Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nothing beyond the back porch

Yesterday was one of those oddly rare days when everything comes to a standstill. You drop what you're doing and just wait. We waited while our cat waited to die.

As each team of parent and child was about to leave for various destinations, one observant daughter remarked that the cat was still on the porch and looking a bit lethargic. I had heard him trying to hurl a hairball – that unearthly yowl – earlier. Now, he was hunkered down in a corner. I sat beside him and started to pick him up when I noticed the urine. So I let him be and we started to watch, putting aside whatever it was we had intended to do.

His condition worsened and the wrangling began. He's almost 17 and, while struggling, did not seem to be suffering. We all still tasted the bitterness of our last elderly cat dying alone in a cage at the vet, the place she reviled. I knew picking him up, placing him in a box or carrier and transporting him to a clinic was not in his best interest. I didn't think he'd survive the journey, but was uncomfortable making the decision alone. We called everyone together and all agreed he was likely dying, but not in pain. He seemed in transition. And we wanted him home and surrounded by our loving, vigilant care. The same he had given as the newborns whimpered, when he'd circle my legs and cry to get my attention to attend to the baby. Or when I was sick and he'd plop on my bed. Or just a few weeks ago when he seemed to suck the pain from my old hip injury.

Prayerful discernment was NOT at all clear to take him anywhere. We quietly said our goodbyes; some more publicly than others.

All afternoon and evening, we muted our noisiness and centered our lives near him, continually checking, speaking softly and, occasionally, stroking his head. He seemed somewhere else.

It was sad, confusing for the girls, trying and exhausting, but there was also something else happening. There was a certain closeness in our togetherness, bound by our ailing feline friend. As if nothing of the outside world existed beyond our back porch. We puttered, read, ate, and even drug the computer out to watch a movie. I sensed he was comforted by our presence from his remote corner.

We barricaded the porch doors, confined his entrance to the kitchen, supplied food, water and bedding and left the back door open. My husband even slept on the living room couch to keep guard – whether of the cat or raccoons, I am not certain.

Then we all attempted to settle into sleep. The girls huddled in one room together and I dozed, waking once-in-a-while wondering if the cat's illness had been a dream, then drowsily remembering it was real.

I met the girls in the bathroom about 7:30 and we ventured down the stairs together, not wanting to be alone in any discovery. We were greeted by my smiling husband, who announced the cat had just eaten and purred as he does every morning.

We were joyously astounded. Secretly, I suspect none of us imagined he'd survive the night.

He's been incredibly hungry and wanting to be touched. We have lovingly complied, yet are still watching, giving him space and time to recuperate, heal or go wherever he is called.

It was an unusual second day of summer, but a wonderful gift in being called together to patiently wait. I can't help but see the spiritual overtones. I know summer always revs up, catching me off guard and unhappy as the speedometer ratchets up each week. Perhaps, in addition to spending time with our furry one, we were led to slow down and just be. Not rush.

Once again, this wonderful, elderly cat we affectionately call Him Kitty has facilitated a loving offering.

• What's it like to accompany sickness, grief or even death?
• How is that if experienced in community or with others? 
• In dropping all else, have I been aware of some joy, comfort, gift or insight?
• How has that changed me?
• What has that kind of experience taught me about awareness? 

out the


my furry

who asks
for so
so much


not ask

so, we
and tend

for we
brought us

this day
of waiting

Friday, May 28, 2010

Clawing at myself

You know the adage "When the student is ready, the teacher appears?" That's just happened and I am certain it has before, but I was not so aware.

I have been wrestling with the idea that I fight myself. Mostly physically and I believe it is a root of fibromyalgia. But I know I do on other levels. I am a perfectionist and my own worst critic. Sound familiar?

I mentioned it to my massage therapist/spiritual counselor and he asked me to stand the way I "see" that fighting. I did and it was very revealing. I looked like Kokopelli (the Native-American flute-playing figure) gone beserk. My hands and fingers curved inward, claw-like, my neck was headed toward my chest, my shoulders hunched, my glutes were tight and I stood pigeon-toed.

