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Posts Tagged ‘cat’

Choices and Consequences

Posted by Amanda Gray on August 1, 2014

I’m still thinking a great deal about the death of my cat.  Specifically, regarding the choices that were made along the way.

Dr. David R. Hawkins says that events do not actually happen in an A = B = C linear fashion.  It’s more like once a choice has been made, then the EVENT ‘ABC’ is created, involving all it’s resultant consequences, but then experienced in a, seemingly, linear progression.  There have been several incidences in my life where I observed this theory in action, and I hold it to be fairly accurate, at least, at my current level of awareness.  This idea is also inherent in the statement, “You can’t mess it up.”  You can’t, because you always make the decision that’s right for you in the moment, and then the consequences are, as they unfold, pretty much out of your hands.

My cat, Jonas, was 19 years old.  Even if he hadn’t gotten suddenly sick, he would have died, of something, soon anyway.  I made a decision, early in his sickness, not to take him to the vet.  Even in my own mind, it was an extremely difficult decision.   Do I put him through the fear and stress of a trip, a battery of tests, and an overwhelming expense, only to learn that compassionate euthanasia is the, most likely, resort?  Could I made a decision for euthanasia, with even the slightest, tiniest chance of recovery?  Could I leave him at the vet clinic for any length of time, for tests, and the possibility that he could die while away from me?   Could I nurse him at home, giving him my full attention, and every chance possible of recovery, while, if necessary, providing as much comfort as I could in his passing, like hospice?  I made the choice that was, to me, the most courageous and most natural.

Jonas started going downhill from the beginning of May, concurrent with my move to BC.  He lost a lot of weight, ate little, and slept most of the time.  But whatever sickness led to his eventual demise, it began with an acute attack in the night.  It was a big shock, and I thought he was going to die, right then and there, but he didn’t.  He recovered seemingly well in a few minutes.  What was the attack?  Heart attack?  Stroke? Was he poisoned by a bad can of food?  An acute renal failure?  Whatever it was, it was done.  There was no going back from it, and then, after a few days, I noticed that his health was definitely going downhill.

I provided all possible avenues of recovery.  He was still drinking water, peeing, moving about (with great difficulty in his back legs), but not eating.  I got high nutritional food and oral syringes at the vet and began to force feed him, a couple of teaspoons, every three hours.  I also started giving him 1/2 tablet of baby aspirin 2 to 3 times a day to minimize any pain he might be experiencing.  He took the food and the aspirin, I helped him drink water, and he rallied for a couple of days.  His will to live was strong and persistent.  I thought he might actually make it.  Yet, his eyes had changed.  They were small, and sunken.

In the third day of treatment, Jonas would spit out more food than he would swallow.  And he made an irreversible decision.  He stopped drinking water.  Looking back, I see that as the point of no return.  He was ready to die.

What happens in nature when an animal is passing?  They go off, alone, and hide.  They stop eating and drinking.  And they die.  No muss, no fuss, no intervention.  No resistance, no refusal.  I made a critical decision at that point too.  That I would allow him to die naturally, and I would stay with him until his last breath.  That was the most important thing to me, that we would be together.  Again, I deeply questioned my motivation.  If he was going to die anyway, why not make it quick with an injection?  Well, because I hoped and expected that he would go to sleep and slip peacefully away.  And I wanted to do for him, what I think I’d want others to do for me.  If I’m ready to die – just bugger off and let me go!

I stopped force feeding him.  I gave him as much water as I could with the oral syringe, to moisten his mouth, but he wouldn’t drink it down.  With great difficulty, I got him to swallow another 1/2 aspirin.  I kept his bed directly on my lap most of the day, looking into his eyes, holding him, hugging him, talking to him.  At bedtime, I took him to my bed.

But that was when he took another turn for the worse.  He began to make a horrible cry.  He vomited a couple of times.  I felt so helpless!  I forced another 1/2 aspirin down his throat.  I moistened his mouth.  Did we have anything else to give him – a sleeping pill?  No.  What if this went on all night?  OH GOD!  Why didn’t I get the injection while I had the chance???  I was terrified that I chose wrongly!  I said to Jonas, “We’re in it now.  No turning back.  We made our decisions and now we have to go down this road.”  Then I knew that I couldn’t have chosen any other way, because all choices would still lead to the same end – an end that I didn’t WANT – but that would happen anyway.  Is an injection ‘better’ than a natural death?  Is a natural death ‘better’?  What defines the word ‘better’ when all choices lead only to certain pain?  I don’t know – NOBODY KNOWS!!  I told Jonas, “You can go, little baby.  You don’t have to fight anymore.  Just let go.  It will be ok.”

