For those of you who want nothing more than to look at pictures of my lovely boys, as they enjoy moments of increasing harmony – for those of you who would prefer to skip the Jewish angst that’s also been going down around here – I’m thinking of you. Pictures first.
I’m also glad to start this way because I want, just as much as you do, to enjoy their beauty.
For those of you who are interested in my own rather less-than-beautiful process of working through angst, I follow with words about that. But first – pictures of harmony.
Can’t you just feel that?
Given and received.
Light and shadow. Bugs’s inner tabby emerges.
Bugs is OK enough with this to let it be.
I missed the shot I really wanted – of Barney politely curled up nearby, simply watching Bugs play with the treat-toy. When I got up to try the shot, Barney retreated to the door. Still. Let this stand for the principle that Barney has great dignity and, in that dignity, he is learning to let Bugsy have his space.
Now here’s where things go – well, a bit pear-shaped.
Despite all the pictorial evidence above, I have felt myself becoming increasingly stressed – even despite Bugsy’s clean bill of health at the vet’s in last Friday’s thunderstorm. From time to time over the weekend the boys still fought tooth and claw, and I found myself less and less able to tolerate it.
This past Tuesday, at my monthly women’s meeting, my women helped me find the first insight. We were discussing a person we all have found extremely challenging. I realized that that person and I share the exact same issue: We both have become convinced, via harsh life-experiences we endured early on, when we lacked the ability and resources to cope with that harshness in a mature fashion, that the only way we’re going to be understood is if we demand that understanding from others.
Because we have had essentially no faith that we’re going to get that understanding unless we fight to the death for it, fight we do. We will go to the mat to make demands of others. Unfortunately, with that kind of attitude, absence of understanding from others is almost guaranteed. That is not the way to ask for understanding, such that others are disposed to give it freely and authentically.
An additional problem she and I apparently share is that we both have forgotten that while others’ support and encouragement is absolutely vital to one’s own well-being, the essential first step is that we ourselves recognize our own job: To reach an understanding of ourselves.
That is very difficult to do, when one’s in such pain one’s acting in a way that others don’t enjoy and don’t respond well to.
This meeting I’m talking about occurred at the home of my friend with whom I left Fangie’s bed, as, last month, my women helped me transition through the overwhelming grief close in time to Fangie’s death.
At the time a reader of this blog wondered why I would leave Fangie’s bed there. I wasn’t sure, at the time. It just felt right.
Now I know why. This meeting I felt a bit of Fangie’s spirit watching over us, as we worked through this difficult material. Here is what Fangie’s bed looks like, on the top shelf there:
Cheerful. Warm. Jazzy. Alive.
And Fangie was a part of this insight because I recalled how, demand as I might when Fangie lay dying, my demand would not be granted: That Fangie stay with us.
My friend Kim said it, later on the phone: Death requires the ultimate yielding. With death, demands cut no ice. Death prevails, demand or no.
The next insight I got is also thanks to Kim. In her compassionate cat-savvy presence, I came to understand that I was in great pain, I could not stand, watching Bugsy grieve. I could not stand not knowing how he was grieving and what I could possibly do to reach him – when he was acting in a way I found disconnecting, walking away from me, crying in that pitiful voice, declining all my attempts to play or even just to sit together with him.
And the worst was the fighting.
I have come to love Barney so much – his calm openness, his affectionate nature, his dignity, and the air of wisdom he conveys. But Bugsy was, from time to time, having none of it. Bugsy was either punching Barney around in a tetchy snotty domineering fashion – or he was ill-temperedly punching away Barney’s attempts to play with him.
I simply could not stand watching that. I could not help feeling angry that Barney so doesn’t deserve that kind of treatment, that Bugsy is such a “problem boy,” and that no matter what I do with him, it just doesn’t seem to measure up.
Needless to say, the insight to be got here: This is my problem. Not Bugsy’s.
I got that, in conversation with Kim. And lord knows the very last thing I want to be doing is adding to Bugsy’s discomfort.
So after, this morning, I‘m so glad to say I feel nothing but quiet affection for Bugs, and the clear and sincere hope that, with time, he will come to feel more comfortable.
So this morning, at this moment at least, I have stopped contributing to the angst around here. And needless to say, this morning Bugsy appears to be in a much-eased state of mind.
Quiet reigns. I can get some work done. I can stop to take in the incredible early fall weather we’re having here.
I can be at peace. Barney’s advice is taking hold.
Hey Barnes. Once more, with feeling:
This inner peace. With practice, Grasshopper, it can be yours, too.
The cats are mirroring as always, being the teacher when the student is ready or not.Glad to hear there is progress.
Thank you, Layla. I’m relieved too. It’s been so rough.
