Sometimes our animal nature takes over and we disregard what’s good for us. This is TomCat. He wandered onto the property two summers ago looking somewhat worse for wear. I named him. He stayed. Indoors, TomCat tends to be a pushover. All the cats except his buddy, Slick, swat him away from the food and allow him the barest edge of a cushion or chair. Outdoors, we suspect he’s unwilling to let the lack of testicles dictate his social skills. On the way to the vet this weekend, Frank noted that we have spent more time in the ER of the local animal hospital with TomCat than we ever did at the Children’s Hospital.
From the location around his neck of the large contusions, abscesses and all that goes with using one’s claws and not one’s words, it seems TomCat tangled with something rather fierce and with big teeth. The evidence points to a willing engagement or the bites would have been on his rear, explained the very chatty vet. Her verdict: house arrest for two or three days until the wounds stop oozing and he’s feeling less punk.
Tell TomCat that.
He’s perfected his caterwauling skills for the two days he’s been incarcerated and no amount of logic is swaying him from his unshakable claim that he has been wrongly sentenced. Keeping him in, however, is more than just logic about healing. There is something large out there and because his buddy, Slick, hasn’t been home for three days, I’d prefer to worry only half as much.
We often don’t know that a closed door is better for us than access to everything our nature desires. Even when we’ve been hurt and mangled, we cling to the idea that there is no connection between where we were and what happened. A closed door challenges our beliefs that we are entitled to everything on the other side of it. It also triggers our fears that we will miss out, not have, be deprived of what is rightfully ours.
Old habits die hard, I suppose. On other occasions, TomCat howled and the door opened. Having been there in various forms, I understand completely. Been there, invested in the relationship, climbed the ladder. Sat in front of that closed door. Sometimes for years. Sometimes even waiting for a window to open when that door closed. It didn’t occur to me until recently that the closed door is practice. It brings me face-to-face with my greed, my sense of entitlement, my assumptions that wanting is all that is required for having.
Consider the generosity of a closed door. It gives the space to heal, to come into one’s own. And given I’m not big on leaping out of windows as an alternative to closed doors, it is also a chance to explore what is already here.
I’m beginning to think it’s time to find a quiet place to curl up and live life as it is.
Thank you for practising,