"You're turning that all on yourself," Gary said. I had not known it was so overt. I am grateful he asked me to demonstrate that pose, however exaggerated. It was a real eye-opener.

Fortunately the next day, I had scheduled a session with an Alexander Technique teacher. She is someone I know through Quaker circles and with whom I feel very comfortable. She had recently posted an explanation of the technique on facebook that really spoke to me of being more free in my movement. Apparently the originator, Frederick Matthias Alexander, spent ten years observing himself in the mirror – his body, how he moved, how he held it – and learned how to connect his mind and body, working them in tandem, and moving with as little energy as possible. That's what I want!

That first lesson, I discovered where movement in my hips originates: the joint, not the bone and not up top like we're taught, but deep down, midway between the hip and pubic bones. I also realized that I don't really use my knees and, when I use those joints, it makes movement so much freer. Of course, it was easy with Jennifer's gentle assistance, but it was also a revelation. Other epiphanies I've had in the two lessons are:
– My pelvis is part of my torso and belongs up, my legs hang down. That has opened so much space in my back. And I can make that happen simply by thinking it. It's not about doing.
– If my neck is free, everything is free.
– I should be aware of patterns, but not judge.
– I have the choice to STOP those patterns.
– If I unconsciously move from one thing to another seeking improvement of any kind, it will only be temporary until I become conscious of my patterns and choose to create new ones. Healthier ones.

I am smitten with this technique because I feel better, sleep like a log (which I haven't done in 10 years), am easier with myself and am making choices to move more freely in all aspects of my life.

It really is about more than just my body.

For so long, I lived in my brain, then discovered there were other places to reside, such as my heart and body. Now it's time to connect all three and find the harmony and balance I crave.

• Where is the resistance in my life? My body?
• How much do I contribute to it?
• Do I ever fight myself?
• How do I reverse that pattern?
• Are my mind and body connected or am I somewhat unconscious about them collaborating?

turned inward
at myself

a pretty



I should
my heart
to the

and use
destruct ...


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The preciousness of sharing

I stood up at a workshop last weekend when asked to tell the people in the room something they don't know about me and said as a twin married to a twin (that wasn't news to some), I don't always like sharing. The person behind me whispered, "Interesting for someone who blogs."

That wasn't the kind of sharing I consciously meant. I was thinking about always splitting a room, a birthday, parents, milestones. Deep down, I think I've regularly pined for something of my own. To be recognized as a single, not just "one of the twins" or Mrs. Barney (it still sounds like someone is referring to my beloved mother-in-law), Autumn's mom or Mary Lou's daughter. Just me. Cathy.

And, as I mentioned I the last post, I do feel on the precipice of change, a place that leaves room for introspection and distance in the awareness alone. [There's that word again, alone. As mildly introverted, I require and relish time to myself to recharge.] I have this detachment that allows me to be more objective than usual and accept the present with less resistance and more gratitude than I typically muster.

Driving home along Route 50 late yesterday afternoon, somewhere between Mariemont and Terrace Park (I couldn't say exactly where as I was daydreaming), the leafiness, bright sky and full clouds reminded me that THIS, now, is the best time of my life.

I know who I am.
I have stability, yet flexibility.
I am beginning to know my children as people.
I have a loving spouse who – mostly – gets me and, at the least, lets me be who I am.
My parents are healthy and enjoying life.
My sisters are in good places.
I am pursuing my dream.
I am constantly creating.
My husband and daughters are, too, so we understand each other.
I don't feel so alone; I know God is within.
I am healing and tapping into new power.
I have wonderful friends – old and new.
I have a spiritual home I adore.
I have a physical home that's my oasis and a studio that's my sanctuary.

In making that list, I realize that the meaning in life comes from sharing. We aren't meant to exclusively be alone. Not one item on the list has happened just because of me or my efforts. They all have occurred in community or because of the support of family and friends. I don't always see it that way, but I do now.

