“And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking.”
Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to Missy. Missy is my most adorable cat. Just look at her. Awwww!!!
I’ve never had a cat before, but it’s interesting how often I look at her behaviour with no idea why she does things.
More often, I see her eyeing my (relatively normal) human behaviour with a curiosity bordering on disdain. “You mean you use water to clean yourself?” “Why are you making weird shapes with your body?” It does make you reassess your life choices somewhat…
Cats can teach us humans a lesson occasionally. As spring has started to, well, spring, she is very much enjoying the patches of sun as they appear in the house. Want to know where Missy is? Just think of where the sun is coming through the window.
However, I will quite often find her next to the sun. At first I couldn’t quite work out why that was, then I realised that the sun moves. And the cat does not.
Missy does not go chasing after the sun as soon as it moves. Oh no. Missy will hang on for as long as she can in the shady spot. Eventually she decides she wants to chase after the sun again and will find a new sunny spot to savour.
So what can this teach us about human satisfaction?
Firstly, it teaches us to really enjoy the fruits of our labour. To revel in that sunny spot. And even when the sunny spot moves, maybe we realise that it wasn’t just the sun that was satisfying. Can we find other aspects of our current situation to savour? Do we have a comfortable position? Is the view worth lingering over? Is the marvellous company that we’re basking in as warm as the sunshine?
Eventually however, the lack of sun DOES become uncomfortable. It niggles. It’s irritating. There may be positives to the place you’re in but you can no longer take pleasure from them because you’re just too damn cold! You need A.C.T.S.:
- Assess and Accept.
- Choose your Changes.
- Take Action.
- Savour in Satisfaction.
(Find out more about A.C.T.S. in last week’s blog!)
In fact, we should also enjoy the process of our labour. I’m very like Missy – it can take me an age to get going but once I start doing something – whether it’s some yoga, reading or playing my guitar – I love it and end up savouring the chance to do these things for a lot longer than I intended. Even the more mundane or unpleasant tasks in life can take on a whole new meaning when we put them into context. When we know what the sunshine will feel like.
Take the washing up. It’s not my most hated household job but I can’t say I ever look forward to it. I’m learning to really focus on the task at hand, to almost meditate on it. You can meditate on almost anything. It’s part of being in flow. But how often do you step back when the kitchen is all tidy and back in place and take a moment – even just one second – to be grateful that it’s done and you now have a nice clean kitchen? Why do we not do this?
There are little spots of sunshine all over the place. Sometimes we do need to chase the sun, and this is perhaps the third lesson Missy is teaching me. I mean, she’s not a stupid cat. But I do sometimes think that if she was a little cleverer, she’d find a bigger sunny spot that will last longer. If she took some time to assess the situation and choose the correct course of action, she’d sit at the end where the sun was moving towards, not moving away from.
We can do this as humans. If we spend more time digging into what really matters, into the things that will give us more long-term satisfaction, we won’t spend our life chasing short-term pleasures.
But Missy doesn’t. I suspect she can’t. She is, after all, a cat.