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’.

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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)

A kitten called Sophia or… that cucking fat…

Number 17 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 Sandra Peachey – the author of ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’.

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It is day 17 of my Blog Challenge and time to introduce you to Cat Number Three – the youngest of the pride – Sophia.

Where to start with Sophia? How can I define her when she is so many things? Well… during her time in The Cave, I have called her many things too… and not always polite ones…

I have been known to yell ‘you little shit’ at her, when she was in every sense, being one… And whilst all the members of The Pride (including me of course) have their ‘moments’; for a long time, Sophia seemed to have the most and worse, moments of us all…

I remember relaying her early evil exploits to a friend who had never met her in the furry flesh, and she responded ‘oh go on, she’s just being a kitten’. And when I further said that I was seriously thinking of returning her (to the cat charity from whence she came), I was met with incredulity – ‘you wouldn’t, surely..?’  Well, of course I could, and clearly I never did, yet I came very close, on a number of occasions…

So why would such a diminutive creature be causing such a big kerfuffle? Well, if she wasn’t destroying the carpets, or the furniture, or throwing soil out of plant pots, then she was raking my skin with her hooky claws, or exasperating the life out of the two elder cats. When she wasn’t asleep, she would be constantly crashing through the cat flap, backwards and forwards, for hours at a time – bashing out one minute, crashing in the next. And whereas most kittens I know, know how to use a litter tray, she preferred instead to piss and pooh in the corner of the living room / or on my bed, and then I would spend hours scouring out stains and trying to chase away and erase the rancid stench which would hang around for weeks infecting my sensitive nose.

If she wasn’t pleading piteously for food, she was eating us out of house and home.  She has a mega metabolism which means that she can happily consume many times her own body weight, but since she is so slim and slight, her body weight is actually negligible…

All of the cats hunt to some degree. But with Sophia it is a constant sport and she likes to bring her catches home, into The Cave, so I have the constant chore of clearing up dead bodies, mopping smears of blood off the floor and attempting to chase and catch escaped victims, without getting clawed or bitten. (And in this I have failed, having been bitten by rodents several times – thank goodness that my tetanus jabs are up to date…). One of her favourite kills are shrews, and she likes to secret them round the living room. I can only assume that she is saving them for later. Saving them for what, I cannot imagine, but for such a tiny creature, a dead shrew gives off a highly recognisable and almighty stink…

Oh yes… That transposition of a ‘cucking fat’!

Still, despite all the crap and cadavers, this mischievous little Miss is still here, because at some point I decided that this tiny little scrap of a cat could either be my nemesis, or else she could be my teacher… And the name Sophia as it turns out, means ‘wisdom’…

Sophia’s lessons for me have been manifold. And one of the biggest things she has taught me, is patience. It is, I have to say, a virtue I have, for much of my life, been some what lacking in… Yet with patience Sophia and I have achieved a lot… I created and reinforced rules and boundaries for her, which she ignored at first, and yet, as I persisted over time, she started to take notice and slowly, we grew in to each other.

It was a simple lesson in relationships – I did my thing by setting the rules and, annoyingly she did her thing by doing anything and everything else. My ‘thing’ was to train, to tell off and to teach the ways of The Cave. Her thing was to fling her thing every where, skit about the house at a thousand miles an hour, ignore my orders and cause a feline furore.

Still, I am the hu-mamma – the responsible adult in this relationship, and so, after accepting her for who and what she was – I persisted with supplying her boundaries; I learnt her little ways and as a result, was able to ‘meet her in the middle’. And some how, over time, we just grew together. I grew wiser and calmer, and she grew up and calmed down.

And when you really know Sophia, there is an awful lot to love about her. It isn’t just that gorgeous grey, tawny, peachy and patched fur either. She is a very engaging little creature, and of all The Pride, she loves to ‘talk’ the most. She squeals, mews and chirrups constantly.  She also loves to chat, so we conduct regular conversations, where I pose existential questions and she responds – always agreeing, very loudly and passionately, with what ever I have to say (I do so love slavish agreement and devotion…).

She is easy and quick to purr, and her signature sound is composed of a symphony of sonic layers, imbued with myriad levels of meaning, and resonating with trills and arias.

Sophia also has the attractive trait of being a living, breathing squeak toy… Just squeeze her slightly, in the middle of her soft body, and she always, satisfyingly, squeals her pleasure at your rogue attention.

So – my little ‘Sopherella’ – the kitten rescued from a smelly old sofa in some one’s garden, was worth all the effort that I both made of her and then for her. And whilst I love an easy life; since life with Sophia felt so hard, for so long; some how, the sweet relationship that we have now as a result, is incredibly special. That which was so hard won, is just so absolutely wonderful.

And, Sophia meaning ‘wisdom’, is well and truly all that – for me…

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, for you or the cat lover in your life… You can buy it from book websites any where in the world, including Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

Taz the Teddy Bear Cat, teaches the life skill of Flexibility…

Number 16 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 Sandra Peachey – the author of ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’.

It is Day 16 of my February Blog Challenge and despite the fact that we are now over half way through, I promised several days ago to effect some introductions… So far I have just (formally anyway) introduced you to my Number One Cat – George. Now it is the turn of my next feline friend, and whilst I would also claim to have a poor memory (since it seems that I am forgetting my manners), let me start to put that social faux pas straight and introduce you to Number Two Cat – Taz.

Taz 1

Now the Numbers denote only the order into which my marvellous moggies came into my life; they in no way delineate their ranking or the degree to which any of them is loved. I couldn’t actually love any of the cats of The Pride any more or less – for one of the many splendours of love, is that you love differently, every time, with every one…

And so to Number Two Cat: Ladies and Gentlemen, please say hello to Taz, a beautiful boy, covered by a coat of long black fur, but definitely not black or bleak in personality.

