Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lessons I'm Learning From My Cat

My cat Rufus always needs a way out. When we let them outside for a few minutes of time in the "wild" he's always very interested and curious, sniffing the bushes, going beyond the point he's allowed, etc. But if we close the back door, he gets nervous. Really nervous. It's like his adventure mode kicks in as long as his umbilical cord to the safe inside world is not cut off. As long as that door is open, he'll branch out, search, discovery, and even enjoy himself. If the door closes, he recoils to what he knows is safe, what is secure, and what is constant.

The same applies to being held. If you hold him snuggly, he starts to fret. His claws start digging into you as he looks around wildly. He feels trapped because the power of your arms do not allow him a way out. But hold him gently and he's a bit more tolorant--still not thrilled about the whole situation, but at least he knows that he can get away.

Just recently I realized I'm much the same. I always need a way out. If I feel trapped, I panic and try to retreat to my safe zone. I'm not talking about Claustrophobia, though it sure sounds like it. I'm talking about the non-physical. I fear the entrapments of sickness, the stress that comes along with it and threatens to complicate anything and everything I could possible imagine. My current job is a good example. After taking an 8 week leave of abscence for medical reasons, I came back to work as scheduled, nursing what would become a terrible sore throat. I made it back my first day and then missed two. I made it the next 2 days and the sore throat was gone. Finally! I could get back to my life! Monday was good. Tuesday I couldn't get out of bed and was exhausted beyond belief. Wednesday was the same. My boss arranged for me to work at home to make up the time. Thursday and Friday I struggled through. I called my doctor; I got better.

Now I'm fine. I'm back at work full time and living as usual. I don't feel a need for my "out." Yet I can't help but wish that this feeling for a safety backup would cease to be so extreme in the hard times. The fear is so real at the worst of it--and so distant at the best of it. I wish rationality would stay in the worse times.

I wonder if Rufus wishes for a closed-door adventure? But then, he's just a cat.

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