My cat Ginger Bear (18 ½ years old) has been struggling with the diseases that beset kitties in later life. That said, with the ministrations of Dr. Rebecca Stock (Montclair and Verona Animal Hospitals), GB is comfortable and teaching me how to grow old in peace and surrounded by love. My OCDish care is part of the drill, but she has decided to stick around, make no mistake about that!
Observing her, I see her fragility and her determination. The fragility is visible when the body seems to not be able to hold life energy. When meds and fluids are tweaked, the realignment plugs back in, and there is life coursing through her little golden frame.
Back in the day I visited the Institute for Psychic Research in NYC where they study “out of body experiences”. Since then I’ve come to the conclusion that most of us linger in a place somewhere between being disembodied and fully embodied. The attention our bodies receive usually happens in a framework of negativity. What I mean is “I’m too fat, too thin, not tall enough, have huge thighs. I’m too dark, need a tan, getting old, too young. My nose is too big, too small, my teeth don’t pass the tissue test.” You get my drift.
Our bodies are far more than targets of criticism or machines that carry our heads around! In fact, I’ve learned that the body “remembers what the mind forgets,” meaning that this structure in which we find ourselves has a wisdom all of its own.
To be fully in our bodies is to not let our brains take us to crazy places. Ginger Bear sits in the sun and enjoys her little body. The sun touching her fur makes her peaceful. She has the advantage of not having “monkey mind,” the Buddhist description of our human crazy thought process.
She has a constant “in body experience” that teaches me to shut up, sit down and be with my own body without judgment. This isn’t easy as I get older.
I have a birthmark on my right cheek that used to be 2 inches higher than it is right now. Since there’s no such thing as a migrating birthmark, the collagen deficit is taking its toll. I joked with my students that it’s over when the birthmark disappears beneath my jaw line. They keep reminding me that it’s getting closer. I had a thought that I would blot it out with makeup and draw one on my neck and get the last laugh!
I’ve felt what it is to be young and now I get to experience the material effects of time. My Ginger Bear is my little guru. I will try to enjoy my skin and bones as much as she enjoys her fur!
With love, Rosanne Bostonian
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