He is, in the furry flesh – a living, loving, breathing teddy bear of a cat. So when a Polish friend of mine told me that the word for teddy bear in her native language is ‘Misiu’ (pronounced ‘me-shoo’), then this naturally became Taz’s nick name. It also means a cute and cuddly personage, and my Taz-zy boy is all that too.

When ever I return to the Cave, love and social decorum dictates that all my cats are greeted in turn with a hello and a humo-feline hug. When it is Taz’s turn, I pick him up, and this despite the fact that he weighs a proverbial ton. To hold him is like draping a soft, furry hod of bricks over your right shoulder. But that heaviness melts into a solid hunk of love, as he stretches out in purring, nuzzling pleasure, and we are lost, for a few seconds, in an adoring connection of female and feline affection. Then reality and gravity weigh back in, the loving burden becomes too heavy and so I put him back down on the ground, with all four paws on the floor again.

Down at ground level Taz then leaves me in no doubt as to where he wants this relationship to go next. He demands to be fed. So after the formalities are over, what ever the time of day (or night) he tries to guide me to the area of the kitchen where the feeding bowls reside (since he knows I have a bad memory and that I may have forgotten).

Guiding aside, he will also try to stare a meal out of you. He has the hugest pair of green gimlet eyes, which he can widen and intensify at will, turning them on you, to bore into you like two lightening laser beams.

Taz, in common with most cats has a survival instinct which means that he and the others of The Pride will flexibly and happily take food from where ever it is offered, meaning that Taz and all the cats will guzzle their grub from any source in the house, be that a human house mate, friend or whom so ever.

Taz though takes this to a whole new level. Our cave acquired a new human house mate a couple of months ago, called Pia. She is an early riser and offered, almost immediately, to feed the marauding moggies of The Pride when ever I am not around. Not being a morning person, I am almost never around first thing…

As well as being an early riser, Pia tends to go early to bed, and firmly closes her bedroom door against the world. Taz will then almost invariably stand (or I should say sleep) guard – curling up tightly, to snore – by that same door; waiting out the long, dark hours until she rises and is ready to feed him again, or else trip over him on the way to the bath room…

Taz has that flexible feline trait of learning quickly and taking action there on, in abundance. It is a characteristic which has served the domestic cat and their wild forebears well. I once read in fact, that it is this flexibility which has made Felis Catus – the tamed cat we are all familiar with, one of the most adaptable and therefore successful of domesticated creatures.

And it is this flexibility that is one of the fundamental lessons that Taz teaches me. I like to think that in a world full of flux, I can constantly evolve and easily adapt. And when like Taz I accept change, I can then most easily make the necessary changes to cope and then to thrive.

When I am inflexible and entrenched instead, that, so often is when difficulties arise. It is when situations and life get harder. Despite all my life’s work and personal development, there are still times when I bemoan my fate or my choices or what impact some one else’s actions are having on me. It is like having my feet stuck in setting concrete – even though I can shout and wave my arms around, when I refuse to accept and adapt, it means that I am well and truly fixed to one, solid spot.

Flexing my flexibility muscles sometimes takes some effort – I have a life time of pre-disposition and experience at my disposal after all. Yet if I can be flexible in my thoughts and my approaches, then it follows that I will naturally start to have more choices. To ‘think cat’ in this instance is to accept, then flex and adapt and in doing so, learn more deeply and move on more quickly. And then, I will find that the concrete boots holding me painfully down, have started to dissolve and will invariably crumble to dust, and I will find myself free and bare footed – always my favourite way to travel.

And Taz, for all his fine feline intelligence is still a simple, kitten soul, who values, food, independence, and also I am delighted to say – love. He gives and receives of love in its’ most simple, unaffected and affectionate guise.

So Taz really is, in my completely inflexible opinion, the most magnificent of lucky black cats…

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, for you or the cat lover in your life… You can buy it from book websites any where in the world, including Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

What Cats Teach Us About Boundaries, or… ‘what’s yours is mine & what’s mine is mine’

Number 15 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 Sandra Peachey – the author of ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’.

George Tickets

“But I was only keeping them warm for you…”

One evening I was dashing around getting ready for a night out. I had been well organised and printed off the tickets I needed well in advance, and now I was ready to leave the house… I raced around looking in all the usual safe spots, but the tickets had seemingly disappeared… Finally I spotted them – they were on the sofa of all places; and in fact were ensconced under my cat George (quite rightly and safely, in his opinion). I grabbed the tickets out from under him, wondering if he was either – being helpful and pointing to them for me; he was trying to prevent me from leaving the cave and going out into the jungle; or he had simply taken possession of them…

Cats can be very possessive creatures… Leave your favourite jumper, or a pile of laundry, or a book, or any number of random objects lying around unattended, and next thing you know, a cat will be draped over it, probably feigning sleep. If you then dare to reclaim that particular possession, the un-felicitous feline will be righteously outraged and shall then invariably shoot you such a look of such distain and reproach, that the fact that you did not want your (own owned) object covered in mud and fur, is now rendered of absolutely no consequence. In short, they have hijacked what was rightfully yours and yet you are the one feeling mildly bad / slightly sad! Cats are clever like that…

That’s my humorous, human take on it of course, but really what I see with cats, is a constantly curious examination of and experimentation with the boundaries that surround them.

In amongst ‘The Pride’ that is composed of 3 cats and myself, there is an invariable pushing and testing of the boundaries that both tie us together, and characterise how we interact. And these interactions naturally happen in the human world too, and often will surface in the coaching work that I undertake with clients.

A case in point was one of my corporate clients. Several summers ago I was coaching a lady called Carol who had a high powered, professional job in a very male dominated industry. Her manager had suggested that she undertake a programme of coaching, so she had come to me and together we were working through a number of inter-related issues – which, as they do for so many of us, were inter-woven with her emotional history, her personal life and her work life.

