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Gratitude

I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of my sick cat howling.  In the living room I discovered he had peed, yet again, on my furniture, this time my favorite chair. The vet said it was kidney failure, but we could “buy some time” with a special diet.   I was clinging to that thread, because this cat had been with me for 15 years. Rather than face the fact that he was dying, I kept thinking thinking thinking about every other problem in my life:  I’ll never sell my house. My own health is deteriorating. I’m getting old. I don’t earn enough money. Why is my brother not talking to me? On top of all this, it was almost Christmas and several long-dead relatives popped up to give me a big hit of the Christmas blues.  As the cat’s health went quickly down hill, my negative mind also gained momentum.  This had been going on for a few weeks.

After another nearly sleepless night, I woke up and discovered cat had pee on the TV stand.  He was in pain, and I was miserable. It was finally time.

At the vet’s office I managed to keep it together for a while. But when the vet took him out of the cage, he tried to hold on with his paws.  “Wait,” I thought, “he still wants to live.”   I had a terrible moment of panic and despair. And then it was over. He was gone.  Now it was OK to cry.  I got in the car and let it out.  I was not just crying for my cat, but for all the pain that had stuck to my psyche lately.  I was releasing the sadness of losing so many people I had loved, and my loneliness, and the fears I have for my future.  So much sadness, so much fear, there seemed to be no end to it. But of course there was an end, and I managed to drive home.
I lay on the couch and felt sweetness surrounding me.  I knew my cat was at peace, and suddenly so was I. I felt as if I had been dipped in sacred waters, my own tears.  I found myself saying thank you, thank you, thank you.

That night I had a very long meditation and again kept saying thank you.  I no longer felt alone.  I felt in touch with my own soul, and with a presence higher than myself. I was able to think clearly without the burden of all those negative thoughts pulling me into depression.  Thoughts of the beauty of life and the beauty of death flooded me, and I could move on.  I could also see reality again – my brother does actually love me, he’s just too busy to call. The house will sell eventually. My health is not all that bad.

I realized how much my negative thoughts affect my whole outlook on life.  Next time, when negativity comes knocking at my door, hopefully I will remember to say “not now” and find something positive to be grateful for.  But I also believe we need to go through the process of grief even though it usually triggers other buried sadness in our lives. We have to go through it to reach the other side.
For the time being I feel the peace and go to the window facing west to see a magnificent sunset and say, “Thank you.”

R.L.B, Sebastian, FL

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