What Cats Teach Us About Life: To Thine Own Self Be True

Number 18 out of 28: This piece is part a Blog Challenge to write and publish a post, every day of the 28 days of February 2015, from Coach and Writer Sandra Peachey – the author of ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’.

mirror cat

Today feels like a real milestone in my blog challenge… I have reached the two thirds point and have just ten blogs left to go… So when I had that realisation, I had a little moment of celebration; and then, inevitably (for me anyway), this happy thought sent me in to a minor panic and I wondered what on earth I would find to write about next… Fortunately I know my patterns of old and had already splurged out a number of ideas onto paper some time ago… So “yah boo sucks to you” fear… It is, most definitely, time to celebrate and, of course, time to write

So here I am spilling out all my silly stuff (again), and sharing my secret trivial thoughts; when instead I could just present you with a nicely polished version of my reality, along with a glossy take on cats and what life lessons we can learn from them… Because, as it happens, I love polish and finish and professionalism, and I also like things to be ‘just so’ – you know?

Love sounds like a strong word, and in fact let me make a thing of the past and say that I ‘loved’ these things.  But for me, such things have turned out to be a not so shiny gloss on reality. In as much, they are not my truth, for I am in fact human and very good at being human too – in the sense of what I am sorely tempted to call my weaknesses, but which I will actually call my vulnerabilities instead… Polish and gloss is all very well if you can constantly carry it off, but in my case it is simply a varnishing over the cracks (of who I am), which with a tarnished inevitability, nearly always has a habit of some how resurfacing.

And this all includes how I come across, what I do in the public view, etc.  So even the fact that I am writing about my own cats – a subject which I know and love, irks me to a degree… It is far too trivial, surely to be discoursing on the feline, when there are deeper and more meaningful issues that I could be pursuing?  Yet cats are an every day reality for me, and so I can use them to draw quiet metaphors, to learn their lessons, and to teach myself, and then may be more people, easily… and well… the idea for this cat prose has been sitting in my brain for a long while, so I have decided to let it all out of the box now; and then maybe I can save the world next month…

So back to being polished and professional… I have written in previous posts about how I used to segment my life into many pieces, all the better to control them and pick them off, one at a time.  At work, I pretty much wore a black mask of ‘me’ – not revealing too much of myself, playing my cards close to my chest and generally playing the role of a professional, got together career person.

At some point though, the real me would show through and often it would be disastrous – I’d some how muck up and trip up, and there would be reprisals and often tears.  Fundamentally I wasn’t living as my real self or being in my truth.  I was in fact, doing what I thought was right, rather than being who I really was.

It isn’t always easy being your real, naked, take or leave it, warts and all, self… And like most modes of living it has its’ pros and cons.  It is something I am getting better at with practice, but also something I would like to do even more of.  So if I am to get really good at this being ‘more of myself’ thing, then I really ought to be thinking ‘cat’…

Cats certainly have the edge when it comes to definitive authenticity.  They are of course animals, born without guile or guise.  Even so, they still learn wiles and wisdom. Because never be fooled, even a cat can put on an act.

Just ask any household where more than one person has responsibility for feeding the felines therein.  My own is a case in point.  Person Number One (AKA me) will feed the crowd of demanding, wide eyed, starving moggies.  The cats, now apparently sated, will curl up and go to sleep, and so Person Number One can leave The Cave, safe in the knowledge that all have been provided for.  Person Number Two (my housemate Pia) will then enter the premises and immediately be assailed by a team of wide awake, seemingly starving cat creatures, urging and insisting that they must be fed now.

And as for all those well cared for cats that work the system, and who go out into the world to beg from any random soft hearted human that thinks they are doing a felicitous thing for a feline – let’s please not go there!

For a cat, such an act is a survival mechanism to feed whilst there is plenty; and I can see that the masks and guises I used to wear, were pretty much for the self same survival reason.  Or so I perceived…

Whereas a cat generally lives its’ truth, acts on its’ own desires / instincts, and in doing so follows its’ own path; I had to have a happy mid life crisis, and leave the world of corporate work for a while to (oh go on, I’ll cliché say it), find my self.

I left, trained to be a Coach and set up my own business, mainly so that I could be more of myself in what I do, more easily.  For I have found that as I move through life, being me is the easiest thing I can ever do (though it is sometimes scary) and that my success ultimately comes from being ‘real’, rather than playing any part in a ‘play’ where the script has been written by some one else.  Often some one who doesn’t really understand me and how to get the best out of me, rather than the most out of me, at that.

Interesting though, that after a while I missed the corporate world (for a number of reasons) and so I went back to it, and have incorporated it back into my life and the work I now do.  In doing so, I can sometimes live a dichotomy – I am very clear about who I am and what I bring to the table, but I still, of necessity, have other people’s expectations to live up to and structures to knit in with.  And sometimes as a result, I have not fitted in, and at others, I have fitted a mould – marvellously, if not conventionally…

And so now, when I go back to thinking cat, I see that they are free in the way that they treat life; they live it to the full capacity of their being.  Cats are, at their core, being entirely true to themselves, and being the smug, got together creatures that they are, are very good at it too.  All this and these sage beasts get to sleep for a vast proportion of their existence too!  I can see that all of my cats definitely sleep for their success, and this particular aspect of leonine logic is something I am still working on…

As such, I have only recently ceased to deny that I am a work in progress, but at least, like a cat, I will work it all out, in my own way…

PS: Did you know that a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, cats and all?  I’m completely biased of course, but it makes a purrfect present, whether you be a cat lover or no.  All of human life is in this gorgeous book – all the fear, light, dark, and of course love, for any one who wants to be entertained and to know that they are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you… You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ from book websites any where in the world, including Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

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