Carol would come to my house once a week at 8.00 am, for a two hour coaching session, which would almost invariably be conducted in the garden, (or, as I like to refer to it, my ‘outside office’). As always Carol would be let in, greeted by the cats, select a flavoured tea (from the vast range that I provide) and then settle herself down at my garden table.

I remember how one particular morning we were discussing boundaries… Carol was working through some issues that she had with several work colleagues. It seemed as if there was a blurring of the boundaries in respect of who took charge, who took notice and how every one functioned as part of their team. As a result, there was a lot of verbal jostling and email jousting, as the various parties involved sought to stake a claim and make a point. It made for a stressful scenario, as people patrolled their power borders, trying to either take (or ignore) their own and other’s respective responsibilities.

As Carol and I worked through this, in the morning sun light, I was explaining my thoughts about boundaries and then, with perfect timing, my cats Taz and Sophia came racing through the garden. Taking no notice of the humans, they literarily screeched to a halt, feet away from our feet and started to scrap. The two of them turned in to snarling knot of fur, with paws, torso and tails, toiling and tumbling in their power play.

I was unconcerned – they do this a lot and neither hurts the other. Their tussles are combination of play and questing for dominance; questioning and pursuing who holds what place in the feline order of things. Play fight over, a new order is established, until the time comes to test it all over again.

For us suited and booted humans at work, it is also normal to test our boundaries, but we need a more solid approach, where colleagues understand and accept the boundaries that are set out – both formally in terms of reporting lines and duties, and informally, through daily interaction.

My duelling cats were neatly demonstrating what happens when challenges to other’s boundaries are made… Carol and I then took their skirmish and used it as a metaphor to draw comparisons with her work situation. We talked through being clear about our own boundaries and other’s, which then made dealing with the ‘border skirmishes’ that incurred into our own territories, easier. For Carol, gaining clarity on this became her own soft power, which meant that instead of individual rucks and retaliations, she now found that she could mentally step away and see the whole picture, not just her corner of it. And in doing so, she gained a greater perspective on dealing with each single situation, suddenly allowing them to become more simple and therefore far less consuming – in terms of time and emotional energy.

Corporate life has often been referred to as a ‘jungle’ and I could make many analogies about that here. Suffice to say that such analogies often emanate from animal type behaviour, yet we need to move beyond this, because that is just one dimension of who we are and what we do.

One of the many reasons that coaches have a place in today’s climate is because of the way in which the world of work is set up, in that we learn the nuts and bolts of our professions, the ins and outs of our tasks and we gain experience in our duties. However, so often we are not given a text book education about how to handle relationships (at work or other wise), how to best manage our thoughts and feelings, or indeed how to manage the every day politics of any of the worlds that we walk through.

And so, needless to say, I shall return to my cats. After their scrap, Taz and Sophia were next to be found sprawled out on the garden lawn, enjoying the sunshine and each other’s company. I watched as Taz suddenly grabbed Sophia’s head with his front paws, and instead of giving her a severe ‘licking’, gave her several lavish grooming licks instead. The gesture felt like another, finer, familial form of putting Sophia in her place, and yet she accepted it with delight and by purring out her pleasure in testament. This place in the order, she did not refute or fight.

I know which kind of licking I prefer…

PS: Real time writing… Due to a delicious piece of unconscious serendipity, I happened to bump into Carol just a couple of hours after I posted this blog… She introduced me to the new man in her life and then told him about her ‘coaching with cats’ experience. She said how loving and friendly the Pride are and how, especially at the beginning of our coaching time together, so often she would be feeling sad and that Taz, my fabulous feline teddy bear, would come to her and nudge her and give her a cat cuddle to cheer her up. She then went on to say that the coaching experience with me was “life changing” and that everything in her world had since changed – her job, her relationship, her home. She finished off by thanking me.

Even after all this time of sharing what I do with the world, I’m still a little uncomfortable with such blandishments, yet I have learnt to accept such gorgeous comments in good grace and also acknowledged in return that she was the one who had made the changes and turned her life around. And it was so lovely to see – she looked less tired and stressed; her energy was so much freer and happier. I don’t have a word for how that makes me feel, though the feeling is a curious blend of humble and proud. Proud, for me, and my coaching cats, of course…

PPS: 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, for you or the cat lover in your life… You can buy it from book websites any where in the world, including Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

Cats – on Love, Life and Litter

Cat Heart

So here I am writing a month of blogs and so far they have been cat themed – I am testing and trying out ideas for a new book – ideas for content, for tone, and inspiration…

Three years ago I set myself a blog challenge – to write a Love Letter to Life every day of that romantic month. I completed that challenge and my first book Peachey Letters was born. So that was a whole month of Love Letters – to many and varied aspects in my life. This time, I have only one preoccupation and that is a feline one. Just what can cats teach we humans about Love, Life and Litter? And so the calendar has wound round again to the 14th of February – Valentines Day, so here I am, once again, writing about love.

When it comes to cats and love, like everything else, they pretty much have the whole issue sewn up.

So how do cats do love? I guess the very first object of love is the mother and just like humans they are dependent upon a female adult to nourish them and start to teach them life’s lessons. Mother is the source of food and a warm furry belly to cuddle up to and fall asleep securely within those paw walls.

But the first real lesson in love we can divine is how a cat loves itself. Cats have an innate sense of contentment and care in just about every movement and moment of their lives. They are born with self assurance, which is nurtured by their mother, and reinforced by their fellow kittens. See how, from the earliest age a kitten takes care of itself – taking the utmost pleasure in licking, nipping and grooming its’ coat. Witness their closed eyes and concentrated demeanour and feel their satisfaction at a job well done, and their smuggery at being so beautiful.

To see a kitten or cat of any size, who is feeling secure and happy, at rest, is to witness a complete ease with their own body, and the soft sensual delight of stretching and curling in to endless tangles and poses that belie complete contentment.

Cats love their bodies, they enjoy their bodies, they take care of their bodies.