When I felt very alone last year in the midst of bustling Florence, overwhelmingly beautiful art, little English and sparse companionship, I wondered if something has to be experienced with another to have true meaning. Like the premise that if a tree falls in the woods and there's no being to hear it, is there sound? Maybe not quite, but sharing – whether with Spirit, human or animal – adds depth, dimension and a preciousness that being alone lacks.

• How do I feel about sharing?
• What rewards has it brought?
• What challenges?
• What would my life look like, feel like without the imprint of others?
• How does sharing add meaning to me, my life?

three bedrooms
two-and-a-half baths
living room
dining room
a husband
two daughters
two cats

and myself

it sometimes
way too

like I can't
breath or

and, so
I escape
to my
in the

where I

I often
I could
live there


and, then

a poem


the chalk

and I rush
to the 

to tell
my discovery

I have to

it means


Monday, May 24, 2010

Precipice of change

I feel as if I am on the precipice of change and my only job is to savor the moment, enjoy where I am. RIGHT NOW. Not yesterday or tomorrow.

That's big for me. Probably for most of us. So often, I am worrying about what already happened or darting ahead to what has yet to be with no groundedness in the present. Sure, there are periodic moments and I have even experienced phases. Quieter times of slower intention or forced spells of exhaustion.

This time, I am choosing to live here. Observing, participating with much less attachment and effort than usual and getting myself out of the way. A TALL order. I have been this way about five days and have no idea how long it will last. Doesn't matter. I am here now.

Things aren't bothering me as usual. I am not feeling so personally invested, offended, judged or hurt. Stuff that would once have appeared damaging actually feels like a blessing. I am floating here enough to have not checked out, but be disengaged from the usual drama.

I an aware that a series of events preceded this:
– A twinge of new energy creeping into my right hip and leg, penetrating an old wound and tightness  after 12 years.
– A monumental fissure someone else close to me has also experienced.
– New insight into a troubling dynamic thanks to an old book with current wisdom about how some behaviors are just how people are and nothing against or about me.
– A workshop on conflict resolution that insisted that friction is normal, necessary AND creative. It helped me identify how I have reacted in the past and how I can tap my creativity to work in a healthier manner.
– A revelation that I am fighting myself they connect and are happening simultaneously.

There are possibly many more of which I am not currently cognizant. However, my response is one of gratitude to whatever has aligned to bring me here. To the now. To a peacefulness. No matter what the duration.

– How often am I aware of the moment?
– What nudges or nurtures that?
– How much do I get in the way?
– How do I move out of the way?
– What do I have to let go of to reach this place?

sitting on
the edge


a care

the light,

to the

as I
in a

to me

as they

it's only

I can



Friday, May 21, 2010

Patience is part of the process

I've always been a patient person. My mom remembers how I would wait while she fed my twin sister first. I was 27 when I married and 38 when I gave birth. I saved every penny I earned at a part-time job for a year-and-a-half as a down payment on our house. However, my patience is wearing thin right now. How much longer do I have to wait?

TEN YEARS ago, I began a journal, prompted by an art coach. As a former journalist, I'd never considered keeping one. Diaries are a waste of time, I thought. I just wanted the facts, not someone's bothersome musings. One Christmas when I received a chained-and locked diary, I opened to the middle, scrawled the words "I murdered Sid," replaced its golden security system, ditched the key and let it sit, hoping someone would find it years later and want to unravel the mystery.

But in this art workshop, we were strongly nudged to begin writing about our art. Seemed simple enough and, after all, I was a rule follower and wanted to remain in the instructor's good graces. I did what I was told. Slowly it opened a path to my soul because my art expressed the things that really mattered to me. Had I been asked to do that initially, I would have balked. Interestingly, I stumbled upon Quakerism about the same time and learned that Quakers have journaled for most of their 350-plus-year history. I was in good company.

