Photo ©2019 by MBK (Marjie) and Catherine Lenard
Whether you have family or no family, holidays can be a time of powerful self-discovery. Because the things that tip your balance are there to show you something about you.
Something surprising happened when I was sharing the idea for this article with my mom.
In the background, Daisy (my cat) started wailing in this bizarre sound that comes out of her when she sees another cat and goes all territorial.
I dropped the phone. Moving quickly toward the back of the house, I ran into Daisy rushing toward a front-of-the-house window when, all banshee-eyed and howling, she raised up on her hind legs (think grizzly bear) and took a hard chomp on my leg while delivering a masterful claw swipe.
Trying to bi-locate to find hydrogen peroxide and paper towels to mop up blood (mine) while letting my mom know that through all the howling (mine and hers) we were both still alive, I followed Daisy to find out what the heck was going on.
Once things calmed down — breathe — it dialed in that through all the drama, I “coincidentally” had a perfect example for this article.
When she acted so uncharacteristically, she was in the grips of an instinctive animal-react
The Cat Scenario
Although mostly laid back, Daisy has a feisty streak and recently got into a turf war with Rambo. Rambo lives across the nearby meadow and looks like his name suggests.
It happened about a month ago when I was preoccupied with unpacking my car from a trip. Daisy wandered away from the yard into the meadow. After hearing some kind of animal ruckus in the distance, I later watched her jet back to the house.
It wasn’t until after a few days had passed that I realized she’d been part of that clash and was hurt. With due diligence in treating the puncture wounds hidden in her fur, she gradually healed.
Since then, Daisy’s been on window patrol for anything four-legged that even remotely hints of invading her space.
I realized that when she acted so uncharacteristically toward me, she was in the grips of an instinctive animal-react from most likely catching another glimpse of Rambo. And I happened to get in her way.
The things that tip your balance are there to show you something about you.
Here’s How This Relates:
When something painful happens to us humans, we move on in one way or another. But if whatever that painful situation was hasn’t been worked through or attended to, it remains stuck in our consciousness.
When someone or something triggers this original pain (bring on the holidays), we may go instinctively reactive. Somewhat animal or “reptilian brain” as the clinicians would say, and behave in ways that may later be regretted.
When you can discover and soothe old hurts that underlie these reactions, the situations that once bothered you no longer will. It’s a process. You know there’s something that needs tending to when you feel your buttons being pushed.
3 Tips for Dealing with Those Moments:
When Daisy doesn’t like something, she [typically] doesn’t attack, she simply gets up and walks away. The idea is to have enough self-control to excuse or remove yourself from a situation before you behave in ways you’ll regret. To give yourself time to come back to center.
1. Once you’ve calmed down a bit, take the time to ask yourself what’s bothering you about what someone did or said.
2. Take time to identify how you’re feeling about what someone did or said (angry, sad, upset, hurt, annoyed, outraged, etc.)
3. While these tips are simply stated, they can help you empower yourself to get through those feisty Rambo-like situations.
While discovering more about you.
Without taking a chomp out of someone else.
Because having the satisfaction to know, despite whatever’s going on, that you not only 1) learned more about yourself, but also 2) kept your cool, is in itself a huge gift to you.
To a Peaceful Season, ;-)
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