Whereas in a cat you will see a constant pleasure in the physical, with me it is a love hate thing. I glance in the mirror and see both good and bad. I see fat and I see ageing. Sometimes I see ugly looking back and me, and often I will see beautiful. And whilst I do not have the constant uncritical contentment in my body that a cat does, I do like to take care of this earthly temple that holds my soul. I exercise, I eat well, I rest, I prioritise my self care. In this way I really do think cat. Well… sometimes… sometimes I’m a couch potato, sometimes I eat wrongly or too much, but in being the head of the Pride I get to have more choice, I get to try and to push the boundaries, in all areas of my life; whereas my cats take a more tried and tested route – simple self love and contentment. In truth I am love with the blissful ease of simplicity, yet often I over complicate so many things in my life. There is, most definitely, a lesson in that…

So moving on from self love, why and how do cats give love? Now, much as I am a misty eyed lover of my moggies, I am also a realist. I know it all starts with cupboard love. I know that as the purveyor and opener of tins, pouches and packets, I hold the power. But I am not the only one who feeds the Peachey Pride. Whom so ever in that hungry moment feeds them, has their undivided and ravenous attention… And has, for those few gobbling minutes, their gratitude.

Then they’ve eaten and then they move on…

I, perhaps in a romanticised, self important way, like to think that food is just the starting point and that they also love to give and receive love and affection and in fact, demand it from me.

All my cats want to be stroked, petted and fussed, and they leave you in no doubt about what they want from you. You get head butted, kneaded, mewed at, stamped on and nudged. They want affection and are delighted to receive it, showing their pleasure as purrs – the ultimate expression of cat happiness.

As I have grown in age and wisdom I have got so much better at asking for what I want in love, yet always I can do more, think more cat…

I am not so blind as to think that I am the only human my cats will exchange such loving energy with. But it is from me that they demand the most affection, and in the happy repetition of giving and receiving of it, we form a bond, it strengthens our ties – and that is all part and parcel of how to love well.

As humans, I know that we have different ways of expressing, of giving and receiving love, and only some are about touch and affection.   As various as we two legged creatures are, there are different bonds that brings us together; there are different acts of love, and not just the obvious Valentine ones of roses, cards and chocolates. So, to love well, observe what gives pleasure and feedback and give those back, as your acts of love.

All of my cats love differently, all in their characteristic ways and they show me how to best love them – to be scratched just there – ah bliss! To be offered up a soft trusting belly to tickle, to be allowed onto a lap and also, at times to leave them alone, to let them have their own space, so that all in good order, there can be loving shared space.

I am getting better at asking for how I want to be loved. Just like my cats, I gravitate more naturally and spend time with those who see me and love me for who I am and who, in return show me that I am respected, liked and / or loved, in what ever context I will conjoin with them in.

Now in this regard, I am most definitely and most lovingly, thinking cat

♥ Happy Valentines Day, to all two legged and four legged creatures, every where ♥

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, for you or the cat lover in your life… You can buy it from book websites any where in the world, including Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

Cats and the Expression of Existential Angst

As an early Valentine present, at the time of posting, the author of this blog – Sandra Peachey, published the gorgeous book ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ 2 years ago… To celebrate, the cost of the Kindle edition has been reduced to just £1.99 / $2.99 for 3 days starting from Tuesday 11 February 2015. At the time of posting there is just a few hours of this promotion left, before the book returns to it’s normal selling price of £6.00. For the UK click http://ow.ly/IRSbQ, for the USA http://ow.ly/IRTkK or check out your nearest Amazon site… And have a very Happy Valentines! 

cat angst

George, puss of this parish, sometimes stands at the top of the stairs in our house / cave yowling loudly, long and insistently… I mean really loudly, for a really long time and so, so insistently…

Why does he do this? I have several theories…

If I am feeling prone to anthropomorphizing and romanticising, I like to surmise that George is on old human soul, doomed to return to this corporeal world – shrunk down into feline form and clothed in coat of fur; locked into a new linear life where he tries to tell us that one act of mere magic will release him from this animal form, to be for ever free…

Or: George is a truly wise being, who understands everything; a creature who knows what we mere humans have no concept of – this being that we do not live out our full truth and joy, and in not doing so, we are doomed to pain; so on our behalf he eloquently expresses our suffering – swallowing in our sorrows and breathing them dissonantly out of his body, in his own free form of existential angst; cursing our condition and bemoaning the fate of the world…

Or: Something terrible has happened; there is clear and present danger and so he needs to warn us, to save us and for us to rescue him in return…

Or: He wants me to come up stairs and let him into the bedroom…

Speculation aside, it would seem that George has little to complain about… His needs are all met – since he has food, shelter and love. He has freedom. He is handsome. He was born with an instinctual and smug sense of self, of knowing his mind and living according to his whims and desires.

And still, he complains… What would he know??? Because, excuse me, but as the human Head of the Pride I’m the one with the hard life: I am the provider, the huntress, and the toiler. I am the one who lives a complicated, extricated, inter-woven life out there in the jungle, away from the sanctuary of our lion cave. I am the one who has to pay bills and do chores. It is my relentless remit to ensure that everything runs smoothly – that house work is done, that the garden is maintained. And not only all that, but I get sick sometimes too. And I don’t have enough help. It’s not as if a cat will help… “Make me a cup of tea” I will say to any one of my so called feline friends, and they just ignore me… I should be the one complaining…

OK, so I do complain – I get caught up in a dirge like drama of life’s treadmill and trammel, with a thousand and one dark thoughts, which, like marshalled moths, are for ever flying raggedly round and round a maudlin moon. And yet you, George, a pampered pet, are sounding your discord, your discontent, your cares, your worries and your demands.  But why, when you have it all so easy

Well… there is that saying: ‘we all have a cross to bear’, I guess that I just can’t see the George Cross.

