• Paula F. Hill

Meditating With(out) The Cat


The minute I’m any position but horizontal, the cat's on top of me. It's inevitable, any time, day or night. Pushing her thin face against my fingers, hand, arm, face - only then is she happy. She’s also relentless. She pokes, prods, pressures me to pay attention to her. Emma's long flowing, fine hair attaches to me, clinging to my mouth, the follicles on my skin, wraps itself around my fingers, and loops the perimeter of my body, like a crime scene outline. I find tentacles in my food, fur sliding across my coffee cup lid, wool tracing my eyelashes, mop particles lingering on my black pants. She leaves her DNA as evidence that she's mine, all mine.

My meditation practice comes in spurts. This summer, I decide to, once and for all, make a commitment to practice twice a day. I've heard it's ever so helpful, a must for better well-being and consistent happiness. I upload the Headspace App on my phone and laptop. This is something I've looked forward to...getting more focused and aware of my Stinking Thinking.

This morning, I get up very early, so as to have the time to rejuvenate. If I do the Just For Me Things first, I know they'll get done. Otherwise the day gets away from me and it never happens. I want it to be easy and stress-free - to be successful in a new routine, creating new habits. That makes me happy - taking care of my Self.

I sit, preparing to relax, unwind, reset, start the day, THIS DAY, with chatter-less time. I'm determined to work at getting in a meditative state twice a day, for at least 20 minute intervals. Resting is in order. It begins NOW.

Emma doesn’t give a rat’s ass I’m needing this RESET. She arrives at-the-ready for petting. She inevitably wants attention, needs affection right now, craves rubbing, insists on kneading, demanding a cuddle, and soothing pleasure only I can give.

I strategically rub her belly, which quickly makes her pissy and she runs away. I feel mean-spirited chasing her away to seek my own pleasure but it can't be helped. I only have this allotted time to SIT. Upright on the floor in my straight-spine posture, excited to plug-in, I take a deep breath. And another. Ready to close my eyes and refresh, I take a third breath. She appears again, Tireless Emma. Uncomplaining, I brush her with my fingers, long strokes from head to tip of ail and tell her "It’s my time now." I gently but insistently push her aside and start the music.

Another three deep breaths later, I feel Emma’s long elaborate fur skim my arm. I stop the session. I remind myself to be loving and tolerant. Her face, coddled between my hands, gets a sweeping massage and I remind her again, this is MY time. I’ll be done in 25 minutes and then it can be her turn for a bit. Glancing at my watch, I get anxious.

I plop her outside the room and press the door shut. I reposition myself on the cushion. Get comfortable and excited for the quiet and serenity. I start the methodic meditation music.

The scratching begins. I scramble, now with angst, to turn off the sound, search for my earplugs and place them on my head. I sit back down for my rejuvenation time. I immediately detect the howl from the opposite side of the door. Incredibly impertinent and guttural. It’s 5:40am and I’ve got neighbors. I’m certain no one wants a howling cat wake-up call. Doubt that APP would be popular.

I open the door a crack, extending my earbuds as far as they’ll allow. Sit again, with a long impatient shuddering breath. I begin again.

An airbrush of hair wipes my face. It’s a bit damp and pushy. Emma is obviously in need of some comfort and clearly doesn’t sense my agitation or rising upset. She’s focused and egocentric.

I suddenly remember the new package of dried chicken treats that arrived just yesterday. A spur-of-the-moment purchase. I jerk off the headphones and once again, get up from my relaxation pose. Run to the cabinet in a hurry, as I only have so much time to reboot my Self. Rip open the goodie bag in the kitchen and Emma comes racing around the corner at the first crinkle. I spread the luscious crumbles around the room with flourish and zoom back to my position on the floor. Door shut, music up, earphones adjusted. A big sigh escapes. Victory.

The music takes over and I allow the events of the day to float away. The worries and concerns muddling my thoughts drift. I reach for Emptiness. The door rattles. Claw marks rasp the wood. The meowing penetrates the blank mind. "Are you fucking kidding me?" How could she possibly have tracked all of those treats and eaten everything in such a short time? I glance at the stopwatch, five minutes have passed. I barely scraped the surface of calm.

Anger surges. I fling the earphones, rip open the door and she’s gone. Runs from the rage. I don’t trust she’ll be absent for any length of time. Realize it’s impossible to get the job done at this point. I’m too wound. It would take me 25 minutes just to get to neutral. I put the MEDITATION code in my phone for Emma’s dinner hour.

My plan is to divide her food into several dishes, scatter them around the room furthest from mine, hide some treats, give her loads of attention, maybe even massage her with damp hands so she’s inclined to give herself a bath, and only then, head to my meditation cushion.

It takes more cunning than the cat to distract her from invading my Time Out. I'm not sure I have the capacity nor willpower, It's possible I may have to hire a cat sitter to distract Emma during my meditations or just rent an office, create a space of my very own. Away from Enthusiastic Emma.

#meditationcats #mindfulcatlovers #keepingcatshappy

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