He was quiet only when I had my hand on him, and when I kept the light on.  I discovered that he peed a little in his bed, so I gently cleaned it up and put a layer of paper towel under him.  This seemed to offer great solace, as it always disturbed him tremendously to be ‘unclean’.  That may even have been why he cried.  It didn’t take long after that, maybe 10 or 20 minutes.  I was so sleepy… I rested my head against his bed, near his head, with my arm around his back.  I couldn’t see his face, but I could see his body and hind legs.  His legs flicked out, once… then again.  I knew this was the moment.  I watched his last breath leave his body and he was still.   I sat up and looked fully at him.  He looked completely peaceful.  Was it over?  Could he still come back?  No.  He was gone.  His body soon began to feel stiff and cold.

I write about this because I want to remember these details, as morbid as they may seem.  Perhaps it’ll be helpful to another who’s faced with these same decisions with a beloved pet.  Perhaps it will be helpful to me in the future, with another pet or person, even.  And, who knows, this was the way I chose this time, but I might choose differently next time.  As a society, a culture, and as human beings, we still have a long way to go in learning about and dealing maturely with the process of death.  Shouldn’t it be a natural thing?  As natural as birth?  What if, wherever Jonas went, it was a WONDERFUL place?

Ultimately, my intention was love.  I’m confident that Jonas knew that.  Although I’m still grieving, I have no regrets, and I’m confident that I made the ‘right’ and ‘best’ choices that I could.  There is a giant hole in the energetic fabric of my existence right now and I just have to deal with it.  Nothing will make it feel ‘better’.  Jonas isn’t coming back.  All resistance and loss I feel is merely the denial of the fact.  I feel his energy missing at the foot of my sofa during the day, and a sweeping sadness at bedtime when I used to carry him with me to bed.  I actually feel an aversion to my bedroom now, as the pervasive empty loneliness in my chest is greatest there.  And I’ve developed a, perhaps unhealthy, attachment to a bone shaped neck pillow that I’ve been holding at night, in the crook of my arm, as if it’s Jonas.  I’m letting it happen.  Because I know that all of it, in time, will pass.

 

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God bless Jonas.  5 Sept 1995 – 26 July 2014.

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Saint Jonas: 05 Sep 1995 – 26 Jul 2014

Posted by Amanda Gray on July 26, 2014

DSC05376

Sigh.

My cat, Jonas, just passed away.

He was 19 years old.  Such an awesome friend – one of the greatest gifts in my life.  He taught me about unconditional love.  He liked to cuddle, sleep in the crook of my arm, and nuzzle my ear.  He followed me in many adventures across the country – I called him my "planes, trains and automobiles" cat.  He was a Saint because he was friendly and loving to every person and creature he encountered.  He was my handsome, little baby.

Here are three videos to celebrate his precious and incomparable existence:

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Kitties, Clowns, Authority and Desire

Posted by Amanda Gray on March 16, 2014

Strangeness is afoot.  I guess life can be like that. 

I took a four-day Intro to Clown Workshop with the simply divine teacher, Jan Henderson, a few weeks ago.  I had a few pre-conceived ideas about what my clown would be like, and a few things I thought I’d explore in my clown character, but – here’s the thing about clowning – you can’t know in advance how your personal clown will appear!  Mine – surprise! – showed up as a cat!  What a marvellous adventure I had in that class!  There’s an element of serendipity in the birth of a new clown, and when you’re really listening carefully to your own gentle, innocent, intuitive voice within, clown miracles happen!  Such a fantastic, luminous magnificence in every clown that was born that weekend.  We were all very clearly defined in entirely unanticipated, but entirely perfect, ways.  Everyone was adorable – including ME!  I never thought of myself as “cute” before 2014-02-23 15.18.34– but, it was true, as my cat-clown-character, I WAS SOOOOO CUTE!!

Well, since then, the ‘cat’s been out of the bag’… (sorry!)… and my life has taken some surprising turns.  I’ve been putting a lot of focus on exploring my new cat-clown.  Her name is Zephyr (defined as: a gentle westerly wind) and, beyond any explanation my rational mind can make for it, ‘she’ does seem to have a ‘will’ of her own.  I can come up with ideas for her, but once the nose goes on, I can’t anticipate her actions or make her do something she doesn’t want to.  I feel like I’ve just begun to know this marvellous, crazy little kitty and it’s thrilling – to my bones – to discover her!  I’m passionate about her!  In fact, I LOVE her!!  And I want her to LIVE!!

Like I said, it makes no sense to my rational mind.  A CLOWN???  That’s what I want to DO???  NO!!  REALLY???  But… yes.  I can’t help it.  I don’t even know what it means, or what it looks like, but yes.  YES.  Wholeheartedly – YES!!!  Somewhere inside of me, it’s what I’ve ALWAYS wanted!

