Oh, the ways of the furry Bodhisattva.
Inspired by: my buff-colored, big boy Buddha.
In the 10 months I've lived with my rescue cat, Buddha, he's given me many opportunities to awaken. He is mercurial, that one. The mood, though always gentle, changes every day. At 3 years old, he has spent 2 of those years in shelters. That time served, plus whatever treatment he received that led to his long-term abandonment, has rendered him skittish and afraid. I find him hard to predict. I've worried about him almost every day. I want to ensure he has a sweet and comfortable life.
Buddha is afraid of me if I am upright and walking. He is afraid of me if I move my hand in a certain way and I can never quite catch that certain way I've moved before he runs off. He can wrap himself around my ankles, waiting for his wet breakfast one morning and refuse to come out from under the bed the very next. He can sulk in a pile of blankets in the back of the skinny closet for days and suddenly be found sleeping with me at night. He can show me up close the boo-boo on his lower lip- the second in the past five months- and then stalk away from me for a secret offense. I have never held him. Picking him up is not yet an option, making a potential visit to the vet a current impossibility. Hence, the daily worrying for his well being.
Don't think that this skittish boy is lacking in feline brain power, Buddha is by far the smartest cat that has owned me. He can read my mind and knows how to work a room, especially when I'm the only one in it. He is a master at the aloof-brand method of getting attention. He knows I'll do anything for him and he keeps me invested by letting me lather him with pets and face rubs each time I am in a sitting position. He isn't one to purr; instead, he drools his pleasure.
Buddha, my 14 pound Bodhisattva, has awakened me to my useless trait of ceaseless worry. It culminated with his latest how-did-this-happen-again puffy lower lip. Instead of getting all worked up as I usually do, with hand-wringing and much fretting, I suddenly stopped. It dawned on me (actually, it felt more like a lightning bolt of realization), there was nothing I could do for him, given his refusal to be held. I can't get him into a carrier, I can't administer any medication. So let him be. Let him be. I rubbed his face and told him his boo-boo would go away, just like it did the last time.
I decided to accept Buddha as he is- fearful, mercurial, drooling and spontaneously needy-and give up the worry. If he comes for breakfast, fine. If he doesn't, fine. If he hides for days or if he romps down the hall with a catnip sock in his mouth, fine. I will accept his ways and waste no more energy in worry. I will love him and care for him no matter what. His life is good and will be what it will be, with or without my worry.
And guess what? Since my reckoning, my vow of acceptance, Buddha has hidden less and has asked for more spontaneous pets. He is no longer bearing the weight of my fret. Naturally, I am awakening further to the idea of worrying less in other areas of my life, of putting more imaginary burdens down. Buddha being Buddha is helping me to lighten my entire load. Less angst in my life? How inspiring.
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