Mindfulness is the practice of “being present” or paying attention, which originates from Eastern meditation practices. Mindfulness is possibly best described as bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment to moment basis. Since our cat, Pickle, joined our household she has been a great source of joy and inspiration. Here are 7 things my cat taught me about mindfulness…
Take Time For Naps
Taking time to roll over and nap is something we grow out of. Pickle has taught me that there is always time for a nap. That might mean a Sunday afternoon snooze on the sofa or just an extra half an hour in bed. Taking time to nap is a blissful way to recharge and to allow ourselves to just succumb to relaxation in all its glory.
Pickle loves to savour every mouthful of her food. Nutritious food is an important part of cat care, nutrition is as important pets as it is for us. Taking time to enjoy our food and really taste every bite is vital for our wellbeing. Pickle loves to drink water a sip at a time and slowly crunch her way through her biscuits. This is a great lesson to learn, chewing our food means we absorb more nutrients, it also means that it is much easier to fully digest and there’s less excess bacteria lingering around in our gut. Eating slowly can be a form of meditation too.
Focus On What Makes You Happy
Pickle loves rolling around with small soft toys and chasing shadows. When she is chasing shadows, she is completely focused. She loves to chase shadows of plants and will spend a long time playing. This is a great life lesson, that if something brings you joy and happiness, no matter how silly may seem, it is worth spending time doing it. Make time for play and laughter, life shouldn’t be taken too seriously!
Be In The Moment
For Pickle every moment means a new adventure, dinner or a nap. When she is not sleeping, she is occupying herself with play or looking for her next mealtime. No matter what she is doing, she is always living in the present. She doesn’t worry about what time it is, her schedule or what tomorrow brings. I think we could all learn to have a little more of that attitude in our lives. It’s easy to get swept away with our anxieties, worrying about tomorrow or what the future holds. Next time you realise you’re doing this, try to come back to the present. Feel gratitude and thanks for the present moment. Be more cat.
Find Your Comfort Zone
We’re often told to get our of our comfort zone and yes of course that is advisable sometimes. However, as Pickle has taught me, it is often good to just find a comfy spot and curl up. Find a warm spot next to the fire or a soft blanket and just be happy in that moment of comfort and calm. Pickle can find comfort even in the most unlikely places, like a paper shopping bag, a cardboard box or on top of a pile of clean laundry (!) Which is another life lesson, that even if your environment is not perfectly comfortable, say for example: your in the middle or a home renovation– try to recognise that there is still comfort to be found.
Slowing down can be tough in our fast-paced modern world. If you do less, you can usually find that it is easier to slow down. Pickle keeps busy with playing and activities, like chasing string or trying to catch birds that land on the balcony. She very rarely comes to sit on your lap, but when she does, it really teaches you to slow down and just enjoy that moment.
Go Your Own Way
Cats are very independent. Pickle has her very own special way about doing things. One of the greatest things cats can teach us is to be ourselves and create our own adventures.
“Cat people are different from dog people. We must accept that felines are independent, and also cherish the moments when our cat curls up and starts to purr. Cats make it easy to be mindful.”-Nancy Scanlan, Executive Director of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation.
With practice, you can learn to slow down or reduce the brain chatter and automatic or habitual reactions, experiencing the present moment as it really is. Cats are great teachers in helping us to practice mindfulness in our everyday.
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