Pop the cat

Feathered friend

Feathered friend

August 16, 2020
/ / /

Lying on the bench beneath the apple tree, reading, a weird noise had me look up at the lime tree arbor, only to see a lovely red squirrel making its way up and across the arbor, into the neighbor’s trees. According to Animal-Speak Pocket Guide by Ted Andrews, the message from me is:
Balance your work and play. Prepare for the future, but do not get lost in preparations. Find ways to gather and to gift.

Given how my work plans for the upcoming 1-2 years has just gotten upended, and how I’ve not balanced work and play properly for the past year, I acknowledge that message. Then, dove number two for the week, comes into my life, as the neighbor texts me late at night, asking if I’ve seen the odd-looking dove sitting on the roof of the joint garden shed. I hadn’t but hoped it would stay on high ground to ensure Pop the cat wouldn’t make a repeat performance of the dove-incident earlier in the week.

In the morning, I opened the blinds, and there s/he was, perched atop the roof still. By the time I was headed off around lunch, the neighbor texted again, saying it had flown away… into my garden, unfortunately. Nervously, I let it be, and jumped on my bike, fingers crossed that Pop (or any of the neighboring cats) would stay away, as it sure seemed an easy target at ground level.

Got back in the afternoon, to see my youngest having spent an hour in the deck chair, hanging out with the bird, which definitely isn’t your garden-variety type dove, that’s for sure.

Luckily, in the days of internet, with a few clicks and shared pictures in SoMe, I got a DM and found out this type of dove is an ”Iranian dove, called baghdadi”, usually bought in pairs, and quite pricey at that. (It’s amazing the things you have no idea you will learn in a day!)

I took over the deck chair from Mr B, book in hand, with ears on high alert, scanning the area for the sound of Pop the cat approaching (thank god for that bell!), and all of a sudden, there it was! I jumped out of the deck chair and latched onto Pop so quick he must’ve wondered how come I was in such a hurry to get him inside, serving up a new scoop of kibbles without him having to make even the tiniest of miaow’s.

By now, we’re approaching 20 hours of this dove hanging out here, and it’s clear beyond any reasonable doubt that it’s 1) not gonna fly away on its own and 2) not a wild dove. I call the police, wanting to report the find, as well as check to see if anyone had reported it missing, but no such luck. So I bring out the kitty carrier, a blanket and Mr B, intent on catching it. After a few botched attempts, we borrow a net from the neighbors, and Mr B, quick as lightning, got him/her! I got it transferred to the blanket, we try to find a band on its legs, but cannot see any, so I pop it into the carrier and take it for a walk… a few blocks away, to my friend with chickens and both a winter and a summer coop. Luckily, that meant the winter coop was up for grabs, and the little one settled in perfectly, oohed and aahed over by it’s new (temporary?!) caretaker-family.

Knowing my new-found feathered friend would now be safe and sound (from cats and birds of prey), and extremely well cared for, I walked home with my empty pet carrier, quite pleased with myself, while simultaneously wondering at the message of the dove, as this was my second encounter in the same week. The Pocket Guide tells me: A new cycle of opportunities is at hand. They bring a time of peace and prophecy. Mourn and release what has passed for new birth.

I was curious enough to google and find some more, that resonates greatly:
The dove spirit animal is associated with transitional periods. It will usually appear to you if you need a break from your stressful and hectic life. The dove meaning is amplified when you are craving for peace and quiet, or stillness and clarity. When the dove totem appears, it’s a sign for you to make that new beginning and look forward to a fresh new start.

Also, this:
The dove represents peace of the deepest kind. It soothes and quiets our worried or troubled thoughts, enabling us to find renewal in the silence of the mind. Doves teach us that, regardless of external circumstances, peace is always a touch a way – within us – and always available. It is said that if a dove flies into your life, you are being asked to go within and release your emotional disharmony. The dove helps us to rid the trauma stored deep within our cellular memory. Doves carry the energy of promise. When inner conflicts are banished from our thoughts, words and feelings, goodness awaits.

Given the way my summer has evolved, with me more or less doing nothing, going nowhere (physically, at least), it’s definitely been a time of finding renewal in the silence of the mind. Given that I’ve not just got the one dove messenger, but two, in but a few days, it seems it’s time to release whatever emotional disharmony I am harboring…

Read More

Ruffled youngster

August 13, 2020
/ / /

Pop the cat.
Lying on the bench underneath the apple tree, with the airs of one who Knows (!) the comfy cushion was brought out by me earlier in the day for his sake (and not for me to take a mid-afternoon nap on).

