after you feed the cats, of course!) assures that it won’t fall by the wayside as you get busy later on.
  • Cut back on your e-mail and internet activities. (Just don’t cut back on reading The Conscious Cat!)
  • Plan your errands ahead of time. By organizing your route and sequence of errands, and grouping them together, you can save time, and, as a nice additional benefit, gas money.
  • Minimize housework. Relax your standards a little bit if you can. Do some basic cleaning once a week, and a more thorough cleaning once a month.

Do you make time for contemplation? How do you do it? If not, why not?

Wise beyond their whiskers

Guest post by Angie Bailey

Feeling stressed? Lacking confidence? Aren’t getting enough rest? Put down that latest self-help book and behold the stealthy swami that is the cat. These sleek sages know how to expertly embrace a peaceful, present, and playful existence. When I observe my three fuzzy felines and the manner in which they “are,” I cannot help but pick up a few tips.

  • Ask for what you want. Load your life (or nine) with all of your desires and meow for more! The world is your toy basket – fill it full of your very own equivalent of catnip mice and feathers-on-a-stick.
  • Watching birds is an entertaining and relaxing way to spend a slice of time. Talking to the birds creates an even kickier encounter!
  • Strech out in a spot of sunlight. Cats are the ultimate yoga masters, mastering such poses as Downward Licking Leg, Restful Reclining Reach, and Bending Bum-Bathe. I recommend the first two.
  • Bask in your own personal style – cats don’t worry if a tuft of fur is out of place or if an ear is turned inside out for several hours. Flaunt your fantastic flair!
  • Raucous play can be excellent exercise. Go ahead, burn a few calories by enthusiastically batting an aluminum foil ball around on the kitchen floor…you know you want to!
  • Be sure to eat lots of greens and protein, but indulge in a tempting treat now and again.
  • Create time for naps – curling up with someone else for a serene snooze is even better.
  • If someone flicks his tail in your face, don’t take it personally – find that spot of sun and stretch again. And then nap.
  • Detachment is key to happiness. If your food bowl is moved, adjust and find something positive about the new location.
  • Always trust your intuition. If a situation causes you to pause, for purr’s sake, jump in with all paws!
  • Practice presence. Offer the gift of your full attention to the friend who’s extended her paw in play and when you’ve moved on to patio-door-bird watching, enjoy every morsel of those moments. Look – a sparrow!
  • Unconditional love is what it’s all about. Cats love us when we feel great and adore us just as equally when we wear our cranky pants.

Cats are quite wise beyond their whiskers. Gratefully welcome the profundity of their purrs and their flair for frisky frolicking. Share a sunny spot with a cat for a few minutes and see if you don’t feel a little more centered. Looking to learn the secret to leading a happy and fulfilling life? The cat’s out of the bag – look no further than your four-legged feline.

Copyright © 2009 Angie Bailey. All Rights Reserved.

Angie Bailey writes humorous essays and musings about cats, family, and glimpses into the quirky, delicious, and oftentimes thought-provoking experiences of life for her blog Catladyland.