Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Exercising the Heart

This morning I decided to forgo my usual walk/run down Natchez Trace in order to spend time at the Cat Shoppe in Berry Hill. I had an ulterior motive. Yesterday I dropped in to buy cat nip, organic cat nip. As I rushed out with my dollar bag of kitty hooch as it's called, my breath was taken by a little long hair tabby only weeks old. I scooped up Buttercup as she looked intensely with her big golden eyes at me. The overhead music system played a song I vaguely recalled. "De ja vue, could you be the girl that I once knew?"

Our gaze locked as I thought, 'Could this be the cat that I once knew?' This kitten looked just like my dear cat of many years, Templeton, who died around this time two years ago. Likewise Buttercup seemed to size me up. Was she wondering if I was the woman she had known?

I didn't have time for this. I had lunch to prepare in less than fifteen minutes and an agenda to keep. I returned Buttercup to her perch and drove home. I could not have a third cat. I had to consider Mystery and Bogey as well as my house.

This morning I knew I had to consider my heart. I decided it would do me good to read the journal I kept through Templeton's sickness and death. Maybe I'd find noted there something that would help me discern why I had met Buttercup. I cried my way through the month of January 2008, actually I sobbed. Yet between blowing my nose and taking my glasses off and on I found gems, one liners, that I had written during that time. Things like: "The animals are here to partner with us yet we take them so for granted" or "The heart is an alchemical vessel in which sorrow is transformed into joy and gratitude."

By the time I read through January, peace settled over me and the clock informed me it was time to quit reading and run. This is how I ended up at The Cat Shoppe. I intended to visit Buttercup during an afternoon break but I knew going through the motions of my morning run would actually be running from my heart and my journey.

Cross the threshold of the Cat Shoppe and one is met by a tribe of greeters. I immediately talked to a calico who rubbed against my leg then began my search for Buttercup. She was snoozing atop the six-tiered perch near the door. I rolled a rubber ball then tossed a tiny, headless stuffed sheep to a fluffy black and white cat while talking with Wesley, a fur ball of a Tabby.

Buttercup finally became curious and let me walk her around the store. All the while I'm trying to discern whether this kitten is my former cat returned.

You see, during Templeton's illness, I talked at length with her about rejoining me after a period of time in 'rehab.' I thought we had found each other when Bogeysattvah showed up the very week I had requested Templeton return. This has since been confirmed as they share so many attributes although she returned a he.

After a lengthy whispered conversation, I finally freed Buttercup feeling certain she wasn't Templeton. It was then I discovered the real reason I needed to go to the Cat Shoppe.

As I interacted with these dear animals, I realized I was exercising my heart. I felt love, connection and delight and I knew the cats did too.

How is it we make time to exercise our physical bodies, but we don't consciously exercise our hearts? We focus on the exterior and neglect the interior. How is it we relegate exercising our hearts to Valentines which monetarily benefits florists, Hallmark and sellers of all things heart-shaped, red, pink and chocolate? We exercise our hearts by showing love on birthdays, paying respects at funerals and by purchasing gifts at Christmas.

We are built for so much more. Research shows the heart has an electromagnetic field 5,000 greater in strength than the field produced by the brain. This field not only permeates every cell in our body, but can also be measured up to ten feet away with detectors called magnetometers.* We are built for love and its emotional kin.

I am so grateful Buttercup got my attention as I rushed past her. She was serendipitously a partner and I paid attention. Seeing her see me prompted me to reread my journal and in turn exercise my heart through grieving which allowed me to alchemically turn sorrow into peace and joy.

Animals offer us love unconditionally. They are as I realized two years ago partners with us yet we neglect them so. We neglect them because we unknowingly neglect ourselves.

I returned home and walked straight to Mystery and Bogey entwined with each other in their favorite chair. I got down on my knees, placed my hands on them and apologized. Yes, I apologized for our collective ignorance, fear and greed through the ages and what we've done to the cat family through the killing of cats in the Roman coliseums in the name of entertainment, to their deaths during witch hunts here and abroad and the continued hunting of lions and cats as big game by some men who have yet to learn hunting does not make one truly potent.

I exercised my heart and in so doing hopefully exercised the quantum or collective heart of human and animal kind.

How have you exercised your heart today?
* For more on new info about the heart click on HeartMath.
-Dawn! The Good News Muse

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