Listening Unto Myself

Many of you are celebrating the big holiday today.  I hope you’re enjoying yourselves.  We are.  Bugs gave me a really wonderful present this morning.  He’s the softest, kindest cat that I can remember him being, ever.

So — it seems we have only to raise the subject of kindness, and it manifests . . . . In my last post, some of you liked the farming metaphor, the idea that kindness can be grown, cultivated.  Some appreciated comparing the skill of kindness to a muscle.  If muscles are to develop, they need to be flexed.  They atrophy if not used.

Working Out With Kindness Can Be Exhausting

(so rest is important, too)

So kindness appears to be growing, in this household.  I think what’s “taking” in me, finally and at long last, is this twist on the old proverb:

Listening Unto Myself As I Would Have Others Listen Unto Me

So what has that looked like?

It seems to me that the first step is awareness:  As a first proposition, a forthright  acknowledgment of what’s really going on in me.  Good, bad, ugly.  Whatever.  No fighting, no flight, no denial, no judgment – just – recognizing what is.

I mean awareness in the body.  If the muscle of kindness is torqued or cramped, the body has the scoop, writ large in the headlines.  The body never lies in that respect.  What’s required, with that kind of cramp, is receptivity:  calm, caring, nonjudgmental, nonstriving attentiveness.  An attitude of curious openness.

This not always a fun exercise, when I’m afraid of what I might find.  Do find.

It’s still essential to do it.  Moshe Feldenkrais said:  Before we can do what we want, we must first know what we’re doing.  Pema Chödrön says:  Start where you are.

Things must become known, first.  They can be, in the atmosphere engendered by, say, meditation.  Or the FELDENKRAIS METHOD®.  Or in being listened-to and supported by one skilled in the empathy of NONVIOLENT COMMUNICATION.  In that kind of environment, absent judgment, pressure, or meddling – simply recognizing what’s being communicated by the body, the feelings, the emotions – things can step out from the shadows into daylight. The situation can calm down.  Things can move through.  Eventually.

Once that’s cleared up – then one can think about developing the muscle of kindness.  Real kindness.  The one that’s based in real feeling.  That’s the topic I think I’ll tackle next.  In the meantime:

Bugs isn’t too bothered one way or the other.

About nadbugs

Anita loves cats. This must be because she, too, has had nine lives. She’s been dancing since she could walk, she was a commercial artist and advertising producer, she earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, she is a drummer with the Afrique Aya Dance Company, she is an attorney, and she’s a meditator and a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. She also spent one lifetime sidelined with a devastating back injury in 1992. Since then – FELDENKRAIS METHOD® to the rescue. The FELDENKRAIS METHOD is all about dreaming concretely – thinking intelligently and independently by way of a gracious and kind physicality. The work affords all who study it a process by which to reach, with movement, into the mind and the heart, to make nine lives into one whole being.
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11 Responses to Listening Unto Myself

  1. Too tired out from the “big holiday” to be as insightful as you. (Yeah, yeah…I’m never as insightful as you!) But I am appreciating you both very much. Thank you for sending your loving kindness out here through cyberspace and making this world a better place. Ahhh, Bugs is so wise: relax and enjoy!

  2. You know why I like animals so much? No big frontal cortex to get in the way of being true to yourself.

  3. IsobelandCat says:

    Sounds like a good starting point for the new year. I agree that reflection, kindness and consideration can be exercised like muscles until we use them unknowingly. That is how we can teach our children.
    I love your running black cats. How do you do that?

    • nadbugs says:

      Teaching children kindness. I’ve never tried that, but it sure sounds like a good idea . . . . The running black cats are the simplest things in the world. I found them on some free-clipart site or other, downloaded them — and off they go. That’s it. Glad to see you here, Isobel. Love your blog.

  4. Pingback: A Thousand Words | catself

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