The Well-Cared for Pet

I’m a self-proclaimed cat lady, a “cat mom.” I also work as a Feline Adoption Counselor and Feline Behavior Evaluator at my local animal shelter. Living with my pet is very fulfilling and I am very thankful everyday for the love and presence offered by my cat. I see a wide variety of attitudes towards cats from visitors to the shelter and from people in my day-to-day life, not all of it being positive towards the species. Cats, and generally, animals, have tremendous power to alter their human companion’s thought patterns, moods, and even beliefs. Living with a well cared-for animal has the following attachments:

  1. Animals don’t see your flaws. Since animals see a perfect being that feeds them, brushes and cleans them, and gives them a warm place to sleep, they easily overlook lesser human traits. We have a wonderful saying at the shelter: “Be the person your pet thinks you are.”
  2. They remind you to take care of yourself. Sometimes I remember to drink water, or realize that I haven’t had any water on a given day, only because I check my cat’s water supply each day. Simple things I do for her help me to notice my primary needs.
  3. Animals can temper your mood and make you more aware. On a similar line of remembrance, animals can bring you into a more meditative and observatory mood. Animals have a variety of activity states, but watching a sleepy cat seems to tone some of those uneasy feelings you pick up during the day.
  4. They tune into a different energy spectrum. They notice and feel things differently than humans do. Animals live in a different mode than humans, more in tune with the earth’s cycles, like the moon shifts, the changing of the seasons, and even natural occurrences like storms. Noticing an animal’s different behaviors can help humans identify natural changes and also be more in tune with nature themselves.

Being attentive of your animal companion bring about a tremendous joy in your life as an imperfect human, a remarkable reminder at the simple primal things, an attentiveness to moods, and a tuning into the natural world.

12 Weeks of Morning Pages

Morning Pages are the three pages that I write every morning before going about my daily activities; I do these seven days a week and I get no days off. And I love it. Last time I checked in (six weeks ago), I talked about challenging myself to write only positively, using the writing to get in a mindset for a good day, feeling like it breaks up my routine, getting into author mode, and calming my overactive mind. Here’s my new list of learned things, because the best thing about being a human is learning:

  1. Steadiness. When I’ve been at my best, or what I consider to be my best, there’s always something in my life that is steady and sustainable. At this point in my life, I have a few of those things, and Morning Pages is just another wonderful component to feeling stable.
  2. I missed one day.  In the past, I have given up upon missing one or a few sessions of a good activity or habit I was trying to form. I would give up because that’s the kind of attitude I saw in a lot of people. With Morning Pages, I missed a day and shrugged it off, because the bulk of my work is not in one day, it’s in a culmination of days.
  3. The Sit-Still. Sitting still and physically handwriting three pages is rewarding, but it also massively tests my attention span. There’s Instagram, Pinterest, the cat, a squirrel in the tree outside, and you just have to keep refocusing. I’m enjoying training myself to come back to my one activity.

The benefits of establishing this routine and this practice are largely understated; in some ways, Morning Pages brought me back to myself. Coming back to those things you love, those challenging things that you’re so passionate about, grounds you and allows you to grow in ways you really can’t plan or predict.

Writer’s Intimidation

Getting closer to finishing a large project like a novel comes with an onslaught of pressure and other unpleasant feelings. While the process is love and determination, the ending inspires new worries. Throughout the process, it’s about just that, process. Beyond process, you have a period of unknown and seeking of external acknowledgment for what you have created. One of the greatest intimidations in the project of writing a novel is coming to an end and coming to that spot where you’ve been working so long that you can’t even really tell what’s “good” anymore. Coming to terms with this intimidation is relatable to some of the following things you can do in relation to closing a project:

  1. Acknowledge the love of creation. I was speaking with my mother recently on the phone and she said that even if what you have created is not distributed to a wide audience, it is still in the world. I came to think, there is love in what you created and the world needs love so your creation is valuable.
  2. Embrace completion. We very much live in a society that fears completion and closure. We mourn childhood and innocence lost, and hold elaborate ceremonies for closing chapters, like graduations. Completion in the rejection of fear or perhaps the embracing of fear, sanctions a release from prior responsibilities. It releases one from the temporary cycle, or stop-and-start, of progress.
  3. See yourself beyond your physical body. Closing a creative project outside of yourself situates you in a perfect place to contemplate your physical self and your inner, non-physical self. The act of creation is beyond the self. Not only does it require materials and inspiration, but it externalizes and captures parts of you that you did not even know were present, or simply didn’t quite acknowledge in the most productive way.

It is not enough to suggest embracing the end of a long-term creative project; it must be lived. The end of the process is grieved to put closure to a cycle of loving creation. Momentum halts and there is a slight tussle, but no outright stumble, because completion marks the closure of a project of love and process.

Creative Progress Through Awareness

There is beauty in both creative process and progress; embracing the former encourages the latter. When working on a long-term goal, loving the process is vital to the daily carving away towards the goal. Take book writing for example. Without the love of writing, the book will be an arduous chore. With love, the process is a blossoming and unfolding of the creativity once entangled inside the writer. When working towards a goal, sometimes we think about the material emergence; sometimes we don’t think about the ties it will have to the rest of our lives. This is where awareness plays a very pertinent role in creation. These are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself throughout the progress towards my goal:

  1. Will I be proud of what I create? Throughout life, you have many opportunities to create. It’s important to be discerning about what you create, since you have a plethora of chances. Positive creations such as beautiful poems, tense prose, vivid paintings, and airtight code can emerge but so can disjointed comedic performance and chaos through lack of articulation. We’re creating every single day, even in social media posts. Putting thought into whether or not we’re proud of our creative expressions ensures that we are wholly being ourselves and that we are creating positive creations.
  2. Do I earnestly love this? Do you earnestly love what you’re creating? It’s a potent question. For months, I was performing improv comedy and it took me over half a year to realize that I wasn’t enjoying it. I wasn’t earnestly loving the moments I was doing it. When I began writing again, I felt this wholeness, this indescribable wholeness of being and of total peace. When I write, I feel as if the whole world is at a stand-still and I’m being totally and irrevocably myself. I am projecting an endless flow of love to humankind through my writing; that’s the feeling I want to generally have when I’m creating.
  3. Do I want to put my name on this product? Many times, I’ve begun writing novels and stopped. This is perhaps the life of the young writer. Only once I realized that I would have my real name on my book did I recognize the immense requirement that I needed to be willing to accept all authorship for what I write. This goes hand in hand with being proud of what you create; putting your name on your product is your final approval.
  4. Am I being ethical about my process? Again along with being proud of what you create, it’s also important to think about how other people are impacted by your process and how they will be impacted by your final product. Are you adding goodness to this world or bringing in more darkness? Are you propelling the rhetoric of hatred forward, or are you acknowledging your dark side, taking responsibility for your creations, and consciously propelling positivity?

All of us are capable of immense creation throughout our lives. Being conscious, loving, proud, and ethical throughout the process shows in your art and makes the world a more positive place.