It is often said, that everyone, and everything, is our teacher. Those we consider friends, and those we are indifferent to; are all in our lives to make us more “alive”, more conscious and aware. If we are open, our lives can be enriched by every person and experience we encounter; especially our relationships with our pets.
Miss Pepper, loving called, Mimi, is my blind, almost completely deaf, 19 year-old cat. When she was given to me, she had just been weened off of her mother. She was so tiny, she would sleep in my shoes, and she spent her first night with me, testing my level of gullibility for her cuteness. We spent most of the night with her, whining to get up on the bed with me, and then whining to get down. She was too tiny to jump, so I had to cater to her whims…well, I didn’t have to, but it was too hard not to.
19 years later, Mimi, is still with me. She has lost her sight, except for seeing the magic all around her, and she has lost most of her hearing, though she hears the rattlings of anything that sounds like food being poured into her bowl. I am learning that her hearing is extremely selective; and like most cats, she hardly ever hears you calling her name, unless it’s meal time. Mimi has been my partner in crime, baby, friend, and confidante, through many of life’s ups and downs, and rollercoaster rides. And there have been many. When she got older, she began to lose her sight; and as her mother, I began to worry about how Mimi would learn to maneuver the world around her, especially now, that I was planning to relocate her and myself, from the familiar space of a place and city that we had both known all of our lives; to a brand new place, filled with different sounds, vibrations, and aromas in the air.
My life with Mimi, has been full and rich, and continues to be so, as I make life decisions that ultimately also affect her well-being. She now takes to airplanes like a jet-setter, and learns how to get around new spaces, like a born traveler. I have learned so much from Mimi about how to get through life with wonder, confidence, and a feeling of security and trust, that all is well.
My 19-year old blind cat, Mimi teaches me that…
1. Her unconditional trust in me, is how I should trust the Universe. She moves through her world, sightless (in our eyes), with very little hearing, and glides through every space, allowing her nose to guide her, and love to protect her. She sleeps deeply, knowing that all is well in her Universe, if I am there, and she never doubts that I am.
2. She accepts and adapts to change, never feeling that Life is “doing something to her”, but moving through life, as if everything that happens, is “for her”. And because she “sees” life that way, and trusts inexplicably in me, she is never without anything she needs.
3. Mimi knows that time for herself is important. As much as she sleeps, she also gets up twice daily, usually early in the morning and late in the evening, and strolls around our living space, sniffing, and figuring things out as she goes along. If I try to help her, by adjusting her direction to keep her from running into a wall, she gets terribly annoyed. She doesn’t really see my interventions as help, but as hindrances to her independence and fun.
4. She is instinctively authentic. When she questions something in her environment, she can become intensely vocal, often making a noise that sounds almost exactly like the word, “Ma”, which is actually a Universal word that babies speak, around the world, and is also a sound used in many spiritual mantras of various cultures. I know that for Mimi, maybe it’s simply a cry for assistance, but for me, it’s a special vibration shared between the two of us. When Mimi wants to know something, she asks; and what I, or anyone thinks about her vocal expressions, doesn’t bother her a bit.
5. And maybe the most important thing that my 19 year-old blind Mimi teaches me about life, is to know that I am loved. She knows this with a shadow of any doubt, and for her, that makes whatever happens today, and any day, ok.
Right now, Mimi has taken to lounging in the bathroom; and has just finished one of her daily strolls. She is a bit off schedule today, and unlike we humans, that would never bother her. She is doing what she feels compelled to do in the present moment, and is adhering to no one’s schedule, or moving to the beat of anyone else’s drum. She only knows to listen to the rhythm of her own heart, and that wherever she ends up at the end of it all, she is safe.