A dove lands beneath the black mulberry-tree, having me up out of my chair, shooing it away, not wanting to share any ripening mulberries with him (her? How can you tell?). Sit down again, only to hear more dove-commotion, together with the distinct tinkling on Pop’s bell, the small one attached to his collar, giving him a telltale signature sound when he’s approaching. Look over towards the garden beds filled with kale and squash plants, and there’s Pop with two dove’s, one of whom appears ruffled.

Rush over there, shoo at the trio, making the unruffled dove fly away, with Pop running after it. The ruffled one –looks like a youngster– hops away, perching on a stone next to the lime-tree arbor where I have set up my outside office. I sit down and continue to write, but before long, that same telltale sound informs me Pop is approaching.

Snatch him up, going into the house to give him his evening meal, and leave him eating. Closing the door firmly behind me, to give the little one some time to recover from the shock of the ordeal, hopefully, able to take off before long. So I sit down again, and lo and behold, all of a sudden it sets off, hopping, underneath the garden table, onto the small stone wall separating my garden from the neighbors, and makes a jump for it, landing, after a few flaps of its wings, in the neighbor garden, hopping away across the lawn.

I don’t particularly care for these doves.
They eat most of my red currants. Some of the gooseberries at that, probably mulberries as well (even though that might be me badmouthing them as I’ve never actually seen them in that tree), and generally poop all over the garden furniture.
But I don’t want them hurt.
Having a free-range cat running loose in the neighborhood, that’s a hypocritical stance to take, as cats are wont to snatch birds and small rodents of varying kinds, but hey… I still don’t have to be an accomplice in the actual deed, do I?

Read More

Putting ourselves out there

June 28, 2020
/ / /

The Creative’s Workshop has been a truly transformative experience, partaking in something like this, especially during the times we are living in–the workshop started beginning of February 2020, just before COVID-19 and the Coronavirus-pandemic sort of became a reality for us all–feels like a meant-to-be-moment in my life.

As the workshop is coming to an end, many of us are reluctant to let go, a reluctance akin to that which I believe humans feel upon leaving the womb. It’s been nourishing and sheltered and has felt very safe and loving, and yet… outside, that’s where everything learned from within the bubble is to manifest. Because we do live in a world of form, a physical world, putting ourselves out there is of importance. That’s how we seed generosity, that’s how we share of ourselves, our fears and favorites, our mishaps and major wins, our questions, insights and creative outputs.

The very final Open Mic, organized by one of the groups created within the workshop, has a record turn-out, and even though I’ve only understood the beauty of the Open Mic these past 4-5 weeks, participating in them has been one of many highlights of my TCW-exploration.

So I want to share a bit of the glory of TCW with you, the out there-part of the world.

Here’s a new take on Arlette Manassehs limerick, put into visuals by Manu Satsangi:

Timmy Riordan sang the most beautiful song for us: Lean into Me

Laura Tucker of the Free your inner guru-podcast shared a bit of her experience recording an episode with Charles Wilson, which can be found here: Music is Medicine

Jayashree Krishnan, who painted Pop the cat for me, painted a smashing portrait of Seth Godin (who’s the man behind the Akimbo workshops, along with a crew of skilled professionals and coaches!) during the Open Mic, who’s also got a GoFundMe-project for a series of watercolors on care-workers that she’s been sharing within and without TCW. Please check it out, fund it, and share the word!

And then there was Isabel Núñez Cortés sharing a piece of her music, from a scoring competition she’s participating in. My take, listening to the music while watching the video was: But… What? This i s n ‘ t the real score for this video? It sounds just like it’s supposed to! 

I could go on, given the fact that there were 20+ people on the celebratory final OM, but… I won’t. Or. I might… in the future. But not now. I think you’ve already gotten enough to go around for a long time (cuz I am totally counting on y’all to click and view and listen and share and subscribe and fund and seed generosity in any way, shape or form you can!). And I want to make sure everyone listens to Charles Wilson (same one who’s participating in Laura’s podcast) on George Floyd and the Struggle for Equality which he played live as the finale of the OM-finale, and man… that was a m a z i n g to witness:

It’s been an honor to be a part of this workshop as well as these Open Mic-sessions!

❤️   

(But how can I stop here? When I haven’t said a word about Kathy Karn or Jim Grady, not to mention Amandawhom I have mentioned about before though!– or Jennifer or Sue or… 

Someone.
Please.
Make me stop!

But how can I?)

Read More

I am not unloved.

May 28, 2020
/ / /

What if I never get to wake next to a loved one again?, I wrote, only to wake up, a few days later, to this:

So no.
I am not alone.
I am not unloved.
I am simply not walking next to someone on a daily basis
Am not waking up next to someone on a daily basis either.
Except now and then, when Pop the cat obliges me…

Read More

Me-time. Be-time.