Instead I am caught in a constant cycle of negative thoughts, which means that I create a living reality of negativity; my very own well of wallowing hell, happening right here, between my ears… It is a vapid vortex which feeds and fattens itself on happenings in my word, on many things – tiredness, or the level of menopausal hormones rampaging through my system, or being middle aged; being crowded, being alone, being bothered, being blah, blah, blah…

At least George gets it all out of his system; instead of ruminating on his woe, he yowls and howls it out, and in doing so hurls it away; and then, all spent, he trots down stairs, back to me – to be adored, to fall asleep, to purr and so to move on.

I should take a leaf out of his book – and let it all go, let it out, then just move on.

And… I’m a coach – you know, one of those people who’s life mission it is to support others, to help them blast through blockages, make a difference, have what they want, be happy and fulfilled…  So I should have my shit together, not be flinging it around!

And suddenly I remember my mother… She would resentfully bottle things up over time; then out it would all come, the crap and capriciousness, loaded with complaints and caterwauls; slowly building up to a hissing head of steam, and then bang! She would explode, yelling and rampaging her frustration against… us, her life and the world… Oh, my mother… now I am an age when I sense I have somehow caught up with her, I really feel for her. She simply did not have the support, emotional education or resources to do any thing other than rail… And my heart aches, but that was her life lived. So of course I am my mother’s daughter, but still I am my own woman too. I understand the frustration and see the rage, and then I pull back, take stock, and strike to make a change.

The change is effected by the single biggest tool in my coaching box, and it is a gorgeously simple one – the constant practice of gratitude… I see the best, celebrate and give thanks for all that is in my life. I turn curses in to thank you’s. I pause to list things to be grateful for, sometimes through gritted teeth, but always with a determined positivity. Next I will list out: what I am and how I will be, on this day… ‘I am a coach; I am strong; I am a completer/finisher; I am energy; I am contentment; I am / I am / I am…’

And as for complaining, I turn that into coaching, and then turn to my own coaches too for support – to shine a light, to help me to spin back around to a more healthy sanity. And always, there is George – who comes to me and I stroke him, and the soft touch makes us both content, and he purrs – his own delicious declaration that all is well, for now… And now, for both of us is all that matters, this mini moment of happiness.

So, the next time George feels like yowling his furry head off, I could just join in, or I should just pick him up and cuddle him instead. And then neither of us would have any thing to complain about…

PS: Remember that there is a special Valentine Gift promotion on the book version of this blog! The cost of the Kindle edition has been reduced to £1.99 / $2.99 for just a few more hours (at the time of posting, Friday 13 February 2015). Happy Valentines from the author and her cats! For the UK click http://ow.ly/IRSbQ, for the USA http://ow.ly/IRTkK or check out your nearest Amazon site…

The Art of Blogging and the Sacred Science of Cats

As an early Valentine present, at the time of posting, the author of this blog – Sandra Peachey, published the gorgeous book ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ 2 years ago… To celebrate, the cost of the Kindle edition has been reduced to just £1.99 / $2.99 for 3 days starting from Tuesday 11 February 2015. At the time of posting there are just two days of this promotion left, before the book returns to it’s normal selling price of £6.00. For the UK click http://ow.ly/IRSbQ, for the USA http://ow.ly/IRTkK or check out your nearest Amazon site… And have a very Happy Valentines! 

george - Kitten

George then – an impossibly pretty kitten

It’s Day 12 of my blogging journey… And I’ve finally decided to do some proper introductions… So you may like to do things in a 1, 2, 3 / A, B, C linear way, but I live in an anarchy of chaotic thoughts; so, instead in my own 7,5,1 / Z, W, B sort of a way, I let those thoughts fly, I capture them, then I let them lie and percolate… And then I come back to them, or not…

For some people blogs are rigorous, diarised outputs… Yet for me they are for splurges of free thought and feeling, which I can leave to float through the Universe until they bump into something or some one else…

Or… I can use them as a beginning – to later take them and make them into a super crafted whole, where I will edit and shape and give them a place in a more straitened structure, playing their part, a section in a chapter, now out of my head and waiting, patiently, to be slotted into a future grand scheme…

In this sense, they are an experiment. A testing and trying of ideas, and style.

And for me, more importantly, they are also an electronic letter to the world, (what ever that world may be composed of, or who ever it may be peopled by); replacing my lost (to time) love of pen and paper – of that reminisced crafting and weaving of news and musings, and the committing of them once and for all, to a for ever piece of parchment…

I remember, in times past, the nervousness of putting a ‘controversial’ letter into a post box, and I have experienced this in my more recent times when I started to blog – that scary second just before pushing the final ‘publish’ button; then to sit back and be damned, or damned with faint praise, or even, possibly praised, or even more likely ignored, or (I really suspected at the time) judged, or what ever else I might lay myself open to, when ever I share my stuff…

What actually came back (in those scary, early blogging days) was overwhelmingly positive, yet being a sensitive soul, what ever was negative stuck with me and tortured me for a while, until I processed the comments, then learnt their lessons; and found myself, ultimately smiling at ALL the feedback that I have received…

However, I digress! I promised you some late introductions, now that I am further than a third of a way through my February blogging challenge…

So I shall start by introducing George, and as I write this in real time, here is a picture of him, taking just now, sweetly sleeping…

Geo recumbent

George now – recumbent, right this minute

You may have to look closely, but there is definitely a cat in there, merged into slumbering obscurity, blending in beautifully with the surrounding softness of MY blanket…

I remember in perfect detail the day we first met… He was one of six male kittens, all of which were snoozing together, in an unbelievably tangled and cute way, in a large basket. One of the kittens had his head over the edge of the basket… and I knew, then and there, that he was the one…

They all stirred awake and I was introduced to them, one by one… but I knew… And I took him home with me that self same day…

Till that point in my life I had been living a conventional existence, working 9 to 5 (well 8 to 7 actually…) in a professional, corporate role, and yet was starting to flirt with the thought of living my life in a different way.