I’m so glad to hear that you are surrounded by people who truly seem to understand. I feel for you in your loss and am very pleased to hear that, today, you have managed to find some peace.
Thank you, LongLife. I am totally appreciative of my little tribe. Amazed at their beauty and care. Again thank you for your caring words. I really appreciate you.
I love this post!
Oh my dear Anita. What a road you’ve had recently. I would like to come back and write more a little later. For now, just wanted you to know I’m here. Again. Still. (!)
Hugs, Lahgitana. Always hugs for you.
Your writing is so wonderful. I have a feeling Fangie has a paw in some of the goings on over there. I know I am still guided by my Fisher, and I am pretty sure she will hover around until she is convinced she can let me go on my own and I will not do something really stupid.
SNORT. We really should straighten ourselves out, shouldn’t we. We’re holding them up from their little nirvana. That isn’t right!
Love, love, LOVE this post, Anita! I think your spirit has grown 3 sizes in the last several weeks…feels that way to me, anyway. Our critters are a gift, given to us so that we may learn something, most usually about ourselves. I hear that YOU hear what Fang was & is trying to share with you, what Bugs & now Barney are trying to share with you. You’re gettin’ it and it’s SO cool to share & support! I’m just so very proud of you for continuing to grow, even in the face of adversity. SO very proud!! ❤ U!
Wow. A million thanks, dear Marcy. I am really touched by you.
For some reason I am visualising Edvard Munch – I expect you can guess why. I believe angst was invented by a Dane who probably wasn’t a Jew, but having lived amongst Jews in Israel I realise that they do angst so awfully well … and for a good reason! With regard to Bugsy, let Barney do his thing. He seems very wise and he will overcome and so will Bugs …. and so will you xox
Oh interesting, CAT — you were in Israel! I’m smiling at your saying we have a lock on angst for good reason. It’s true, isn’t it. So nice to see that appreciated. But that said, we all have reason for angst, really . . . . Except Barney. I have never seen such an angst-free being. Wise, as you say. What a wonder, that we have found him.
Stunning pictures Great insight & wisdom
Thank you, Annie, for all you say. Being appreciated for the pictures, and the content, is why I do this. So what you say is completely satisfying for me. It’s wonderful you’re here.
You’re really putting yourself through the wringer. I know it’s hard to understand, but Bugsy will recover faster than you will, not because he didnt care, but because he, being a kitty, will live in the hear and now better than we humans ever can.
The fighting between the guys, probably some play, some ‘who’s the boss’, some getting to understand each other.
But yes, head toward the peace, away from the worry, as much as you can!
Step by step, Andrea, I do think that’s the key . . . . thank you for your reassurance.
Oh, the relief! What a wonderful post. Both pictures and words. I like to be company to your growth and understanding. Thanks for allowing me that. Hugs to you!
And hugs to you, dear Ivy. I’m so glad we’re connecting like this. Every single time!
So beautiful. xoxo
Absolutely gorgeous photos…
(((purrs to you)))
Glogirly & Katie
Oh Glogirly, how great to see you here. You know how much I admire you, right? It’s been too long. I have to hop over and see what you’re up to.
My friend… we understand your grief. We still feel it for our Inigo. I am happy to see the boys getting along so well. It’ll come in time.
Dear Rumbles. One thing that has so helped this process move along for me has been the understanding of those, like you, who’ve been here before me. I’ve been dropping in over at your place for an awfully long time now, and I don’t remember meeting Inigo . . . so this means you’re writing about a loss that happened quite a while ago and you still mourn.
A moment of silence for this mourning.
One friend assures me we never get over this. The grief may soften, but it is always there. I believe that. And oddly enough, as painful as it is, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Another friend says it’s a tribute to the beauty that was there.
Thank you for inspiring me with your presence, and for helping me recall these other friends’ presence as well.
Barney has taken to extending his (huge baseball-mitt) paw and touching my cheek ever so gently. I’m sending as many cheek-touches your way as you would enjoy.
When you’re at peace, your cats will be at peace.
You’re working so hard, Don’t be so stressed or worried. Your cats will feel it too.
Everything is going to be alright in the end, Beans. 🙂 Just like with Fangs and Bugs.
Thank you as ever, dear Dianda.
Ta Sweetie!!!! SOOOOOO glad you are feeling better. xxoo
Thanks to you!
Hugs. And I’m sorry but how can anyone stay stressed when that big bushy tail is around?
I know. It’s a tough job. But I’m up to it. But seriously — is that not a tail to be reckoned with?
The photo’s are very cute and I’m so happy you finally find some peace in the situation and you’ll find that peace back in your beautiful cats 🙂