May 15, 2020
/ / /

Woke early. Tossed for a bit, and then turned on the light and finished reading The End of the Ocean by Maja Lunde, a book which in Norwegian and Swedish is titled Blue. (Yes. A very worthwhile read.) Did a Deepak Chopra meditation prior to my 15 minutes of deep-breathing according to Wim Hof, before getting up, accompanied throughout by Pop the cat. Finished with the morning routine and went to grab my computer to put it in my backpack when I remembered…

I prompted myself to get back to morning blogging late last night, and so. Here I am.

Ready to leave for work, with a slight headache, the type of slight hangover-sensation-from-working-too-much-headache, that has been a shadowy companion for the past few weeks, when, indeed, I have been working a bit too much.

And yet.
I love it.
Living.
Learning.
Laughing.

There’s a lot of work to do right now, and for that I am truly grateful, and yet, I should take my own advice and look just a wee bit at what I could possibly subtract.
Work? No.
Wim Hof, meditation, Seven-exercise, cold bathing and such? No.
Buddhas-podding? No.
Gardening? No.

Or rather. All of these I say Yes to, vehemently Yes!

Now. I could continue listing all of my Yes:es. But I won’t. There’s a-plenty, that’s for sure.
But the interesting thing is, that as I sit here… I struggle to find even one thing I want to give up, to pause, to stop. Forever, or just for a while.

(And yeah. I know. I did this exercise not too long ago. But hey, bear with me. I’m still learning, and am definitely but a human being, having a very human experience here on Earth, so… now and again, it takes a couple of tries before insights truly land. By which I mean, that the shift they imply, whatever it may be, is actually implemented. By Being. By Doing.)

Tried what I did last time – opened up my calendar and deleted a few activities from it – but alas, there’s not a lot to delete… like. Nothing. Honestly.

So perhaps it’s more a matter of finding the balance within the project I am working at the moment, where we are in a very intense phase at the moment, a phase that will last at least until the first week of July. Refraining from checking my emails as often when I am ”not at the office”? Getting a bit more diligent with my digital sabbats? Ensuring I have resting time, me-time, be-time, more than I do now?

Yeah.
That might be worth looking into and taking action on (ironically, as the resting time in a sense implies less action-taking).

But hey. It’s 8:20 am, and I have done my daily blog! Whoop!
(Celebrate what you can, when you can – what a great mantra to bring into daily life!)


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
Read More

No. I love it.

May 7, 2020
/ / /

I have to say, those 30 minutes of daily gardening, have proven to be something that’s truly turned into a wonderful gift. For myself.

And I want to do it, but I don’t have to do it. It is a choice, one I’ve made, and I don’t have to remake it every day, but then again, if there’s neither room nor energy for gardening, then I will not beat myself up for skipping a day.

I know I am Champion of Runstreaks (2090 days of Seven-morning workouts in a row, is all the proof I need; not that I need it) and hence, the 30 minutes of daily gardening doesn’t have to do with that. But rather… ever since my ex-husband and I separated in the fall of 2016, the garden has fallen into greater and greater disarray, as he was the one who spent a lot of time tugging at weeds, cutting the miniature lawn and trimming the hedges. Last year when I thought to ask Mr D if he wanted to assist me in cultivating my garden I had also promised myself not to vacation away from home… which definitely isn’t how it turned out. Instead, I spent 10 days in Kenya and 12 days touring UK, Belgium and the Netherlands… not to mention working like crazy.

Orange = radishes. Blue = carrots. Green = spinach. Pink = leek. And the cherry blossoms scattered like snowflakes all over.

This year, I will spend my summer here. At home. Which is just what I want, and have wanted for a couple of years, and finally will have the opportunity to do. I made myself the promise to not leave home come the summer of 2020, and on account of the pandemic that’s a promise I can easily live up to… but hey, if I can find something positive in the current situation, that’s a good thing, in my view. So I won’t beat myself up over that either.

And I enjoy it.
Sticking my hands in the dirt. Sowing a row of carrots here, a row or two of radishes there. Watering the prepared beds, tugging at some weeds. Getting rid of last year’s rasp- and blackberry brambles, starting to attack the wild roses going rogue at the front of the house. 

Being bathed in the soft evening sunshine, listening to the birds chirping away. Now and again sharing a word or two with my lovely neighbors, or for that matter, passing seedlings back and forth across the fence. Sitting underneath the apple tree overfilled with blossoms, talking to and petting Pop the cat, coming to keep tabs on me.

