It’s time for Feline Life Lesson #8 – Be engaged (not GET engaged – no rings in today’s message, sorry).
There’s one thing you can count on with cats, they are always engaged in what’s going on around them – they are always present. Even when they’re sleeping it seems like they have a sense that stays awake and they are immediately in the moment, no matter what. This makes them a totally sensual being. Their presence, the way they completely give themselves over to whatever is happening in the moment, they are supremely engaged in life.
Some examples for you:
- When there is a bird outside the window, my cats are there watching. They know there is a pane of glass between them and the outside, but it doesn’t matter. They will watch intently. They’ll make the guttural clicking sound of the cat in hunt mode. In that moment, there is nothing else to pay attention to other than that bird.
- In cat land, there is nothing better than a good petting. They will lift their body to receive your attention. They will show their appreciation with a loud purr. They tap you on the arm if you stop before they’re ready. Some will drool, like my Izzy. There is no doubt that they are completely into what you’re putting out. Here are 3 and a half minutes of cats asking for attention.
- Cats playing is a joy. They are definitely totally engaged. Until they decide they’re done, of course. Then they’re totally engaged in something else. Give a cat a new catnip or honeysuckle toy (they love the latter without the high from the former) or get out a laser pointer and watch them go!
- Cats have excellent hearing. Their ears will swivel at the slightest change in sound and, if it merits attention, they will turn their head to face it as well to get a better sense of what’s going on.
- Have you ever seen a cat that is so interested in the smell of something that they open their mouth? Cats smell with their mouths as well. When something really intrigues them, they will open their mouths to get a fuller sensation of the smell!
- Many people say cats are aloof. In my experience, they are great listeners. My cats listen better than my dog. They come when called, they turn to you as soon as you make a noise or say their name. They’ll even come for a cuddle when I rub two fingers together . They’ll listen to you talk and sometimes even talk back. And they talk to each other. Or give an opinion.
You are a Bad Kitty. To be even badder, practice more of feline life lesson 8 – be engaged.
- Pay attention to what’s going on around you and really notice. When driving, be engaged in driving. When relaxing, be fully engaged with your relaxation (no making lists in your head!). Walk in nature and really notice your surroundings and what has changed since your last walk, what’s new or different whether it’s a new place or your neighborhood. Every instance of your day, be engaged.
- Really feel touch. Give yourself over to a hug rather than going in for a quickie and getting out as soon as possible. Enjoy the feel of a loved one’s skin and hair. Notice the texture of your clothes. Give yourself over to the tactile sensations that surround you.
- When you play, really play. Spend less time worrying about skill or perfection and just enjoy. If you watched Friends, you may remember the episode with Pheobe and Rachel going for a run. Pheobe ran like a child and loved it! Be a Pheobe.
- Whether it’s a taste, smell, sound, touch or sight, really pay attention. Your senses give you so much information. Give into the entirety of what is coming into your body through your senses.
- Listen, really listen, when someone speaks to you. Pay attention to their name (I’m still working on this one!). Listen for the hidden messages behind what people are saying and check in about your assumptions. Listen as much for information as for intent and emotion. When asked to do something, really listen and determine if it’s something you want to/are willing to do and give an honest answer.
Be engaged in your world. It’s so easy to allow ourselves to feel overwhelmed and want to cut off or retreat. This may seem counter-intuitive, however, the truth is being fully engaged will help you get over your overwhelm because you’re paying attention to ONE thing at a time. Give it a shot and see for yourself!
Hugs, Christie Mawer – The Bad Kitty