FIVE YEARS ago, I realized I was keeping a journal for words and another of images, describing similar experiences, events and feelings. I recognized they formed a book documenting my spiritual journey and began to assemble it.

FOUR YEARS ago, I developed two websites as a part of a project for School of the Spirit, a two-year Quaker program for spiritual nurture. One [ ww.turtleboxstories.com ] shares others' experiences of the Divine and the other [ www.salonforthesoul.com ] is undeveloped with the goal to create a virtual place to share our hearts.

A YEAR-AND-A-HALF ago, I took up what I had started and left during my earlier child-rearing years, seeing there were two, distinct books documenting each half of my 40s.

A YEAR ago, in a bold, perhaps ridiculous, move I sent it off to Oprah with a beloved turtlebox* in a beautiful purple package ... hoping to attract her attention. I sent a matching postcard every month for six months asking if it had been received.

FOUR MONTHS ago, I initiated this blog as another avenue for sharing my story in the hopes it helps others share theirs.

TWO MONTHS ago, my Quaker meeting publicly supported what I consider my ministry by sending me to a Quaker publishing conference.

LAST WEEK, I sent my first e-mail query to an agent, encouraged by two very successful Quaker writers.

TODAY, I sent six more.

WITHIN FIVE MINUTES, an agent replied, asking for more,

I needed that encouragement. Writing and helping what I write find the right audience can be lonely work, leading to some doubt. However, I realize snagging an agent is another step in the process, well before publishing ever happens. And I am also open to pursuing other routes. It's just that I want it to happen NOW.

* When I originally wrote a paper for School of the Spirit about people's experiences of the Divine, they seemed just too precious to simply print on sheets of paper. I dreamed up the idea of a beautiful art box, which took the shape of a colorful turtle adorned with trinkets. In some cultures, the turtle represents the bridge between heaven (the shell) and earth (the belly), which seemed exactly what they stories told. Since the original, I have made about 35 turtleboxes.

• What happens when I am patient? And when I am not?
• Have I ever been demobilized by it? Or acted rashly?
• For me, where does the balance between waiting and acting lay?
• How does finding that balance affect my doubt or confidence?
• What role does prayer play?

it's been
my whole

one experience,
feeling and
at a time

me even

not even
when I
began to
the journey

now that
I feel
led to

of waiting

and let
the anxiety

is part
of the

even more

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another brick [in the] wall

Ever feel like there's always a wall you hit? Something not necessarily tangible, but rather an invisible obstacle?

I often meet that impediment in the morning trying to get out of bed because that simple action really hurts. Once I do get up, however, the barrier recedes, eventually disappearing. I face it again when I am stressed, overly tired, too busy or pressured. That – for all of us – happens constantly.

Maybe your wall is something else. For me, it's elusive, but never far away.

I've been ruminating on why I feel like the mainstream of our culture rushes in a one-way pattern and just how much energy, gumption, motivation and self-awareness it takes to swim against the current or divert out of it and into a calmer tributary. It exhausts me to even think about it, yet it requires a persistent, intentional action.

I've also been analyzing how I hold my body and why I don't move with the flow and grace I once did – or, at least, imagined. I do in spells, but not consistently. I'm sure age has something to do with it, but I also believe being so indoctrinated in our culture and forgetting what comes more naturally gets harder the farther we gravitate from childhood, when we let our bodies and nature speak more clearly to us.

While my soul searches for its natural place, my body struggles to keep pace. I want my physical self to catch up to my spiritual self or reside in the same vicinity. There is some disembodiment. That's a word I heard repeatedly at a recent conference and often from one particular young woman, who really understood this dilemma. I recall my massage therapist affirming my remark upon returning from an overseas trip that I really didn't feel here yet. He said I had physically traveled too fast for my body to catch up and performed his magic to bring me back together.

