This past week my cat Red showed me the essence of self care. You see Red was sick. At first I wasn’t sure what was wrong with him. He wasn’t himself. He wasn’t running around catching mice or playing with the other cats. He was being very quiet. I kept a vigilant watch over him as he spent the entire day and night on a soft cushy spot in the barn. He stopped eating. I offered him some soft food and he took a few licks and left the rest. I used a syringe to get him to drink some water. At that point I asked what was wrong and found out his mouth hurt. The next day I could see a large swelling in his mouth.
Over the years I have found cats to be remarkable healers. Ten years ago I would have whisked him off to the vet at the first sign of something not quite right. Now, I could sense there was a problem but I could also sense he was doing what he needed to care for himself. With the new understanding that he had an abscess in his mouth I used some hydrosols and essential oils to help. But after another day of barely eating anything, I decided to call the vet. A cat not eating can lead to serious consequences quickly. Of course before we got to the vet, Red turned the healing corner. He began to eat a little more, the swelling went down and he was active enough to trek from the barn to the house.
Still concerned that there could be a serious issue with a tooth, I kept my appointment. The vet found what appeared to be a puncture hole in his gum. She gave him a shot of antibiotics and felt he would do just fine. I’m not a big fan of antibiotics as they are often over used but I sensed Red could use a little help this time. Red continued to lie around and gradually starting eating more and more.
Today, he left a gift in front of my office door; a little mouse to thank me for taking care of him.
What I was reminded of with his sick spell was how well he took care of himself. He didn’t try to do anything he didn’t absolutely have to. He chose not to eat so that his body could focus on healing, not on digesting food. He slept, and slept and slept.
He didn’t worry that his mouse quota would not be met.
He didn’t worry that the other cats would be upset because he didn’t play with them.
He didn’t worry that I would think less of him.
He just took care of himself.
Now let’s compare that to when we humans get sick. Maybe this will sound familiar to some of you. Years ago when I worked for a major advertising agency in Madison, coming to work sick was a badge of dedication. There was an unspoken rule that the more hours you put in, whether you were sick or not, the better employee you were (50-60 hours was not unusual). I never enjoyed others coming to work coughing and spewing germs around the office. I would have rather they stayed home and took care of themselves like Red. Needless to say, I didn’t stay in the ad business long. It was not conducive to self care and I decided I deserved to be well cared for.
Self care isn’t just for when we are ill. It really is a day-in day-out practice. For most of us it is a learned skill not something that comes naturally. It’s something I teach my clients and these past few weeks have been especially chaotic for them. They are sensitive and empathic, like me. This means they feel the energy from our mass consciousness. Think about this for a moment. We have an election around the corner and the air waves, radio waves, internet and papers are crammed with angry, fear-mongering, polarizing energy. There are civil wars occurring all over the planet. Disastrous weather events are decimating large areas of land, wildlife, people and homes. Frankly, the energy is depressing and bitter.
And you can control how this affects you. You have choices. To start with, don’t watch the news. There really isn’t anything there that you must know about. Ask yourself, can you change any of the news stories? Nope. So why get upset about something you have no control over? It’s just not good self care.
Here’s a better idea. One that is good for you. Get a dose of positive news everyday. There is a great deal of loving, generous and uplifting events happening in this world too. Yes, it does exist. You just need to find it. Here are some online sources for good news. Sign up and see how your day changes when you focus on what is going right in the world. http://www.upreport.com http://www.happynews.com http://positivenewsus.org http://www.dailygood.org
Surround yourself with people that are uplifting and loving. If you need to be around others that are struggling, ground your energy before you engage with them. If you are sensitive and empathic and need guidance on how to master your energy and sensitivity, contact me. I can help. firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-824-2319.
And if you find yourself sick, remember the lessons from Red. Sleep, sleep and sleep some more.
Take care…you deserve it.