Creatures Great and Small

Continuing in last time’s theme of choosing what feels good, instead of submitting to Strict Father’s demands — On the importance of balance, both emotional and physical —

As the season turns, it feels good and balanced to meditate on small beings finding their place. Like this bright green grasshopper, suspended in a froth of flowering grass.

medley4-002medley4-004-cropOr this little one, finding a questionable place in the handle on my car-door.

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I read recently that Moshe Feldenkrais, the founder of the method that bears his name, often talked about the importance of finding some action or activity that is aesthetically pleasing. That good feeling could be generalized into other areas of life.

Instead, we humans have been trained (and we train other species likewise, more’s the pity) to rely on outside authority and rote behaviors. These are stifling and, worse, they are unreliable. They’re too “heady,” too theoretical. They’re not grounded in humane functional rationale. For example, I mean the idea that “good” behavior has to be enforced by means of fear and domination.

Surely using aesthetic feeling as a standard is more sensible, more welcoming of creativity, spontaneity, and the conditions that create real learning instead of mere submission.

In our daily clicker-training, the cats and I have progressed into the car and, slightly outside the car, with car-doors slamming. Calmly and with no freak-out.

medley7-001-csPlus, I paid a solo visit to our friendly vet, who, using a toy tiger, gave me a run-down on how she examines the cats. So now I’m incorporating these moves in the training, so the cats become accustomed to being handled that way. Every day, a little more – from inviting the cats up on cue to the dedicated mat I’ll bring to the vet when we go, to chin-up-bare-your-gums, and eventually working downward to the nether ends.

medley5-007medley5-001

I love this clicker-training caper, for the boys and for myself as well. I love how it invites the self-awareness that leads to aesthetic pleasure. Where do I position myself to pick up the crate, so I don’t strain my back. How gracefully can I negotiate the various doors, so I don’t bang the crates into them and the doors don’t bang behind me. Am I breathing fully. Am I paying attention to all these things, all of which matter: Balance, calm, ease, grace.

The cool weather brings us together.

Bugs is asleep by the window.

medley8-003Barney is his wise and good self, always, as in this portrait, except when he slips a wing-nut and tears around the house knocking things over. Like lamps.

medley8-002And how about this – a new person has moved onto the farm, together with her lovely little Arabian Sasha.

medley2-004

The best part is that Sasha’s human welcomes me to do clicker-training. I can’t believe the fun. Yesterday, in the cool of the evening, Sasha recognized the target, again and again and with exuberance. This, where, in our four previous sessions, she had seemed oblivious, puzzled, or just emphatically uninterested.

Maybe it’s the cooler weather. Less flies. Or maybe she’s learning! See Alexandra Kurland’s introductory blogs, here and here and here and here.

Whatever it is . . . . it’s . . .

joy.

catrun

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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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3 Responses to Creatures Great and Small

  1. Connie says:

    the first photo reminded me of ice storm photos.. I adore the photo of the toad

  2. I have the clicker and 5 or 6 books on training cats – I just have to start and am not sure how but I will figure it out. I want to train two my cats to go to the vet without freaking out and to be examined without having to be sedated. My vet has wished me luck. smile………

  3. Pingback: Thanks Return | catself

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