Animals are amazing creatures. At first glance, they sometimes appear simple. They eat, they sleep, and they play. To us, extremely sophisticated and advanced humans, their behavior sometimes seems trivial or simple. But after additional consideration, I’m actually starting to think they have life more figured out than many of us, myself included.
I am lucky to have had several good ‘animal’ teachers in my life. Currently, I have two cats and I love them dearly. They have been with me for about 9 years and they have been through the good, the bad, and the ugly. To their credit – they have stuck it out.
Here are just a few pearls of their wisdom.
- Do what you feel.
I think most animals live with this motto. They sleep when they are tired, play when they are feeling frisky, howl or cry when they feel unnerved, and eat when they are hungry. Too often, society tells us we should bottle up our emotions and not say or act on how we are feeling. And I am of the opinion that this leads to blow ups, mis-communications, and other unfortunate things. So do what you feel. Say whay you mean and mean what you say.
- Be the picture of grace…even when you aren’t.
One of my cats is blind in one eye and the other one is klutzy. Regardless, they both love to run and jump all over the house. This includes up and onto window sills, etc. Often, they miss. I have seen them both fall down a few stairs, hit a wall if they misjudge a run, or leap into the edge of the window and ooze back down onto the floor. But not once have they yowled, cried, or slunk away. They pick themselves up very quickly, glance covertly around to see who may have noticed the incident… and either do it again or go and sit somewhere, all the while looking very dignified. I can’t count the number of times in my life that I have hit a (figurative) wall or fallen down the (figurative) stairs right when it was my time to shine. And often, after the fall, I slink away with my head down and my eyes lowered, trying to make myself disappear. So I now have something to work on – always do everything with grace, if even you have none. Eyes up, smile on… head held high. Wall after wall should be met with smile after smile… head up, and try again.
- Learn how to sleep well, and to enjoy it.
Plain and simple – Get some rest. The cats do it extremely well… and often. Sleep. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul.
- Forgive fully and often.
I have stepped on my cats’ tail more times than I can count; never intentionally of course! My little boy likes to run and sit underfoot, and lace his tail around my foot. I think he think it’s a game… but consequently he gets stepped on. And sometimes he meows a bit…but he always looks up at me when I scoop him up and apologize – and I know that I’m forgiven and it’s OK. And a minute later he is doing it again… he has forgiven me.
- Love unconditionally.
Loving unconditionally is hard. The cats do it exceptionally well. No matter how late we get home from work to feed them, or how busy we are with our own lives that takes away from play time or cuddle time, they love us. Deeply and unconditionally. We should all be so lucky to receive such love, and we should all strive to give the same.
Take a look at the animals in your life. You might be surprised what you can learn.