For most of my life, I’ve considered myself a ‘dog’ person. Anyone that has ever co-habitated with a furry friend knows that we often label ourselves as the animal we most favor, as if we actually ARE that animal. I find it funny, endearing and strange all at the same time.
But, I never would have imagined EVER calling myself a ‘cat’ person, especially after being traumatized as a child when I first heard a cat in heat!
But thankfully I’ve opened my heart and have had the most precious and transformational experience with our cat Cojo (he was originally my husband, Rich’s, cat). It was a toss up at first-who was staying, Cojo or me, given I wasn’t YET a ‘cat’ person.
Not only have Cojo and I become best of buds, but I have learned many life lessons from furry friend.
1)Ask for what you need and desire
Cojo has shown me the ease one can bring to expressing needs and desires very openly, without hesitation. For him, whether its food or water or even to not be bothered in the moment, he expresses in the best way he knows how. It’s ok to ask for what we need.
2) Express appreciation often
I always know that no matter what I do for Cojo, whether its feeding him or scratching his back or cleaning his litter (ok let’s be real, Rich cleans his litter) he always has a way of showing his appreciation. It always reminds me how simple yet how powerful a simple thank you can be in the quality of our life with others.
3) Be playful
Cojo is now 10 years old, and lets just say he’s not quite as nimble as he once was and we noticed he likes to lounge about quite a bit more than he used to do (I can relate to that). However, we recently acquired a new little feline friend for him, Vindaloo, who is quite the acrobat and instigator. Cojo has revitalized his playful, youthful self and clearly enjoys the unexpected company. When we allow others to express play, fun and joy, it lightens our world and reminds me that it’s never to late to play.
4) Be open and vulnerable
Cojo often lies on the floor, on his back, with legs all splayed open, showing his underbelly. This is a very vulnerable position for him. He will sometimes stay like that and let me gently scratch his belly. Being open, showing our true colors and allowing someone into our vulnerable world is a heart opening experience to which nothing compares.
5) Be Still
We often call Cojo the Buddha Kitty. It’s truly astounding how still, focused yet aware he seems to be (and as you can see from the photo, he often will sit in what looks like his version of half lotus). There are times when in the hurriedness of life, I’ll glance at him and notice he’s watching me. His look, his stillness reminds me to take a deep breath, there’s nothing needing to be chased and the preciousness of life is right now, in this moment.
6) Tune into others and show compassion
I am consistently astounded by the compassion, energy and awareness that Cojo seems to bring to us. A few years ago, in the middle of the night, I was hit with some food poisoning. Needless to say it startled everyone. Not only was Rich there to support me as I paid homage to the porcelain throne, but I looked down to see little fluffy Cojo standing between my legs with a look of concern. Amazing. He sits with us when we meditate and seems to know when we need to be quiet and still. He’s always there for me if I’m upset. Tuning into other’s emotions, showing compassion and lending support (or just a sweet expression) is often all we need to move through the tough moments in life.
It never ceases to amaze me how connected we can be to all of the life around us. I’m eternally grateful for the gifts and lessons Cojo has given me.