George came to me just months before I started a new phase in my life, one where I have experimented with life and work and writing and coaching, and in doing so being more of myself (cliché alert). So he has literally been with me (I’m actually not afraid of clichés), on the ‘journey’ – my feline friend and helpmeet, and in many senses, a fur covered guru…

He was the most beautiful kitten in every way, with an easy, sweet and friendly nature. And despite the fact that I was, at that time living with a partner who worked at home, and I worked out there – in ‘the jungle’, leaving my kitten behind for long, long hours, George had decided, from day one, that without any doubt, that I was ‘his’…

His ‘what’ has long been debated between us… As far as I am concerned, I am the head of the Pride, and I will be harmoniously and unconditionally obeyed (she stated in megalomaniacal tones).

Now I have heard it said, that in urban legend, a dog regards you as his master, whereas a cat regards you as his parent. Yet I am, quite frankly, at this middle aged stage in my life, rather embarrassed to be known as a cat’s ‘mummy’.

So to elucidate and (quite frankly) to grossly generalise – just in case you are not a pet person: Have a cat or dog in your female life, and you are nearly always referred to, in the third party idiom of pet owners, as the animal’s ‘mummy’. Not an owner, nor a mum, not a mother, no – a mummy…   This language tick emanates from a whole, latent sub culture of baby talk based pet dialect. As I am not a scholar on such issues, I cannot tell you from whence it arose, simply that it is one of those latent linguistic phenomena, that is

So I have evolved a new word for the relationship that I have with my cats – I am, (Oxford English Dictionary 2016 edition please note), the ‘hu-mamma’ – the responsible human / adoptive parent / head of the pride.

In my new definition, therein lies a dictionary difficulty… The word mamma is insinuated there, a more (I like to think) charismatic version of mummy. A stronger, more cosmopolitan statement of the position that I hold in my cat’s lives. Not a baby-fied, mummified personage, but a blend of care taker and leader. I position myself as the Chief Cave Lion, lazily and effortlessly in command of the family group; and the ultimate hunter (I go forth into the ‘jungle’, hunt, and then return with slayed pouches and boxes of cat food for them). Fundamentally, I advertise myself as ‘she who roars and must be obeyed’.

Maybe I don’t roar enough, or maybe I have done it too much over our 8 plus years together, but now George has grown, and has met and matched me in middle age, he clearly and constantly demonstrates that we should at least be equals (on a good day), or in fact that I am in actuality, a soft inferior, put in place in his cave to provide food and adoration and a soft stomach to purr on.

Like all relationships, the one I have with George ebbs and flows from moment to moment. It is clear that of all my cats he is the one closest to me, preferring and purring to be constantly by my side and taking a keen interest in all I do around the cave. When I meditate he likes to join in. When I have coaching clients around, he takes a keen interest, watching these precious people working through their stuff and acting as an emotional indictor of what is going on within. He will stand aside when there is confusion, and he will gravitate towards the client who demonstrates clarity, rubbing and purring his royal approval.

Oh, and speaking of indicators, did I mention that George is a ‘pointer’ cat? I discovered this one day when I had a new visitor to the home. George as always, graciously introduced himself to her. I then wondered aloud where my cat Taz was, so that we could effect that introduction too. It was a warm day and so George sauntered out into the garden and over to a bush, under which my beautiful black cat Taz lay, smoothly snoozing the summer away.

A few months later Easter came around and I had hidden a cache of chocolate eggs around my garden for a friend’s two children to find.

In their excitement the children did not see that George had walked up to and sat by all the eggy hiding places, one by one, in turn. Instead they shrieked and scrabbled through the under growth and found all but one egg hidden away, all by themselves. Frustrated at not being able to find the last egg, they started their round of the garden again; parting and peering through armfuls of foliage and a bounty of bushes, all to no avail…

I eventually relented and told them that George held the clue, and sure enough, there he was, posed and poised roast chicken style, pointing at where the final egg lay, out of sight of super excited children.

So there it is… much as I try to exert my gentle dominance, George actually knows that he is the one in charge. He clearly points the way to greater treasures in life, if I would but acknowledge that so called sacred fact, and take due, diligent note. George, of course, knows the score, he has life licked, in many and various ways. If I take the time I can learn so much from his confidence, his insouciance and the easy way in which he loves himself greatly, and so has the source and strength to love me on, in spades, paws and purrs.

You see, as much as I would ascribe to my self the title of head of the pride, George actually knows that he is in fact, undeniably, indisputably the actual Head of the Peachey Pride.

PS: Remember that there is a special Valentine Gift promotion on the book version of this blog! The cost of the Kindle edition has been reduced to £1.99 / $2.99 for just 2 more days (at the time of posting, Thursday 12 February 2015). Happy Valentines from the author and her cats! For the UK click http://ow.ly/IRSbQ, for the USA http://ow.ly/IRTkK or check out your nearest Amazon site…

Love Letters, Books and Blogs…

heart feb 15

As I start to write this, my mind has decided to go blank, sit back and go on strike, bless… So where to start..?  

Today I’m sharing all the latest on my writing exploits, and also my coaching and consulting biz – LifeWork.

My consultancy I’m delighted to say, is thriving and is bringing in lots of corporate work.  And as well as working with large organisations, I’m passionate about supporting small and medium sized businesses too, so do get in touch for a no obligation check up and catch up, if you would like to discuss how we could work together to turn your dreams and plans in to realizable ‘doings’ – both to build a successful business and to have the best possible life.  As a LifeWork Coach, you see, I believe that for most of us, the 2 are not indistinguishable and I work with my clients to integrate all aspects of their existence, for the best possible outcomes. And even better, my clients get to choose what those outcomes are.

As well as ‘LifeWork’, I’m taking some deliberate time during this February to focus on my writing. I have several started manuscripts for books and have needed some momentum to turn those ideas into realities.  Do you ever experience this too – i.e. having a great idea and yet doing little or nothing about it?