Then things started to change at my job.  Almost imperceptibly, with little shifts I can’t innumerate, a deadly virus took hold of the place.  I no longer felt like I was allowed to be myself there.  I awoke in trepidation each scheduled work day, and walked around on eggshells.  On a break, I found myself wondering how I could get myself fired – quickly, but without any formal charges (haha!).  I heard from a customer, the same day, that she was hired part time – on a hush hush basis – and I suggested that perhaps she was replacing me – adding – “I can only hope!” 

Apparently, my mind is much stronger than I think, and my desire… was fulfilled.  Shucks, ultimately, I didn’t even have to DO anything – I’d already succeeded!  A litany of minuscule mistakes were cited – nothing that amounted to more than a hill of beans, in my humble opinion – but, surprise!  I got my wish!  I was hurt, yes, but, at the same time, I couldn’t get out of there faster.  I’m FREEEEEEEEE!!!!!

The relief I feel is astounding.  I was making such great efforts to conform to expectations – when I never truly knew what any of the expectations were.  Now I see that conforming is not for me.  It never was.  It never will be.  How that looks in this world of ‘jobs’ and ‘paycheques’ and ‘bosses’ – I have no idea.  How I go forward from here… I don’t know.

What I’m most interested in now is something along the lines of ‘embracing my CRAZY’.2014-02-23 15.18.46  Letting all the crazy things I gotta say just come out of my mouth with no judgement, and doing all the crazy things I never had the guts to do before.  When I think of all the times people laughed at something I did on stage, I was always doing something physical – clown gags!  In all my attempts to be the ‘serious’ drama girl, the ‘Shakespeare’ girl, the ‘spiritual’ girl – I was always simply denying the delightful life of my inner FOOL!  In all my attempts to reject and project ‘crazy’ onto the outside screen – my inner crazy was there all the time, inviting me to give in to its GENIUS.

Let’s face it, folks, this is the truth:  we’re all just bumbling idiots in this game of life.  Most of us think we’ve got it all figured out: we follow all the rules because we desperately want to be those ‘good’ little girls and boys we imagine; we project our ‘mistakes’ onto others because we can’t face our own ‘terrible’ imperfections; and we pretend we have the authority to make others bend to our will and do things we most prefer them to.  And we’re shattered when somebody shows up that we can’t manipulate.  HA!  This is what I’ve learned: If I let others be free to do whatever they do, without judgement, it’s a gift I give to MYSELF!  And the ‘authority’ I fear is just as much of a bumbling idiot as everyone else; scrambling around for tiny morsels of acceptance and inclusion – but always terrified that they’re not worthy of it.  They’re not any better than me, or wiser.  They don’t know something more than I do.  Because, kids, none of us know ANYTHING!!!  The ONLY authority is ME – MY choice over MY life in this moment, NOW.  And not knowing, in any way, how it’ll turn out – but hopeful that, if I do what I most want now, the outcome will be something along the lines of what I want (consciously or unconsciously, at least) later.  That’s it.

And now I think I know what Thomas Edison felt like; his mind filled with a flood of creative fire that couldn’t be quenched.  I’ve been so creatively energized lately – with creations of all varieties spilling out of me at record pace.  No wonder I didn’t want to go to work – what I’m doing at home is so much more, infinitely, fulfilling.  Here’s something else I’ve learned recently: you can’t get rid of desires by sublimating them.  That’s not what The Buddha did to become enlightened.  I tried denying my desires for ten years – and it only hurt me.  At the same time, I also know the danger of desires running rampant – they’re a bottomless bucket.  So what else did The Buddha say…  ummm… something about the MIDDLE way?  Haha.  Yes.  That’s what I’m shooting for now.  Some desires just have to be lived through.  Lived though?  What FOR? 

… for joy and happiness.  That’s right, kids.  FOR JOY and HAPPINESS.  Whose joy and happiness?  MINE.  Does it sound selfish?  It does – but that’s because I can’t live by what someone else wants – even if I know exactly what that is.  We’ll never succeed at that game – because everyone’s responsible for their OWN happiness.  We can’t choose it for someone else – but we CAN choose it for ourselves, right now.  And that’s exceptionally good news!

Peace and love, holy brothers and sisters – darling crazy fools – every last one of ya!

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A Night at the Improv

Posted by Amanda Gray on June 8, 2011

Act I

I’ve been on retreat as much as possible this week. On Monday, June 6, I experienced a lot of generalized anxiety throughout the day, although it abated in meditation. As I got into bed that night, I addressed the anxiety. I asked it:

What are you afraid of?

It answered:

I’m afraid of myself.

Hmmm… that didn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps I heard wrong, or asked the wrong question. I tried asking different questions, but I was only getting confused, so I gave up and went to sleep. Around two in the morning, I woke suddenly with the thought:

…because I did it to myself.

Then I understood (speaking as the fear/ego):

I’m afraid of myself because I did this to myself – but I don’t know how I did it and I don’t know how to stop doing it.