I can not keep pace with this world. Our family just returned last night from a 36-hour trip to Michigan for a wedding. It was a wonderful event, but so whirlwind I feel I didn't experience any depth. When we emerged from the car at the church and were immediately embraced by loving family, I could have used some transition from roadtrip grunge, kid-battling and exhaustion to being the loving person who could accept this marvelous gesture. Midway through the Mass, I had.

Modern life just seems to rev up and, at a time, when I am ready to slow down and actually enjoy the ordinary. Like being a kid in a group that stirs up the water in a pool so strongly in one direction, then tries to move in the opposite. It can be done after meeting with a lot of resistance.

I guess my wall is the grain of convention, against which I push, [or it's pushing against my nature] aiming away and toward where my heart and spirit call. Not easy, yet I can't conceive of moving anywhere else.

• Do I ever feel a wall, resistance or obstacle in moving toward where I am called in my life?
• How have I named, examined, removed or tamed it?
• Where do I naturally fit into the mainstream of life?
• Do I ever feel pressured to go with the flow?
• Where has that taken me?

so easy
to get
caught up
in the
wild tide

or is


at times,
less effort
to float

than to
and swim

if the
is my path?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The road less traveled

1) See kids to bus
2) Swim
3) Eat
4) Get to the office
5) Schedule dental appointment
6) Alter dress and pack for the wedding
7) Meet kids after school
8) Homework, etc.
9) Dinner
10) Bed

That was my morning's mental to-do list, which was blown away somewhere between #2 and #4. THANKFULLY.

As I flew into the locker room, blasted open a small-cubby door, I noticed a flash of aqua nylon and flowing light-red hair. Didn't need a second look to recognize Svetlana, my Russian friend, had shown up for laps at the same time today. That has not happened in ages and is how we first met several years ago. In a frosty December when the pool's heater was malfunctioning, we were the die-hards who still chose to swim.

We became fast friends and it has been so absolutely fascinating to know someone the same age who grew up in the communist Soviet Union. We're really not that different and she has dispelled so many propagandistic myths.

She was raised atheist as an only child of engineers in St. Petersburg, is more cultured than anyone I know, well educated, raised her son alone as an economist until Perestroika, when she got by as a tour guide. She remarried and moved to the U.S., but could never get a job in her field. For awhile, she scooped ice cream.

Seems a shame, but maybe I wouldn't have become her friend otherwise.

After our swim today, she invited me over for tea – which we used to do with some regularity. Until I thought my life got too crazy. Tea turned into fruit, cheese, yogurt, cucumbers, Russian cookies and tomato. [She's very aware of my food allergies and only tempted me with the homemade confection.] Accompanied, first, by the birds in her backyard, then her fingers interpreting the theme from Dr. Zhivago, Stephen Foster, Puccini, Dubussy and Jules Massenet. Even the birds chimed in.

Later she was expecting the wife and toddler of an out-of-town friend here on business (she wanted them to escape the hotel for her haven) and preparing dinner to take to another friend. Feeding me on the fly just flowed into her usual rhythm.

Her apartment, from where she walks everywhere, is comfortably stuffed with symphony and ballet programs, Russian and Indian textiles and pottery, a Sahaja Yoga shrine, artwork (including the pastel I gave her one Christmas), assorted sewing projects and her beloved piano. It's such a joy and so peaceful. Somewhere to linger, not rush.

When it was time to leave, she cited a Russian adage about how those who get up early and get their work done, get the blessing. She was referring to the blessing of my company. Yet, all I did was show up at the pool and nod yes when she uttered the invitation.

Still only on #4, but somehow the day seems more special than it started. I was the recipient of the blessing.

• How often do I let my to-do list control me?
• What happens when I don't?
• Can I remember a time when I was pleasantly rescued?
• Now, do I even remember what didn't get accomplished?
• How often do I remember to find joy in my day?

on a mission
this morning

no time
for dawdling
or screwups

cut to
the chase
and stick
to the plan



until a
thin whisp
of something
or someone

makes me
ask who
the orders

what will
if they're

joy or
a blessing?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Traveling inside to get out

Do I spend too much time inside myself? I wondered earlier today. Is that necessarily a bad thing?