What works for me is if I commit publically to my plans and ask for support.  That’s how my first ever book came about – I started a blog challenge, to write a ‘Love Letter to Life’ every day for the Valentine month of February. It was an amazing experience, I got so much positive feedback and out of that, came my first book ‘Peachey Letters ~ Love Letters to Life’.

Peachey Letters

I published Peachey Letters two years ago on the 14th of February and so it is time to celebrate – both my anniversary and of course Valentine’s Day 2015 too!

In honour of this occasion, the Kindle edition of my book has been reduced to just £1.99 for the 3 days leading up to Valentine’s Day – i.e. the 11th to 13th of February.  Here is the link to Amazon uk, where you can download my heartfelt offer.  Please enjoy, with my love xXx

A Month of Blogging

And so, on to the next book!  Since February is clearly my month for starting projects, once again I am posting a new blog, every day for the month of February.  You will see that I am currently playing with the idea of a book on what Cats Can Teach Us About Life, so am sharing my lessons in ‘love, life and litter’ with the world at large, be they cat lovers or not… I’d love to know what you think – the feedback I have already received, has been so helpful…

In my life’s lessons, one of the interesting ones of being an author, was that sitting down and writing my daily blogs was actually quite a lonely experience. I was determined that when I did this again, I would do it differently, and so I am delighted to share that 5 wonderful women bloggers have joined my on this journey and have all committed to blog through the month too (some daily, and some ad hoc).

I’d be delighted if you would check out all the beautiful blogs in our writerly enclave, from…

Vicky Stanton on being organised…
Michelle Attias on getting the best out of your business…
Linda Curtis on making the most of life…
Jane Hurd on making the most of gardening and eating…
And Patricia Cherry on weight management…

We’d all love your comments and support to get us to the end of February, to help us all get loads of blogs each under our respective belts!

So that is us… What is going to challenge YOU this February, with Spring soon promised and new horizons beckoning?  I created a challenge that completely suited me, my talents and goals, whilst also stretching my perceived limits… At the end of it I was rewarded with my book Peachey Letters.   And what, I wonder, would best challenge you? In work, in life, in ???  I am curious to know… So please share…

With the 14th of February just a few days away, I will finish off by wishing you all the love, strength and support you truly deserve, for this fine Valentine time.

With love, books and blogs…

Sandie

Sandra Peachey – Director of LifeWork and Author of Peachey Letters

What Cats Teach Us About Life: Are Relationships Natural?

IMG_0058

Sophia trying to quietly impress ‘uncle’ George

One of the many things that I am, is a social gad about – I love meeting new people… To get to know them, to share their similarities and quiz them on their quirks… And once that is accomplished, I will walk away, head for home and then roll a large rock over the entrance way to the Cave that the cats and I share (or in plain English – shut the door)…

As I have crawled, toddled and walked through life I have amassed family, acquaintances, colleagues and friends; and I am happy that some stay in my life and that some are passing through (for minutes or for years). All is in natural order.

I will always return home – to the silence and space that belongs to me and the people and creatures that a mixture of choice and fortune have decreed up on me.

And in amongst the weaving ways that make up the cloth of my life, cats have long been threaded through, from childhood until now, adding depth and colour and love to the fabric of my being.

Funny how I find now, in this middle stage of life, that I am no longer a social butterfly, who wants to flutter every where, sip at every flower and fly in pretty circles over summer day buttercup fields… Now I have slowed down, my home cave has become a multi purpose, multi dimensional place of domicile, office, sanctuary and thinking post.

And the cats of the Pride, saunter and skitter and insinuate themselves throughout all these activities.

When I moved into this particular cave, George and Taz came with me, both as young adults. George and I have been together since he was tiny and a year later Taz loped into our lives, a semi grown kitten cat. George, you understand, would far rather be an only cat, but he begrudgingly accepted Taz, who couldn’t care a fig about anything, as long as he is fed and loved and then left to his independent devices.

When the boy cats reached their middle age and we were all nicely settled in our respective ways I decided to bring a third cat into the mix. There were lots of reasons for this, not least that I thought how sweet it would be to have a kitten in our lives that we could all baby…

Bless my naiveté… or curse my lack of fore thought…

After a long search I found a creature that fitted my brief – a friendly, sweet, female kitten, who would be the ideal and accepted counterpoint to the older cats.

I found Sophia via a cat charity. I met her at her foster home and then had to pass a domestic assessment. Having seen her for the first time, she was clearly beautiful and seemed to have an even, shy temperament, but suddenly I got cold feet and changed my mind. Two cats was surely enough… I forgot to cancel the home assessment visit however, but still, I would explain that now wasn’t the right time. Well… the Cat Inspector came to the cave and she came with a (travel) cage that contained Sophia. She didn’t inspect, she opened the cage door instead and Sophia flew out and ran squealing up to sleeping and unsuspecting George.

So suddenly it was all a done deal! In a daze I signed the paperwork and bade the Cat Inspector good bye. Then I dashed out of the house to buy kitten food and new feline paraphernalia, leaving the cats of the newly enlarged Pride to introduce and fend for themselves.

A text book introduction of a new cat into a home with other moggy incumbents is to section off a quiet, safe place and keep the kitten there. Then gently introduce the other cats and let them get used to the scent of the interloper and the knowledge that they are near, but not a threat.

All textbooks were ditched out of the window, as the new comer careered around the home, desperate to be friends with the adult cats and being rejected instead, being scratchy and naughty and some how being noisily every where, at once.

Taz and George did not take kindly to having a feline stranger in their home. It was a huge adjustment for all of us.

Sophia had been a rescue kitten, found in a sofa in someone’s garden and had not been socialised with humans until she was several weeks old. This possibly explained her lack of social graces and her frequent anti social / dirty actions… I had to throw some of my furnishings away and replace them with clean, kitten proof ones… She didn’t obey instructions and hated being picked up, preferring to yowl and wriggle away.