I got up, wrote in my diary for a while, and went back to bed.

Act II

In the morning, I woke from a significant dream:

  1. It’s afternoon, and I’m visiting the Varscona Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta. I meet The Improviser Guy and we chat for a bit. Suddenly, he has a big idea and asks if he could use me in his improv skit that evening. I agree. He says that we need a third person, and runs off. He returns shortly with another talented actor, I’ll call him ‘George’, who asks me why we chose him to work with. I tell him enthusiastically, “You were hand picked, baby!”
  2. It’s evening and the actors are gathering at the theatre for the Improv show. I meet The Improv Guy downstairs and sit next to him at a long table. I whisper something in his ear. His wife suddenly comes around the corner. She lunges in, sits down almost on top of me, and asks jealously, “Do you even know who his two favourite teachers from school were?” I genuinely want to assure her that I have no designs, whatsoever, on her husband. I reply, “No, I have no idea. Really, I never listened to a word he said when we went out.” The Improv Guy is completely unconcerned with the interaction between his wife and I.
  3. It’s time for the show, and the actors line up backstage in order of their skits. I stand anxiously with The Improv Guy. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any improv and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it. I ask The Improv Guy how he wants to start. He says, “Just go onstage and walk around. Walk like you’ve been walking forever. Then I’ll come out.”
  4. There’s a family of guinea pigs backstage. They’re more like guinea ‘teddy bears’. The mom is taking care of her babies, licking them. I pet the mom guinea.

Interpretation:

  1. I’m at the improv. This means that I’m surrendering the idea that I should have some sort of script for my waking life and I’m willing to get involved in the moment-to-moment ‘improvisation’ of the journey again. ‘George’ is someone I did improv with, once upon a time. I had difficulty working with him, and I found myself regularly blocking his suggestions onstage. It was this experience, partially, at least, that led to a loss of confidence in my improv abilities. Ohhh… wait, I remember now… I was also angry with this guy for making me uncomfortable to attend the improv as an audience member. I haven’t attended a Theatre sports show since. So, it’s a forgiveness issue, and that’s why he was ‘hand picked’ for the ‘dream team’. (Sigh… letting that go now.)
  2. I understand that The Improv Guy character represents the ‘Holy Spirit’. The ‘me’ character in the dream is willing to work with him, so it means I’m interested and willing to work with the HS in my waking life. I understand that the wife character represents my ‘Shadow’ or ‘ego’ side. The ‘me’ character doesn’t have any meaningful relationship to the wife, so it indicates that, while I’m not preoccupied with the shadow-ego of my consciousness, I’m still sensitive to its various difficulties. The attitude shown here is one of compassion. In my experience, a dream shadow is usually annoying to the dream ‘me’ character, so it’s curious that this wasn’t the case in this dream. The shadow-wife thinks she loves the HS-husband, but really, she just wants to own and control him. She’s totally terrified of losing him and she immediately jumps to conclusions and projects guilt. It’s my understanding that a dream shadow character generally shows up to indicate aspects of self that have been repressed. So, I gather that there’s a desire to possess the HS and use it for selfish/narcissistic ends – or fears that it could happen. The dream puts the shadow-ego and the HS in a married relationship, which indicates a move in consciousness toward whole being. (The wife asks about ‘teachers’, but I’m not getting any specific understanding about that bit.)
  3. So, here’s the ‘me’, about to go onstage with The Improv Guy-Holy Spirit. I’m completely willing to go forward, even though he’s giving me very little guidance, I’m facing the complete unknown, and I’m worried that I’m not as capable as he thinks I am. I’m willing to face my fear and do it anyway! Gung HO! I’m also willing to play the ‘straight’ role, allowing the HS to swoop in, land all the punch lines, and get all the glory (indeed, as it should be). I’m told to ‘walk like I’ve been walking forever’. Well, that pretty much sums up most of my existence to this point, now, doesn’t it? Ha ha. Funny guy.
  4. About that guinea family… well, it was later discovered to be prophetic. During my day, I visited a pet store and, completely unexpectedly, got to pet some guinea pigs (one that was the exact colour of the one in the dream – reddish-brown) as well as petting a mom cat and her brand new litter of kittens. Awe! (Dreams have a tendency to moosh things together in weird ways.) But, see, that’s the thing with prophetic dreams, at least the ones I have – I don’t know they’re prophetic until the event plays out, and it’s usually rather meaningless anyway. So what’s the point of them? Hmmm… perhaps that’s a good question to pose to spirit.

So that’s an example of the way in which dreams can provide information into the development of conscious awareness. I didn’t make any effort to remember the dream, or to analyze it intellectually, I simply asked the HS to show the meaning to me. I sincerely love the truth and anytime I’m allowed to glimpse it, in whatever way, I’m extremely grateful and happy.

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