It starts with cats…
I have called this part 1 because this is going to be several layers of understanding. I haven’t posted much recently in regard to how emotions and laminitis are linked, but if you are new to this website it may be worth having a flip through some of the older posts to understand the journey with laminitis and the paths Chocolate, Risada, Querida and I have trodden to bring us to here.
I join a zoom discussion every week with Ren Hurst (The Wisdom of Wildness), and I am aware she has done quite a bit with laminitis, so I asked this question:
” What is your take on the stories we can have around animals (including humans) with conditions that are to be managed e.g. laminitis, arthritis, uveitis, cushings, diabetes, etc?”
There was a long discussion around this but the one word in the whole thing that bought up a deep feeling of unpeace in me was ‘Abandonment‘.
Since then I have been allowing that word to rumble around, sitting with it, feeling it, bringing it into the present and seeing what reaction I have. At first, my thoughts took me down all the usual ideas we have have been taught about what abandonment is, and I couldn’t discern any unpeaceful areas.
I considered the word with regards to the ponies and again got the usual sense around their being abandoned due to their condition, but nothing new yet. It wasn’t the feeling that had immediately come into my heart centre when Ren said that word.
I took a different route. ‘Have I abandoned?’ When I let this float through my feelings, the feeling of wanting to leave everything sometimes, enjoying driving away from responsibility, etc, a feeling of relief came into my centre. This again was not the same feeling. I did let go of some guilt feelings around this relief as I know that I need these breaks to look after myself.
Then, a few days later, I was doing a 20 minute yoga session and something else from that conversation with Ren came back…Abandonment of Self. And that is where this story starts, and it has many layers, yet it starts with cats not horses. It didn’t start with a deep dive into how maybe the ponies had abandoned themselves because first we need to understand what abandonment of self looks like within us…as always the animals helped.
There is a white cat that lives in my home and she is sweet natured and always loves to come and sit on me. When people visit she likes to try and cuddle them. She asks for her food and meouws a lot, in various tones, having various conversations.
She brings gifts of food in the shape of mice, rats and baby hares. She came to me from another human at about 1 year old and she has lived with me for 11 years.
There is a black cat that lives in my writing room (the roof of my feed room within the hay barn). It is where I can be completely present with myself, my feelings, and let whatever needs to flow, flow.
It just turned up one day and hasn’t left. I haven’t touched it. I leave it food occasionally but not regularly. It doesn’t ask for anything. It looks out for when I come up to meditate and joins me.
It is these two cats that have shown me what Abandonment of Self looks like.
Which cat would you say has abandoned itself?
It is the white one.
Why? It has become domesticated, with my help and the help of its first human family, and also with the help of everybody that says: “Aren’t you cute? Come here little one, let me cuddle you.”
By being what somebody else wanted her to be in return for comfort, she abandoned herself.
When I started to deeply understand the feelings I have, the needs and the fears (such as wanting to touch, wanting to feel needed, wanting company, wanting, wanting, wanting), acknowledging them, finding peace with them, and being more and more present in my own body, I could just be present with the black cat when she first turned up. It could sense I knew my feelings were mine, that they were my responsibility, and that I was willing to meet my own needs without its’ input. And so it stayed. I have no expectations of it. No desire to catch it, cuddle it, or even speak to it. No desire even to invite it in to my energetic space. It is totally its own animal in this space, and so am I.
The black cat has allowed me to really understand “unconditional love”. The white cat has allowed me to understand what Abandonment of Self looks like.
When I just ‘be’ with this black cat, from a place of unconditional love, all I can feel from it is complete presence, complete acknowledgement of self.
Understanding what abandonment of self is, I could acknowledge and work with that within me, and each time I sense into the depths of that, and release anything that is getting in the way of finding my own unconditional love of myself, white cat does the same. She also has begun to pour back into herself, into her own wildness.
So how does this all relate to the emotional trauma of laminitis, I don’t know yet. I have yet to let that all fall into its place. But so much of this journey feels right. There is potential here…….