The male cats fled the house and I would rarely see Taz except at meal times. George hates to be parted from me, but even so, would spend no longer than an hour in the same room as Miss Sophia.

Sophia was unwittingly trespassing in our cave and upsetting the rhythms and routines we had gently carved out in our cave over time.

Just as I like to have a refuge, George and Taz had had theirs suddenly taken away from them. Just like me, they like to socialise, but on their own terms and that means being able to pad away when we feel like it too.

I was so tempted to send Sophia back to the cat charity. But instead I persisted, I adjusted, I created boundaries, I repeated lessons, and I used patience and love in abundance, with all my cats. I kept Sophia out of certain rooms in the house, so the big cats could have their space. And over time, without my even knowing it, we all grew into each other and accepted each other, without force or push, just gradually evolving together.

This morning I picked Sophia up for a cuddle and she nuzzled into me and purred joyfully. Even though she has now been with us for 18 months, I can’t quite get over that she willingly allows this close physical touch… The rules are that if she doesn’t want to be handled then I let her go. And we are so much happier now because we accept Sophia’s ways too – learning that you never approach her, you allow her to come to you instead…

And, after months of growls and hisses and swipes from her uncles, Sophia is now rewarded with their constant company and even the occasional grooming lick… It is, in our world, the ultimate cat accolade.

Sophia truly is my little sweetheart now, and I’m glad that have I learnt, yet again, what some boundaries along with a whole lot of love and patience can achieve, in any relationship…

What Cats Teach Us About Life: Self Care is a Necessity, not a Luxury

George in Blankie

I’m working away today at my sofa cum office, and as always my cat, faithful friend and ‘colleague’ George is with me.

Well actually he is curled up on a gorgeous furry throw that I festoon my sofa (cum office) with. It keeps out any winter chill, is comfy to snooze under, and is just a coddling comfort of a cover when I feel like I want a little sweet softness in my life.

And it may be a ‘throw’ to you, yet to me it is my ‘blankie’, and I love, love, love it!  My blankie is a caress of comfort enveloping me, making the corporeal me less real.  It is softness defined into a loving square of comfort and joy, of pride and possession, my very own selfish delight, wrapping and binding me as a gift. When it is draped and shaped around me, I become a cosseted new me, yielding and melting and slowed…

That is, when I get a look in. If I do not rigorously fold it up and put it away after use, it immediately gets pounced upon and claimed. All the cats adore it, but George as always thinks that he has first dibs… In fact just this morning, I stood up and walked away from my sofa / office for a few minutes and let my lonesome blankie drop to the floor. I returned to find George somehow curled up on, and entangled in it, and so I vainly tugged at it to find a free corner that I could at least cover my cold toes with…

When I’m away, my house mate unfolds the blankie and lays it on the sofa so the cats can pick up my scent and find some comfort during my absence. They all knead and purr and pour over it.

Not that cats really need a blankie to find comfort. Cats are in fact true artisans when it comes to the practice of self love. They practice comfort and joy continually and naturally; where as, I, who claims to be head of the Pride, has to constantly engineer it and plan for it and partake of it, unnaturally…

So what is ‘self love’?  It is in thought about loving yourself; and in deed about taking care of yourself – and no, not we are not talking about the rude connotation that may just be running through your mind, right about now… I’m talking about ensuring that you have enough comfort and joy in your life, to sustain your life. That you think kind thoughts of yourself and give that same self ‘time out’ and treats. That you take time to slow down and to sleep enough and to do the things which make you truly happy – not run around giving yourself away and getting completely exhausted in the process.

Self love here can be reading a chapter of a gorgeous book, through to the ubiquitous spa break – it doesn’t have to have a budget and should certainly know no boundaries.

I’ve just lifted my eyes away from my words for a few seconds and I can see my cats in view, and all are sleeping, (George is next to me, Sophia is draped over the arm of our shared sofa and Taz is cutely snoring on the other sofa), they all look so comfortable and happy. And no one gave them permission to do that, it is natural to them, it sustains them, it gives them pleasure to share their slumbers and the company of all members of the Pride.

Cats have mastered the craft of relaxation and I really could do with learning a little more from them about prioritising it in my own life.  The truth is that comfort is something I truly adore, yet I find that I frequently eschew it, when I should be ardently pursuing it.

If I think more ‘Cat’ then I need to expand my (self) loving horizons, to build self love and comfort into the fabric of my every day life, rather than as a rare, planned for treat.

Now your idea of self love may be different, but mine is a long loving variety of different delights, starting with a hot drink, a glass of wine, a chunk of chocolate … the kiss of loving, warming food.  Comfort food … mmmmmmmm …  A comfort of sausage and mash wrapped in a gravy of oniony flavour; or of pure cold ice cream caressing the tongue and the throat, melting into sensory pleasure.

Now, love is my birth right and self love should be my practice, so how should I do more of this?  Simply or in a spa?  I’m placing self love firmly in the fabric of my being, not something sought after when I am sore or tired or lost. It is time for more self care to create those gorgeous moments of heart’s ease; all those single eternities of forgetfulness for everything except a delicious, comforting now.

Self love can be and mean so many things – is in fact a thousand things or it could be a single thing.  One thing is for sure and that it is all about me (or you). Its’ nature is various and it is simple.  It is common and it is golden.  It can be resting my head on a cat’s purring body, paddling in the sea, listening to beautiful music: lifting me up, laying me down, flattening out the undulations and tribulations of a life long lived. Self love is what ever fills me up, and fills my senses with nonsensical, whimsical contentment.  It is time to give myself more – be that relaxation, slow tempo, warmth or coolness, or stillness.

Hummmm, how delicious… That is a whole lot of loving to be and do; and yes, of course – if I am slow or sleeping or awake or leaping, you can take for granted, that the Peachey Pride will all be there, showing me their own smug Self Loving 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, for you or the cat lover in your life… You can buy it from book websites any where in the world, including Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)