All the while, supported and aided by Mr D, either here, in person, helping me dig, plant, prepare, telling me what goes where, and in what combinations. Or there, online, cheering me on when I send him a daily text with photos, sharing my daily gardening-session with him. 

I enjoy it.

No.
I love it!

Read More

…seize the wonder of being alive in this moment.

March 22, 2020
/ / /

“As well as saving millions of lives by killing rodents, our soft-footed friends have helped heal countless hearts. Sitting quietly at the ends of beds, they’ve waited for human tears to ebb. Curled on the laps of the sick and elderly, they’ve offered comfort impossible to find elsewhere. Having served our physical and emotional health for thousands of years, they deserve recognition. The Egyptians were right. A cat is a sacred being.”

Picked it up in one of those bookshelves at an office, where people can put books they’ve read, and if there’s a book calling out to them, take that one back home to read. I didn’t bring a book with me, but I’ve been generous with donating books both here and there over the years, so I figured I could put this book in my backpack, as it did just that. Call out to me. To take it.

So I did.

“Mothers have powers beyond politics, art and money. We’re the people who give life, nurture babies and make them grow. Without us humanity would wither like seaweed on a rock. Knowledge of our power is so deep we don’t talk about it often, but we use it all the time.”

And what a lovely book it is, Cleo, by Helen Brown.
I’ve written on how Pop the cat is my resident master of self-care, and he continues to teach me how to enjoy every ounce of life.

“Cleo was changing my attitude to indulgence. Guilt isn’t in cat vocabulary. They never suffer remorse for eating too much, sleeping too long or hogging the warmest cushion in the house. They welcome every pleasurable moment as it unravels, and savor it to the full until a butterfly or falling leaf diverts their attention. They don’t waste energy counting the number of calories they’ve consumed or the hours they’ve frittered away sunbathing.”

In a world that is slowing down, the following lines spoke volumes to me.
So I will leave them here, for you, to read.
For you to look within, while you read, to discover what happens within you.

“One of the many ways in which cats are superior to humans is their mastery of time. By making no attempt to dissect years into months, days into hours and minutes into seconds, cats avoid much misery. Free from the slavery of measuring every moment, worrying about whether they are late or early, young or old, or if Christmas is six weeks away, felines appreciate the present in all its multidimensional glory. They never worry about endings or beginnings. The joy of basking on a window ledge can seem eternal, though if measured in human time it’s diminished to a paltry eighteen minutes.

If humans could program themselves to forget time, they would savor a string of pleasures and possibilities. Regrets about our past would dissolve, alongside anxieties for the future. We’d notice the color of the sky and be liberated to seize the wonder of being alive in this moment. If we could be more like cats our lives would seem eternal.”

 

Read More

Slow down. Ease up.

February 16, 2019
/ / /

As I walked through the door, exclaiming my back is killing me, D picked up on the message. When we sat down to work with the pain, he asked me: What did you feel as you stepped through the door?

I didn’t really have an answer, so he asked if I wanted to hear his impression. Yes, please tell me, I responded. What else could I say, being a Curious George and all that…

So he said, slow down. That’s the message I got, to slow down. Ease up a little. 

I’ve carried the message with me, this past week, using it as a baseline to reflect on what I am doing, in which areas, and how it all serves me. Or doesn’t, for that matter.

Coming to a realization that for quite some time I’ve been pushing all my own buttons. At the same time. Working on all areas, simultaneously. Pushing against the boundaries of my comfort zone… no, that’s untrue. I’ve been pushing against the boundaries of my stretch zone, going dangerously into the red snap zone… in many, if not all, areas of life.

I realized, as I took in the message I was sending but not picking up on, that I don’t have to work in all areas, everywhere, all the time. It is not only reasonable but actually wise, to heed the advice of the master of self-care, Pop the cat. Let myself rest, consolidate, push fewer buttons, letting come that which wants to come, given that I let go of that which has done its job.

So I breathe in. Hold it, for a few seconds. Then… exhale, letting go of a bit of the urge within, to be done. Knowing it’s not at the finishing line the reward of this journey lies. It is the journey itself. That is the reward. The growth. The expansion. The learning. That which is life. Living it. Loving it. Letting go to let come, and reveling in each twist and turn, each nook and cranny, falling through internal trap doors, one after the other. All the while being open. And gentle. Knowing my gentleness towards myself is that which ensures the openness, the willingness, the ability to step without hesitation into the next inch of the unknown.

As a direct result of the reflective process of this past week, I honored myself today.
Saying No to others. Saying Yes to me.
Slowing down. Easing up.

Read More

The self-care mastery of cats

November 3, 2018
/ /
in Tip
/

What are you thinking about?, I asked.

