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Winter 2010 - Lessons From Feral Kitty

Dear Friends

I've never been a cat person, but all that changed when 'Feral Kitty' came on the scene. Over the past year I've watched this creature transform from a hissing flash of white fur darting through my yard to a welcoming, purring presence on my doormat. In exchange for some kibble and a lot of space, I've learned more about relationships from this feisty tomcat than from a year of couples' therapy with my ex!

Prior to being Feral Kitty, F.K. lived life as a domesticated cat in training with my grown daughter who had adopted him as a feral kitten. Despite her love for him and all her best efforts, she could not socialize this cat whose feral roots ran deep. No longer willing to put up with scratches on her son's face, and knowing that no one else would ever adopt this surly, scratching mean machine, she finally gave up trying to change him. She decided to accept his feral nature and set him free -- in my yard.

Although the food I left out for him every day would disappear, I didn't see him for months, nor did I really expect to. I accepted his wildness and supported him in it. And here I am, a year later, in love with my good buddy who greets me at my door step every morning.

It's funny how when we let go of our own agendas and just love someone unconditionally for who they are (as opposed to who we want them to be!), we end up getting the love we'd hoped for in the first place! It's such a simple concept, but I think a lot of our resistance has to do with giving up what is actually more just an illusion of control. When we let go and let people be themselves, everybody wins.

Because F.K. is a feral cat, he doesn't need a litter box or cute little cat toys. He does, however, need food, wide open spaces, and a covered place to sleep each night (underneath my house). F.K.'s happy; I'm happy. He has total freedom, and I don't have to deal with litter boxes or fleas in my house. How much happier we'd all be if we supported each other in our uniqueness like this. Why do we insist on turning our night owl friend into a morning lark or Mr. Life-of-the-Party into a stay-at-home recluse? We can either accept and support each other's unique needs or we can release our loved one 'into the wild,' but wishing for someone to change his basic makeup rarely has a happy ending.

During the holidays we'll find ourselves at gatherings with all kinds of 'unique' people -- the niece who refuses to go to college, the 56-year-old cousin who still isn't married, or the uncle who dropped out of law school to become a clown. Each of them has the right to live life according to his or her own desires, as long as it's not harming anyone else (speaking of which, yes, F.K. is neutered!). This holiday season (if not the whole year or the rest of our lives!), my hope is that we can suspend our need to change or control others and just enjoy them for the one-of-a-kind people they are. Who knows what lessons or love might be in store for us by practicing a little more acceptance?




Other Issues:
From our archives -- The Best Good Deed

From our archives -- Embracing the Wonder of Children

From our archives -- Encouraging children to live their bliss

From our archives

Holiday 2013 -- Embracing the World of Wonder

Winter 2013 -- Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall 2013 -- Finding Beauty in the Everyday Tasks

Late Summer 2013 - Taking Our Own Advice

Midsummer 2013 -- Appreciating Nature's Bounty

Early Summer 2013 -- Being Prepared

Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Spring 2013 -- Offering Mothering Wisdom

Early Spring 2013 -- Being True to Our Nature

Holiday 2012 -- Appreciate the Goodness

Winter 2012 -- Enjoying the Anticipation

Early Fall 2012 -- Looking Back to Appreciate Now

Summer 2012 -- Chinaberry's History & Future

Early Summer 2012 -- My Dad

Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Spring 2012 - The Consequences of Our Actions

Early Spring 2012 - Learning From Experience

Winter 2011 - The Small Moments

Holiday 2011 - The Good Deed

Fall 2011 - Gratitude

Late Summer 2011 - Overwhelmed? You're Not Alone.

Midsummer 2011 - Louise's Gallery

Early Summer 2011 - Flying 101: Giving Them Wings

Late Spring 2011 - Letting Them Fail

Spring 2011

Early Spring 2011 - Encouraging Your Kids to Live Their Bliss

Fall 2010 - The Chinaberry Commitment

Late Summer 2010 - In the Blink of an Eye

Midsummer 2010 - It's Her Story

Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm

Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Enjoy the Ride

Early Spring 2010 - Enter the Land of Dirt and Bugs

Winter 2009 - Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Holiday 2009 - Finding Gratitude Every Day

Fall 2009 - Teaching Children Through Our Actions

Late Summer 2009 - A Spoonful of Sugar

Midsummer 2009 - Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Early Summer 2009 - Who's the Kid and Who's the Parent?

Late Spring 2009 - Making Connections

Spring 2009 - Fully Engaging With Our Children

Early Spring 2009 - Building Character While Playing Characters

Winter 2008 - Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Hello

Holiday 2008

Fall 2008

Late Summer 2008

Midsummer 2008

Early Summer 2008

Late Spring 2008

Spring 2008

Early Spring 2008

Winter 2007

Holiday 2007

Fall 2007

Late Summer 2007

Midsummer 2007

Early Summer 2007

Late Spring 2007

Spring 2007

Early Spring 2007

Winter 2006

Holiday 2006

Fall 2006

Late Summer 2006

Midsummer 2006

Early Summer 2006

Late Spring 2006

Spring 2006

Early Spring 2006




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