Our cat is 15 years old and is acting in a way that makes us think he is becoming demented. He gets really confused around his food, acting hungry but when he's fed he won't eat. It's almost like he forgets that he is hungry by the time his food is prepared. He just walks away. So we follow him, placing the food in front of him. He might walk away again. We place it in front of him again. And then he eats. (This is just one expression of his dementia.)
Once he starts eating if we walk away it distracts him so he quits eating and follows us. We place the food in front of him, he will begin eating again. Sometime he won't eat unless we hold the bowl of food in our hands. It's a constant guessing game.
This unfolding of life is not what I expected, not what I assumed, not what I thought I wanted. “What a hassle.” “I don't have time for this.” These were 'my' thoughts, the board on my shoulder. But when I sit with him when he eats, when I hold his bowl, a very sweet and tender feeling arises in my heart. I feel so connected to my little cattums. This feeling is good for my cat and good for me and good to my cat and good to me. Good for and to the heart, by coming from the heart. Here is where direction and meaning are found. Love for the sake of love. So much better than being irritated or hurried or whatever.
There is a very nice practice. Remember a time when you were cruel or mean or thoughtless. Recreate it vividly in your imagination. Feel what this experience feels like emotionally, physically, spiritually. Then remember a time when you were kind or gentle or considerate. Recreate it in your imagination as well, again connecting with the emotions and physical and spiritual sensations. Which one feels better in your heart?
Life as life is beautiful, poignant, tragic, wild, curious. Let's bring our own qualities andn appreciations of beauty, poignancy, tragedy, wildness, and curiosity. In this way, life is amazing. Life is full. Life is good.