He looked at Pop the cat lying next to him on the sofa, carefully grooming himself, and said I am thinking about the self-care of cats. They are absolute masters at self-care. Look at him – carefully, meticulously and with the greatest care in the world, he’s gently taking really good care of himself. Licking his front leg, over and over, slowly brushing his leg over his face, licking once more, brushing his face. He, like all cats, simply excels at self-care.

Boom.
Yes!
That’s it.
That is what cats are, the self-care masters of the world!

I greatly enjoy watching Pop when he wakes up in the morning (often at the foot end of my bed, where he gladly can stay the entire night – never too long in one place, in one position, knowing, albeit he’s deep in sleep, that his body still needs to move to be supple in the morning), slowly stretching, growing to twice his length by reaching as far as he can with both front and hind legs. Twisting and turning his spine, getting vertebraes, blood, muscles and sinews going – mimicking Turning Torso, or rather, giving a perfect example of why Calatrava called his building just that.

And as I sit here, in the sofa once more (yes. I like my sofa.), guess who just came to snuggle up close to me? Yup, Pop the cat. And guess what he’s doing? Yup, practicing self-care! He’s a great role model, and an even greater reminder for me to practice self-care, as he’s around a lot (which he is because he’s a truly sociable cat, enjoying the company of people young and old alike).

My morning green smoothie, my Seven, my Headspace-meditation, my blogging, my reading, my moving around – a walk, a bike ride, a slow run. Those are the self-care-practices that come to mind, when I think about it. Having deep conversations with significant friends is another one, that is high on the list.

What type of self-care do you practice? And who is your guiding light, your role model, reminding you about taking good care of yourself?

 

Read More

The trainable cat

November 5, 2017
/ /
in Tip
/

Pop and me out walkingI’m a cat person. Love them, and have since I knew how. Have had cats most of my life, one or more, at most I’ve had three cats at the same time. Bilbo and Bombadil were joined by Pippin when Bilbo went on a walkabout for six weeks and Bombadil was desperate for a pal. So we got Pippin the kitten, and a few weeks later, Bilbo returned. Three cats is actually a lot more than two, somehow. But we made it work.

Have never been able to train my cats much. Walking on a leash is something none of my cats have ever learned. Bilbo would flop down on the floor as if he’d become instantly paralysed whenever I put the leash on him, totally unable to walk. Pop actually knows how…. but he moved in when he was three years old and already knew this skill. Besides that, he will gladly join us for walk around the neighborhood even without a leash, so he’s a special cat, that’s for sure.

Tummy to petSo when I saw the episode title “How to train your cat” on Fresh Air, I was intrigued and started to listen to it. Rapidly I understood, that in reality, I’m the one who’s been trained, by all my cats! They seem to know instinctively how to train their humans to do precisely what they want, whether it’s letting them out at four am, providing more food than planned, petting an upturned hairy tummy or, for that matter, immediately to stop petting that very same upturned hairy tummy. I’m a well-trained human I admit. But this is all about to change, as the podcast actually gave me a new perspective on this. Or perhaps it’s more just to say, I intend to even the odds a bit.

I will no longer let Pop the cat out at four am in the morning when he’s walking around screaming to be let out. Because every time I do, I am reinforcing his knowledge that this is how it works: If i miow loud enough and long enough, she’ll crawl groggily out of bed and let me out. And he did train me well! But no more.

Pop the catSo for a couple of early mornings, when Pop has let me know he want’s to go out (pressing needs perhaps? There is a litter box, he’s in no dire straits, I promise) somewhere around four five am, I’ve not let him out. I’ve invited him up onto the bed, but that’s the extent of my interaction with him in the wee hours of morning. And lo and behold, after a few frustrated minutes walking about, up and down the stairs, miowing, he relents. Sometimes he plonks down on my bed. The other day he chose Almas bed instead. Today he chose the sofa downstairs, so that when I got up around seven and went downstairs to pick up my phone and iPad (morning writing you know), me met me by the front door, and – without him making a sound – I let him out the door.

Same goes for food. Miowing in the past has meant that we relent, and give him some food, more than he actually should receive. If nothing else simply to shut him up. See – he’s trained us well, this cat! But no more. I am on to his training scheme and will refuse to play according to his rules anymore.

What I didn’t get from the podcast, which might be available in the book The trainable cat, is how to get Pop to indicate, with one (1) and only one miow, the desire to be let out and so on, but to stop after the one miow. Because I see him and hear him, and will – unless it’s five am in the morning – oblige. If we reach that point, I would be a very happy cat-owned human, that’s for sure. I’ll see if I can get a hold of that book – the story of me training Pop the cat and vise versa is to be continued…

Read More