Loving What Is
I wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of my cat, Pele, choking. She has asthma and it breaks my heart. I run downstairs and grab her steroid, turn the dispenser one click, and rub a dose of ointment on the inside of her ear. Then I lay down on the bathroom floor next to her, listening to her chough and gasp for air. There is nothing else I can do for her. My mind contorts with fear and I take a deep breath. Now is the time to walk my talk. Now, at 4am, lying on the bathroom floor is the time to really use my spiritual practice. I slow my own breathing and close my eyes. I focus on God and Divine Light. And I think of the words of Byron Katie’s Loving What Is. I cannot change what is. My choice is either to suffer through it or relax into it. I have done all I can do. Now it is up to Pele and God. I take another deep breath. And I think about the book The Astonishing Power of Emotions channeled by Ester Hicks. I try to turn my thoughts “downstream”. Reminding myself again that my job is not to change what is, but to relax into it…to find a way to feel good in my mind while my cat is gasping for air. Shit, if I can do this, I can do anything.
I imagine picking Pele up and putting her into the open hands of God. I imagine her lungs filling up with precious life-filled prana. I tell myself she is fine, that she is taken care of, that this is her journey. I remind myself of all my Buddhist beliefs: that the beasts of our planet constantly incarnate, play, eat, love, snuggle, and depart back to non-physical where they rest briefly before they reincarnate, play, eat, love, snuggle, and depart. I tell myself I will always be with my kitty, whether she is in physical form or non-physical; that she will always find me, always be by my side. And I ask my mind to lean towards Magic and Miracles and away from fear. Just lean, I tell myself, lean in the direction of Love. Lean away from fear. Lean in the direction of Trust. Lean away from doubt. Lean in the direction of Magic and Miracles and Spontaneous Healing, lean away from terror.
As if on cue, Pele’s breathing changes. She quiets down. She goes from crouching in an airway-opening squat to a relaxed, Queen Of My Domain, lounge. She looks deeply into my eyes and does the kitty “I love you” double blink. I look at her and blink “I love you” back. And then I get up off the floor and go back to bed. I don’t know how long she will stay by my side in physical form. I don’t know when it will be her time to return to non-physical. She is only six years old. I like to imagine she will be with me 14 more years. But, I also know her time could be up tomorrow. I spent seven years in a Buddhist cult trying to learn detachment and surrender, but Pele teaches me more about it in five minutes on the bathroom floor. She is my greatest Teacher and her most profound Teaching is this: True Love should not hurt. It is the fear underneath the love that hurts. And that fear taints the pure white energy of love. With each asthma attack she teaches me to let go, to surrender, to trust in the Divine Plan, and to love her enough to allow her her own Journey. I love her more knowing she could leave at any time. I cherish her more knowing her time with me is limited. I honor her more knowing she is a Buddha and will transition to non-physical at the just-right time in the just-right way. And I remind myself that everything in life is transient; that is what makes it all so beautiful.