I had that thought at the beginning of my swim, for which I already felt out of kilter postponing it by several hours to [willingly] accommodate a sick child. I could tell I had a lot pent up that I needed to release into the water. I ticked off the first few laps, letting the thoughts fill me, then settle somewhere else. One of those was the initial question I posed.

Somehow that led to wanting to swim hard and see if my skin could permeate the water or vice versa and I could feel as if I were the water, not just cutting through it. It was odd, crazy, calm and totally sane all knotted together. My body raced almost as fast as I had let my mind early on. I kept thinking about what a friend had shared awhile back about going to the place between the thought clouds as opposed to the conventional wisdom to let your thoughts float away like clouds.

So, while I hammered away, sluicing the waves I was creating, I revved up to go between the clouds.  Liminal space, I thought. I almost got carried away, which is what I wanted. Yet a slim thread kept me connected to the lane in the pool inside the gym. I do close my eyes some to swim, but open them when I raise my head for air every fourth stroke. It ensures I am swimming straight and keeping in my lane. I think if I could have swum with my eyes closed the whole time, I may have made it. But, I came pretty darn close. 

It triggered something; perhaps, just endorphins, but I am still experiencing the aftershock. It is as if the unnecessary and negative tension in my body leeched into the water, replaced with a peaceful and constant energy – a healing source. Like I had to wear out the unhealthy stuff inside by some sort of physical trickery. Odd and crazy, huh? Yet, I feel totally sane and calm, blissful.

So I was totally inside myself, yet also outside. Perhaps not exactly one with the water, but somewhere between my body and the water.

Next time I want to cut or break that thread. What happens then?

• How often do I travel inside myself? 
• Is it my usual inclination or something I force myself to do?
• What happens when I do?
• Can I find a transcendent space, somewhere that belongs inside, yet outside?
• Do I counter that in time spent with others? 

not to get
my usual

needing and
it would

the change
and expectation

a different


a place

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Ever felt like other? I know I have and, I suspect, we all do at some time or another.

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to the topic of otherness. I thought it strange, at first, but it has really grown on me. I learned [formally and experientially] about  it during my two-years at School of the Spirit, a Quaker program for spiritual nurture. I felt like other there for the first year. I am certain I was not alone.

The first session, I had a big room all to myself and, at times, the spaciousness felt very lonely. The door didn't lock and the guys staying upstairs passed right by my room. I grew quite fond of "those guys" over the two years, but at first they were just footsteps. I had a dream one of the early nights about staying up, guarding the door and keeping it cracked with the message that my door was not lockable because my heart was not locked.

At the end of the first year, I made a terrible mistake. I knew I'd be leaving again for Philadelphia in a week; my paper was done and only needed a final printing. My childcare was planned and all I really had to do was pack. I noticed airfare was on sale for the following session, so I decided to check dates and prices. I retrieved my school calendar only to discover, much to my utter horror, that the current class was staring precisely at the hour I sat at my computer planning ahead.

My heart sunk, I silently burst into tears. What the %^$# had I been thinking? My reservation was booked for next week and had been for quite some time. My childcare was scheduled for next week and my mother was out of town this week.

I called my spouse in a panic. He responded: "Pack your bags, change your ticket, e-mail me your paper to print and I'll take care of the rest."

I needed someone to command me because I felt very dead at that moment.

You know when you dream that the worst thing possible is happening, well, this felt like it. I did as my husband kindly advised me and prayed like heck that night that I would sleep and not berate myself for being such an idiot. I felt I had lost everything and, only then, was able to ask for God's help.

I slept some, then drove to Dayton to board my re-arranged flight. During multiple delays, I shared a lunch with an older woman in whom I confided. She must've sensed my vulnerability. I called ahead to Philadelphia and said I'd be late, get there when I could and no one needed to call me back. Fortunately the wonderful woman eldering that session ignored me, leaving this message: "Cathy, no matter when you get here, I will be at the airport. Count on it." I really needed to hear that – even from a complete stranger.

