This past week my cat Samantha reminded me of the importance of honoring all of who we are including our “little parts”. I had walked out by the garage when I saw her with a baby bunny. The bunny was young but still half her size. She was holding the bunny at that point and frankly looked a bit surprised at her “big” catch.
Normally, I would have just walked away with the understanding that all of life is a cycle of giving and receiving. Even the rabbits have told me they understand their role as food for others. But in this moment my adult was no where to be found. Instead, a young girl showed up that was very upset at the sight of the bunny being played with and terrorized by Samantha. I yelled at her to drop the baby bunny. I said “No, Sam, not baby bunnies, you can’t have baby bunnies”. She ignored me and carried the bunny further into the brush. Panicked, I followed her and picked her up by the scruff of the neck which caused her to drop the bunny. The bunny started hopping off and I put her down. She immediately ran after the bunny and grabbed it again. I was yelling again, “put the baby bunny down”. She ignored me. My yelling seemed to summon Red and Junior (other cats) to see what the commotion was about. Now they were watching as well. Again, I picked up Sam by the scruff of the neck and she dropped the bunny. When the bunny ran off, Red grabbed him. And so I picked up Red by the neck and the bunny was free again. This time the bunny, at first a little disoriented, ran off and into a pile of tree trimming brush escaping the cats. I was left holding two cats by their scruffs. I began to chastise them for hunting baby bunnies. I told them they were not to hunt baby bunnies; they should stick to mice, moles and chippies. When I was sure the bunny was safe I put them down and left. About an hour later, all three cats were sharing a meal…of a chippie.
Clearly, my reaction was not my adult self, but a young girl terrified at the thought of the baby bunny being hurt. I remembered that when I was about seven we had found a nest of baby bunnies in our yard but I could not recall the details. To get more clarity I called one of my sisters and asked her if she remembered when we found the baby bunnies and what happened. Her memory was that we had found a nest of bunnies and had built a fenced in area for them as we cared for them. And then she recalled the “incident”. As she remembers, one of us (she doesn’t remember who) accidentally knelt on one of the bunnies seriously injuring it. To put it out of its misery, my oldest sister killed it. At only 12 years old she was already very courageous. I’m sure that was a very difficult thing for her to do and yet she understood it was the kindest act possible. This provided clarity for me to appreciate why I reacted the way I did and to be kind to myself for doing so.
I decided to talk with Samantha to help her understand my actions. Here is what she had to say about what happened.
Samantha: I wasn’t scared because it was like when Mama picked me up as a kitten but you did seem really upset.
Wendy: When I put you back down you chased it again.
Samantha: Sure you didn’t grab it so I thought if you didn’t want it I could have it.
Wendy: So you didn’t understand that I didn’t want the bunny hurt?
Samantha: Not at first but when you stopped Red too then I began to understand and I did what you asked after that. I found a chippie. You told me moles, mice and chippies were okay but I needed to leave the baby bunnies alone.
Wendy: That’s right. Thank you for understanding. I know it’s only natural for you to hunt and kill for food. Thank you for understanding my human need for certain restrictions on you.
Witnessing my younger self and her strong reaction reminded me of how important it is to honor and care for our “little parts”. Had I stuffed those feelings they would have surfaced eventually in anxiety, overwhelm or illness but by allowing the feelings to be heard, the energy they contained was not stuck in my body.
We all have “little parts” that sometimes react to situations we find ourselves in. We know this is happening when the reaction goes beyond our adult self reasoning. In my experience the most healing thing we can do is to honor those feelings and release them in a safe manner. The feelings contain the energy of the first experience and allowing the release allows the energy to flow eliminating or reducing future reactions.
In our adult world we often stress being adult-like in a manner that doesn’t allow healing of those little parts. And while it is true we don’t want those parts driving the bus, they need to be heard with a loving heart. Take time to listen inside to nurture those young parts and you will find that the adult feels much more whole and loving.