The Cook Awakening


February 7, 2019
Posted in: Grief, Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Life on Life's Terms, Living with Health Challenges, Spiritual Practice

I hear it often. “I want to do more in my life. I want to go deeper. But, when I try, I end up feeling overwhelmed and I can’t do anything!”

Whether you have a diagnosis or not, often our expectations and desires are more than our bodies can live up to. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash!” (Originally from the film Top Gun.)

When you live with a health challenge, or are grieving a loss, things are different than for most of the people you know who have busy lives and seem to keep up just fine. Yes, acceptance of that fact is a good thing to aspire to. But, “acceptance” often ends up looking like a kind of dreary resignation when it’s on the ground running. Where’s the joy in that?

Nuitie Sweetie a few minutes after death

Our beloved Nuit, a 15 year old kitty, died a couple of weeks ago. She was not a flashy, smart, energetic cat. She was sweet, compliant, sometimes grumpy, and full of purrs when she was snuggled. And, she had a few chronic health conditions. Her thyroid was over active, she had arthritis in her shoulders, she had high blood pressure (probably related to her thyroid condition). And, more recently, something was putting pressure on her lungs, probably either a mass or fluid build up around her heart. In the end, her breathing pattern was more like panting than anything.

Nuit didn’t have an ego to tell her she should be keeping up with her brother Pumpkin who is still able to get himself through the cat door at will. She didn’t feel “less than” because our dog Jazz runs up and down Mt Tabor on the daily. There’s nothing useful about comparing oneself to anyone else. Comparison can drag us into a quagmire of self doubt. I’ll just leave that statement there to contemplate. There’s something else I want to highlight in this article, though.

I think, if we’re listening to our hearts, what we really want in life is fulfillment, connection, and a feeling of being alive. Love. The truth is, those things don’t only come from being active and busy. I’m not knocking being active and busy, when there’s energy for that and the activities are nourishing.

Nuit, or Nuitie Sweetie as we called her often, brought us such joy. She didn’t do much in her later years other than move between her bed, her food bowl, the litter box, and our arms. She taught our two boys compassion and gentleness. Truth be told, she taught my husband that, too — he was grumpy about the vet bills when her health declined, and grumbled some things I won’t repeat. We began to just drop her in his arms every night. Before too long, he fell in love with her, and began to pick her up on his own, joking about the wet spots on his sleeve as she’d purr and drool.

I think Nuit felt connected, fulfilled, and alive in her last years. I know she felt love. She was definitely NOT active and accomplishing a lot.

When I really think about when I feel connected, fulfilled, alive, and love (not to be confused with IN LOVE like when you have a romantic partner), it’s usually when I slow down. I might have a sense of pleasant accomplishment when I’ve had a busy day and a lot was completed. But, the quieter feelings of connection, fulfillment, life, and love tend to shine through the gaps in busy-ness.

The Divine shows up most easily in stillness. The Divine is present in all things, but we can often feel it most poignantly in the quieter moments.

It may take some work to change the habits of mind that tell us we can only be fulfilled if we’re “getting things done” and keeping pace with what we perceive is going on in the world around us. But, I encourage you to try out taking a pause in the relentless thoughts that tell you that something different should be happening, something more. What if it were okay to move slowly? What, in fact, if there were great benefit in moving slowly? What if you could use this time to tell your near and dear how much you love them, purr and drool on their sleeve a little bit? (As much as they’ll tolerate, of course.)

What if taking the time to have a cup of tea and just notice the beauty of the sunshine or the grey sky or the snow or blustery stormy weather were a great blessing of connection? And, what if not having the energy to do more than that, was actually an opportunity to finally, completely have permission to be still, noticing what’s true in this moment, and know it’s enough? Our culture puts such pressure on us to produce.

But, the Divine shows up most easily in stillness.

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 7th, 2019 at 5:20 pm and is filed under Grief, Integrating Lifestyle Changes, Life on Life's Terms, Living with Health Challenges, Spiritual Practice. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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