When I arrived many hours late, we quickly found each other and embraced long and hard. She whisked me to the retreat center and suggested I unpack, get myself together from the journey, then re-join the group for worship. Wise words. Unpacking, I was amazed that I had only forgotten one item: dental floss. Oh well, I thought. As I opened the top drawer to put away underwear and PJs, awaiting me was an unopened package of floss alone in the drawer. That immediate message was "Trust and I will give you what you need. WOW, I still shudder thinking about it five years later.

I settled, washed my face and anxiously trod the steps wondering if anyone had noticed my extreme tardiness. I was fiercely greeted with bear hug after bear hug, told how much I was missed, the prayers for safe travel that had been spoken and how it just didn't seem the same.

This was God's way of letting me know I did, indeed, belong to this community -- even if I had my doubts. I realized that while my timing was whacked, the timing was at it should have been, otherwise, I would never have known I was missed and valued. Affirmation that I so desperately needed.

What surprised most of my School-of-the-Spirit buddies was how I'd had my paper done a week ahead of what I thought was the deadline. That was the last thing on my mind and heart.

• When have I felt like other?
• Why?
• What have I learned about making others feel less so?
• When I have felt most alone in community, how have I let God in?
• Willingly or only when I was desperate enough?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The furry portal

As my oldest cat, almost 16, is slowing down in life, I am beginning to see him as a portal. To a new energy source and something so BIG.

I think I knew this subconsciously, but now am beginning to know it more tangibly.

Two days ago, I felt the urge to hold him. I found him in a favorite, tucked-away corner and bent down to retrieve him. Cradled in my arms as I started to stand erect, I felt a twinge move fiercely across my lower back/sacral area. The source of so much in my life, including pain. I have learned how to navigate strained and pulled muscles rather well, but sensed this was something else. Instinct forced me to instantaneously sit and I realized the wave had taken something away, replaced it with something else and loosened that part of my body. All in one brief swoop – while I held my cat.

I hugged him tighter, massaged his hips to see if he took the pain and looked into his eyes. He, definitely, knew something. An ability – until then – hidden from me. An older cat, who died a year-and-a-half ago, possessed it, too. They spent a lot of time in each other's company, pretending not to notice one another. They were not close, nor did they fight. Perhaps she transferred something to him before she went to the purple place,* he acquired it recently or always had it. I'll never know.

And, it really doesn't matter. He does, however, since that experience, hang closer to me than I remember.

I've been paying attention to that area of my body, wanting to believe something real took place, not pushing it and trying to trust. This morning I headed to yoga and figured this would be the time to see what's been happening internally over the past several days.

I felt strong and flexible – even in my lower back. That right side was able to relax in child's pose as it hasn't ever. I didn't engage in yoga until I was searching for pain relief, about 10 years ago,

I am feeling bursts of energy more and more, traveling through that previously locked and dark place. I have been considering what was (b)locked there, not a new notion. Doubt, fear, anxiety and some self hatred. Triggered first by a miscarriage (and I think my body still clings to try to bring that baby back) and then a car accident.

A year ago or so, I started saying affirmations to my body as a cleansing act of self forgiveness. Maybe a shift started then. Perhaps, I'll back slide. I don't know. Yet, I feel in a new place, one of confidence in myself, the work to which I am called and where I stand in the world. That's been the past few weeks.

Maybe my cat has sensed that and the Universe/Spirit/God has responded. I am grateful.

* The purple place is my girls' and my term for the afterlife, inspired by a beautiful painting

• Have I ever had an unexplained or unusual experience with an animal?
• What do animals mean to me spiritually?
• What in my life has been a portal to something bigger?
• Have I been able to trust that?
• Have I ever shared that experience?

for a 

I have

to force
my body

the more
it used
to be


I forced

the way,

I simply
gave up

my body
where it

forgave it

out of
the blue


new energy

that old