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Don’t Take Life So Personally

Retrain Your Habitual Responses – Don’t Take Life So Personally

I have four rescue cats: Jackie, Angel, Ghost, and Chris. Each one of them has enriched my life beyond belief, as I often learn my best lessons by watching them negotiate life. This is the story of Chris and what he’s taught me. Chris’s life slogan is “Don’t take life so personally.”

 How Chris Came into Our Lives

Chris came into our lives, like two of our other rescues. He adopted us. (My feng shui consultant, Daniela Brueckner, says that this is a sign of increase of God luck, by the way.) During early December, our cat door was open because our two older cats are indoor/outdoor guys. My roommate of many years, Tolen, noticed a tiny kitty skittering to hide from him, and because Tolen is so generous, he started leaving food for Chris near the cat door. Apparently, he had done this for days but didn’t say anything, because he knew I wasn’t looking for a fourth rescue cat.

We planned to go to Florida for a seminar at the end of the week, so when our house sitter came to Atlanta, Tolen had to confess that he had been feeding the kitty but hadn’t really seen him. We went to Florida and left the situation in our house sitter’s hands. Since she is a great animal lady, she went about the process of connecting with Chris. By the time we came home, Chris was willing to come out of hiding, but we noticed that his front leg was bent awkwardly and he wasn’t really using it.

At first we thought maybe he had a slight injury that could be repaired. But, when we took him to see Dr. Kay, the cats’ long time vet friend, he said that the leg was crushed in several places and had no blood circulation. Since this was a danger to Chris’s health, Dr. Kay recommended that Chris’s leg be amputated. At that point, Dr. Kay said, “You know, Melody, this little guy is going to be your cat, because no one is going to want to adopt a three-legged cat.” So, I sucked it up (Because the surgery was expensive, I cancelled a session with my mentor to pay for the surgery and took this personally for a bit.) and redid our Christmas budget. The little guy had his surgery and a miraculous recovery, because he just didn’t take the conditions of his life personally. I followed his lead and stopped judging the situation. This is when I finally could perceive the  blessings Chris brought into our home.

 Chris’s Approach to Life – I’m in the Moment

 I visited Chris most days at the vet, and the first thing I noticed is his joyful approach to life. He was really in the moment. When I was holding him, he was present. He wasn’t looking at where the missing leg was. He wasn’t making up sad stories about the accident that caused the injury or the horrible surgery. He just snuggled and purred.

The Vet Techs all adored Chris and commented that he never paid any attention to the surgery site. When they played with him, he played. When they hugged him, he hugged. When they taught him how to climb, he gave it his best shot. When he fell the first few tries, they said he’d lay there for a moment and then shake off and try again. Again, Chris made no plea for sympathy, because the fall was a moment ago. He was in the present moment and was working on learning to climb.

When we brought Chris home, he continued experiencing his life in the moment. He wanted to get in the cat tree, like the other cats. He kept climbing. When he fell, he shook himself off and tried climbing again or walked away. He runs faster than any of the other cats, plays harder, hops around when he slows down like a little bunny, all with joy and exuberance. Because Chris doesn’t judge any of his experiences and stays in the moment, his life is such a flow of miracles.

 

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