I’ve never been a cat person, but when I married my husband, I knew that his eccentric, very talkative cat was part of the package. And let me start by saying, it’s a great package…even with his cat. I love this plump, cuddly, chatty gal, but she’s got issues. Or as my husband likes to eloquently put, “Having a personality is a double-edged sword.”
Milly has personality indeed. She meows…a lot. Most of her meowing and protesting is centered around food. When is the food coming? Can I get more food now? How about now? I get up to walk to the bathroom and she bounds for the food bowl. Every movement made in the general direction of the food bowl results in the cat sprinting like she’s on fire. When she discovers that you are not, in fact, feeding her, she will find you. She will let you know that THIS. WILL. NOT. STAND. Or at least that’s what I think, “MEeeeoooooo-OW-WOWOWOWOWO” means in cat speak.
Today, I was trying to record a new meditation (about frustration, ironically), and the cat was wailing. I walk to the living room, and she’s standing in front of the front door, head pointed to the sky and howling. I stand and watch as she starts trying to pry the door open with her paws as if to say, “There is no food here. We must hunt to survive!” I call her away from the door, and she runs to the food bowl to sit very lady-like and wide-eyed. It’s as if proper cat posture and stillness can make food magically appear. (If only Milly…If only.)
I remembered that I was trying to record and write this meditation on dealing with irritation and frustration, and here I was staring at my binge-eating, crying cat and not feeling very meditative at all. I take a deep breath and crouch down in front of her, and ask as calmly as possible, “What do you need?”
“Purrrr.” She bonks her head against my knee.
“What do you need?”
“PurrrrrRrrrr.” She flops over to show me her belly.
I pet her. I feel calmer, and she purrs. Thinking that she’s perfectly happy with a few pets and cuddles, I rise to walk into the other room, and she darts in front of me and stands in protest, “MwrwAAAAAAOW!”
I crouch down, and ask her in the vain hopes of becoming the cat whisperer, “What do you need?”
I look into the eyes of this creature, and no response comes. I sometimes like to imagine her brain is just a tiny mouse on a hamster wheel chasing some cheese. As she looks at me, I see that hamster wheel turning, but I just don’t have a clue what she’s trying to say. And God bless this cat, because despite my horrible job at understanding her, she keeps trying to tell me something. I may be frustrated at her incessant crying, but she’s probably way more irritated with me. I’m the one who doesn’t know what “MmmrrrOOEEOOOOOOOW” means.
I fed her. It’s more than what the vet says she’s supposed to eat on her new diet, but I’d be pretty pissed if people started scheduling my meals for me, too. Now, my home is silent. She has tucked herself into bed and working on getting her 20 hours of sleep in today, and she is no longer frustrated. Most importantly, I’m not frustrated. I was able to continue my recording of my meditation…until I accidentally deleted it…which was infuriating.
That’s kind of the way of it though. You set out to educate people on their anger, and there just happens to be a lot of crap around to get angry about. I can say I’ve learned a bit about being frustrated today. Mostly:
- Instead of wishing your environment to change for you, take charge and change it yourself.
- Stop, breathe, and listen.
- Recognize if you are in one of those “accept the things I cannot change” moments, the time is now to roll over like a big hungry cat, show the world your belly and surrender.
- Pick your battles. (Cats can cry all day. You CANNOT wait them out.)
- Compromise. (Seriously, you’ve got better shit to do.)
- Don’t worry about getting it perfect because chances are you will get plenty of chances to do this all again. (OMG, I cannot believe I deleted that.)
If you would like help with your own frustration, by someone who is also frustrated, have a listen:
Or check out my other meditations on the Practice page.
Breathe, baby. We’re going to be okay.