As I write this to you, I have my beloved cat, Maya Kitty, sitting next to me. I couldn’t be more grateful!
Maya has had an interesting month, as she went on a very long walkabout. After 29 days, she was finally trapped and brought back home, having lost about 20% of her body weight and smelling quite distinctly skunky. Made me wonder if she had a Pepe Le Pew incident ‘cause you have to admit, she’s awfully cute!
The 29 days that she was gone were some of the most heart-wrenching times of my life. I live on 3 acres of very wild land – think lots of poison oak, blackberries, underbrush and redwood trees. Finding a cat who doesn’t want to be found is nearly impossible. She decided to go on her epic walkabout the day after I left for a business trip, when the door was left open for my dog, Nora. She is an indoor only cat that never went near the door, but apparently she thought I abandoned her and so she said “I’m out of here.” Since our gate to our fenced in backyard was being replaced, she darted on out!
I spent 2-3 hours every day looking for her, day in and day out. I learned to Dowse, I employed a team of animal communicators, I put 60 fliers in my neighbors mailboxes, and another 65 on telephone poles in a 3 mile radius. I caught two raccoons, a feral orange kitty and a mouse in a humane trap, but not Maya. I got poison oak all over my body that is still in full force after a few weeks from searching the underbrush of my property and my neighbors’ properties.
But you know what? It was one of the hugest growth experiences of my life and I wanted to share what I learned with you because, frankly, I am pretty amazed how much I got out of this heart wrenching situation. I have always believed there is a gift in EVERYTHING, if you choose to look for it, but I never expected to get so much positive out of so much negative, and that, in and of itself, was a huge learning for me.
Here are the 6 powerful lessons I learned from Maya’s walkabout:
- People at their core, are kind and compassionate. In the media, we continually hear about the ugly things that people are capable of and we rarely hear about the kindness and compassion that prevails. I got dozens of calls from people who saw my signs who just wanted to see if I had found her yet, and to offer their heartfelt sadness and prayers. I had people as far away as Cloverdale (which is just about an hour away) calling with possible clues. I had psychics and animal communicators offering their assistance for free. My neighbors who spotted her made it a personal mission to help trap her. My tenant and friend, Cheryl, spent probably 8 hours searching for her with and without me. When I found Maya and posted it on our neighborhood community site, I got beautiful notes from people I had never met saying how happy they are to hear she had returned. When I went to the Sonoma Humane Society to tell them I found her, the staff literally cheered. It made me weep with joy. Yes, people ROCK. It made me realize that this world is a much more beautiful place than I had imagined. It also taught me to want to be a better person and to be there for others, like they were for me.
- Don’t give up on what you want, no matter how impossible it feels. I have to admit, I’ve had this lesson presented to me many times in my life, and I don’t think I really “got it” until now. In the past, I typically haven’t gone after things I didn’t think I’d get in the name of self preservation. I think back to all the crushes I had on guy friends over the years and never said anything out of fear of rejection. I think of all those sports I didn’t play because I didn’t think I would be good at them. I think of all the dreams I diminished because I didn’t think it was possible to fulfill them. I knew as I went into the 4th week of her missing, that it was possible, but not probable that I would find her, but I knew I couldn’t give up because if I gave up, I knew in my heart that she would not come home. In the end, I got her and I know it’s because I held the intention that she was coming home. But, honestly, even if we never found her, I would have kept that dream alive because that was what I really, really wanted, and to deny that is to perpetuate an untruth and I am a woman who is committed to living my truth.
- You can’t control anything outside of yourself. My healer told me during this process that my spiritual guides wanted me to know that I can’t control anything outside of myself, including a 6.5 pound kitty. That meant that I needed to take responsibility for this situation and for my life and not point my finger “out there.” I could influence others but I could not control them, so I needed to focus my energy on myself and what I could do to change my painful reality. By doing this I moved out of being a victim into being responsible for my experience and my world.
- Change your perspective, change your reality. There were definitely times during this process where my perspective was not helping me (or anyone around me). I had very dark moments, many sleepless nights, and times where I felt I was being punished, but thanks to some great coaching, I realized that I was creating a lot of my suffering. I realized there were many gifts in this experience and that, although this was a painful thing to go through, that The Universe was on my side. Hopelessness went out the window, I was able to have restful nights again, and I found a way back to presence.
- Hope is the shadow of hopelessness. I had an amazing conversation with my friend, colleague, mentor and client, Ursula Pottinga about this. She and her partner, Ann, teach this amazing advanced coaching program on Neuroscience and Consciousness. I realized in talking with her that hope is actually a shadow of hopelessness. In other words, it looks positive on the surface but that it has an energy about it that is “below the line” and is actually about hopelessness. As an example, when I would pray and say “please, God, please bring Maya back” that in that “hoping,” it was actually my hopelessness that was behind the wheel. Boy did that one surprise me! So, now instead of saying “I hope I get 5 new clients from this event,” instead set an intention of “I will get 5 clients from this event.” A simple switch, but energetically, very different.
- There is great beauty in contrast. One of the other things my spiritual guides told me is that I signed up for a life with lots of contrast because I thought it would be interesting. Interesting, indeed! I will tell you though, Maya Kitty appreciates me a lot more now after being on her own for 29 days. When she sits in my lap, I feel a huge appreciation and love that I used to take for granted. Not anymore. Suddenly, my normal life seems pretty darn extraordinary and I feel unbelievably happy because of the contrast of the 29 days Maya was away. Everything is sweeter now, and I appreciate that it is the contrast that makes me feel that way. I hope that I continue to appreciate things so I don’t need the contrast in order to be reminded from now on!
So there you have it! I got even more out of this than I’ve written here. It truly has been the gift that keeps on giving.
As always, I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts.