My last blog was about a trapped bird and the analogy I realized about the trapped parts of ourselves and how we all really want to sing our unique song we have, just like a happy bird.
Today I cannot resist another animal story and its meaning for me.
Last year a remarkable cat adopted my girl friend and me. My girl friend named him Melvin. Sometimes he actually comes when his name is called. He is really half dog, as he has enormous qualities of loyalty to us, great affection and eagerness to be with us. He even takes walks with us like a dog. The first time he did this we walked for a mile, and he followed us the whole way.
Anyway, this cat is amazingly present. The first time I met him and looked into his eyes I said, “Whoa, there is really something going on in there, isn’t there?” He sits with us and reaches out gently to touch our arm or hand with his paw, and he wants to be petted, which he savors with his entire being. He purrs like a freight train. I think of him basically as love and wisdom in a fur coat.
Melvin is quite a talker, and he has a variety of expressions and sounds he makes. I learned a lot about this trait from a previous cat who had a whole language, complete with intonations, definitive sounds, questioning sounds, and so on. Melvin is quite similar.
Early one morning recently I put water in the tea kettle and put it on the stove at less than full heat so I could go out into the garage for a few minutes and not have the kettle disturb my girl friend. Melvin came with me to the garage. When I was done there I said, “Hey Melvin, do you want to take a walk?” We headed off on a walk.
As I said, Melvin is a talker, but this time he talked and talked while walking behind me. I finally stopped and said, “What are you trying to tell me?” And bang, it hit me. I had forgotten about the kettle! We both ran back to the house to rescue the kettle. I swear to God Melvin knew. He had never talked so much in his life, and he was definitely trying to get my attention with great persistence.
This could sound strange to some people, and I know it makes perfect sense to others. My point in sharing the story is to remind myself and to share how rewarding and expansive it can be to pay attention to little, subtle and not-so-subtle signals in life. I know that when I listen more than speak and I really put effort into listening with all of me, I am usually rewarded with deeper connection with others and a deeper sense of connection with life in general. Little gifts of knowledge and help just show up. My heart feels expanded. I appreciate life more. I am also giving thanks for the animals in our lives.
I know a woman named Shari Goodwin with works with executive leadership training using her horses. It is all about working with subtlety with intention and building confidence in the power of our intentions and focus. That is a very quick description, but she is passionate and successful in helping others. Her new book is called Take the Reins!: 7 Secrets to Inspired Leadership. She trains people to connect with her horses and influence their behavior through focused intention. My girl friend took a group training session with her and saw this work. Here is Shari’s website: www.jaeger2.com
My life is definitely enriched because of animals over the years. I have learned a lot and been expanded through them. Five other adults and I saw my dog Simba years ago break up a fierce and scary dog fight with a two-second scolding growled right into the ears of the fighters. Both dogs were bigger than he was. His growl said simply but with ultimate authority, “Knock it off!” End of fight. Period. Both combatants immediately backed off and walked away in silence in opposite directions. I looked at Simba in stunned silence and thought, “I have to find out who you are.” Finally, one woman said, “Did we really just see what we think we saw?” Simba’s remaining fourteen years on earth were a remarkable journey for me, and for the two of us. He changed my life. He lived life with enormous zest, confidence and sense of mission.
These days Melvin is the great gift in my life from the animal world. The little guy continues to amaze me.