Cat Therapy and CBT

I’ve been having abit of a bad day. I can’t seem to be able to relax, to just let things flow. My home has some bad mojo in it at the moment, but I’ve put up some pretty good boundaries and that shouldn’t be impacting me as much as I am allowing it to do so.

I’d had a bit of a shin thing going on, so my normal recourse in these situations, running, is out. I’ve gone down my list but I just can’t seem to get to my coping stuff today. It’s comprised of various creative outlets but today it feels like I’m made of cardboard, just a box of nothing much. My therapist would advise me to try doing something even if I don’t feel it and she would be right. But for some damn reason I just can’t get there from here. Even my meditation is off today.

Sometimes you’re the windshield sometimes you’re the bug. Today I am definitely the latter.

I was sitting on the couch, trying to be conscious of my breath, shedding each icky though as it arose, one after the other, when my huge cat Silas jumped up and laid down on the wide leather arm. He looked at me, closed his eyes, and instantly fell asleep. I absentmindedly started to scratch his favorite place, right behind the ears. He started to purr (Silas has the loudest purr of any cat I’ve ever owned, which is many many cats), leaned into my hands. His eyes opened, he gave me a good “meow”, then closed them again and renewed his pleasure mode of just digging being petted.

It hit me like a thunderbolt. Dharma was giving me a present of my cat just at that moment. I noticed how completely he was in each moment. Just being fuzzy, warm, comfy and cared for. He wasn’t thinking about the past or considering future paths. He wasn’t thinking about filing quarterly taxes he couldn’t seem to get to today.

Silas was just noticing how happy he was in each moment.

I petted my cat for twenty minutes, just noticing him noticing. I became aware that my body was releasing tension I hadn’t even realized was there. Just sitting there, listening to a deep rich cat purr and allowing him to be happy.

Allowing him to be happy. I forget to do that for myself. I have this life that is healing, but I’ve been missing the big point of why the healing is taking place. It’s not that running or painting or writing or playing piano make me happy in and of themselves. These activities allow me to give myself permission to experience myself thru their action. Sure, there’s dopamine release and endorphins when I’m running or doing yoga.

I’ve misunderstood CBT for a long, long time. I have always thought substitution of positive activities to be distractions from what is really going on. So it rankles as much as it helps. But just as thru the actions of my perpetrator the person I was had changed, it’s thru self-expression that I am able to learn who I am becoming.

As I type this I am staring at the light of a candle. I breathe softly on the wick and it moves. Thru action it is altered. It’s essence remains the same. It burns, plain and simple. I can directly impact its motion but it stays true to itself. Just burning, one moment at a time.

There is an essence in me that burns serenely. Just like the candle, just like Silas, who’s still sleep-purring next to me. It’s so simple and yet so hard. Now all I need is a cat I can put in my pocket and I’ll be all set. I’ve decided to rest for the remainder of this day. Non-harm to all sentient beings includes me, after all.



  1. October 28, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Itsn’t it wonderful how our pets love us and often show us how to take care of ourselves. I am glad you shared this.

  2. Splinteredones said,

    October 28, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you hon.

  3. moreheads said,

    October 28, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Our cats are all sleeping by me, they just want to be here right now with me, that makes such a difference.

    You are making such great connection! Go you!

    • Splinteredones said,

      October 29, 2010 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks. So simple really. I lose track 😉

  4. Ivory said,

    October 30, 2010 at 10:10 am

    It was calming just to read your short journey here in cyberspace. I often remind myself that a lot of our problems come from the opinion of a collective society – such as most people cannot sit for a moment, light a candle and take the time to realize the importance of the flame within us, as you did. Most people believe time for ones self is somehow selfish, wrong, blasphemous, etc. You have reminded me that it’s not wrong to take some time for me.

    • October 30, 2010 at 11:48 am

      Ah, that makes me happy, thank you. Glad to be of help. Self-care comes hard for me too but it’s really so important. Good job 😉

  5. October 30, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Sounds lovely! Thank goodness for Silas. My sweet Abigail is laying across my lap as I type this. Cats (animals) are wonderful therapy!

    • Splinteredones said,

      October 30, 2010 at 2:56 pm

      Animals are magic for me. I’m an animal trainer; they speak to my soul. Thanks

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