Categories
self discovery

Lessons My Cat Has Taught Me

I’ve been a cat lover for as long as I remember.

When I was a little girl I tried to interact with a family friend’s cat, who immediately ran away from me as I vied for her attention.  “Well, this isn’t fun,” my four year old self thought.

We finally got a cat of our own, Kattie, when I was seven years old.  My mom took care of all the “heavy lifting;” the bills, the doctor appointments, and of course, the litter box.  Kattie wasn’t as cuddly as I would have hoped, though- and it was probably because I wasn’t patient with her.

I’ve lived with a variety of cats over the years, from Kattie to Cali, and later in Boston when I helped care for Clarissa and Tuxedo.  Now, at 34 years old, I decided to adopt a cat of my very own- and I’m his sole caretaker and companion.

Ollie and I have only been each other’s partners for a few days now, but he’s teaching me important lessons all of the time.

Before meeting me, he came from a hoarding situation and lived at the humane society for seven long months.  It wasn’t his favorite place, and many people overlooked him because of his shy nature.  However, as soon as I met him, there was something special- and I was thrilled to be able to give him a forever home.

He may have cowered away from me at first, but I understood he was scared.  I didn’t know what happened to him in the past, and much like a person, he probably had every reason to shy away from unknown people.  Oh, Ollie- how I relate.

Even though I’d love him to want to hop on my bed and give me affection, I know it will take him time.  Thanks to Ollie, I’m learning to be even more gentle, patient, and responsible.

He’s made me think about caring for someone other than myself, and at times, care for myself even more.  I’m more conscious of my home, my finances, and spending enough time with him.

We all have pain in our past, whether it’s loss, trauma, addiction, or loneliness.  Cats are no different.  He may be irresistibly cute, but I need to remember to respect his space, just like I would want from a person.

We’ve enjoyed sitting still together, playing with his bird toy, and exploring my townhouse.  I’ve found him in unexpected places, and he’s never failed to make me laugh or smile.

Learning to care for love a little being has been one of my biggest joys, and he gives me something to look forward to every single day.  I may not have any interest in having a human child, but I’m absolutely content with my beautiful fur baby.

Categories
self discovery

A Cat Girl in a Dog World

Sometimes it’s hard being a cat person in a world of dogs.

Oh, the energy and the constant need for attention!  I don’t know about you, but I get overwhelmed when anything runs up to me, kisses me without permission, or needs me to take it for walks.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been single for almost five years, too.

I grew up with cats and was an only child to a single parent- the perfect recipe for introversion.  I read books, I drew pictures, and I hung outside with the ducks.  Independent and mild mannered, I was a child who felt like an old lady compared to my peers.  Kids my age, puppies, and dogs in general overwhelmed me.  I wasn’t equipped to handle their energy.

As an adult, not much has changed.

This is what “dog people” don’t seem to understand.  I’m not lonely- I am just preserving my energy.

There’s a time and a place for social interaction, and it’s important to know the difference between being alone and being lonely.

I’m proud of my independence- and I’m grateful I am able to sit with self.  Not everyone understands the demeanor or the needs of a cat, and that’s okay- I’m on my own journey.

Categories
empowerment

What Inspires Change?

Last night’s book club was a success!  Although I took the wrong bus to Arlington (silly me), I serendipitously got off at Spy Pond, a place I often frequented when I lived in the neighborhood.  It was a good omen to remember how far I’ve come this past year, and how much has changed- inside and out.  The sun shined on the bright blue water, and I legitimately enjoyed my mile-long walk in the freezing cold.  Ah, what a time to be alive.

Once I arrived, I was greeted by Clarissa the cat and a basket of slippers. “The Nest,” my first home in Boston, is lovingly referred to as “the house of healing hearts-” and it lives up to the name.  There’s no warmer, cozier house full of hospitality and love.  Brenda certainly makes anyone in her home feel like it’s their own, and I will forever be grateful for The Nest being one of my first Massachusetts experiences.

Brenda was cutting up veggies and cheese when I arrived, and soon after April strolled in.  An all-around inspiration, April is an emotional health consultant and author- and after reading her book last year, I became much more aware of my own shift in consciousness.  One of her Facebook posts even inspired me to write this piece last summer.

One by one, ladies showed up to discuss the very appropriate book of the night: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck.

Although we didn’t have many negative things to say, some of the ladies felt it was repetitive, a bit entitled, and wondered why someone our own age was at liberty to give us advice.  I played devil’s advocate, however, and chimed in:

“Isn’t it better to learn these things now than much later in life?  Think about how many people in this world who will never learn these simple concepts.  They carry on, miserably, forever giving far too many fucks.”

Most of the girls agreed with me.  Sure, much of the book was full of common sense, but as many of us know, common sense is not so common.

We discussed the ornery coupon queen to the narcissistic serial entrepreneur who never accomplishes anything.  We talked about how the smallest things, such as a 30 cent coupon, could ruin someone’s entire day- because the coupons are what has meaning to that particular person.

Then, we carried on to discuss what has enough meaning in our lives to make the suffering worthwhile.  That was a very interesting question- what is worth fighting for?  What isn’t worth giving a f about?  Why would make ourselves suffer due to things that don’t even have meaning in our lives- such as traffic, a coworker giving you a weird look, or what your third cousin thinks of your new boyfriend?  Why do we search for problems when everything is perfectly fine?

My favorite quote in the book was this:

“Suffering is nature’s agent for inspiring change.”

That’s a very interesting thought.

Two years ago, everything was seemingly fine in New York City.  However, shit hit the fan very quickly- I watched it all crumble within a couple of weeks that July.

If my life would had been as wonderful as I hoped for it to be prior to moving to Boston (I think I was in denial that it ever was wonderful in New York), I never would have ended up here.  Had I not struggled, I wouldn’t have had the courage to make that big life change.  Had I not failed at what I thought I wanted, I never would have been lead into a completely new direction- one that gives me purpose, inspires passion, and has meaning.

Finally.  Meaning.

Prior to moving, I didn’t just have discontentment with my outside situation- it was mostly within myself.  As soon as I began to take ownership of who I was- not who I was trying to be- things began to get better.  Sure, I suffered through the uncomfortable moments of being myself- which inevitably pushed people who weren’t in alignment with me away- yet once the suffering was over, my life began to clear, and I was able to begin building again.

Thinking about the first few months of writing this blog is truly mind-boggling to me.  I was feeding myself a plethora of information- from self-help books to endless YouTube videos, I wrote every single day during 2017, still trying to figure myself out.  I blogged, I journaled, I painted.  I created a couple of other websites and came up with new ideas.  I worked a few different jobs.  I spent the year re-learning who Kristin is.

Although the growing never ends, I’m glad my suffering has.  Sure, we’ll always face both minor and major struggles along the way, but the hard part- the caterpillar trying to break out of the cocoon- is over.  I’ve finally broke out of the trap I created for myself, saw the light, and found my wings.

Returning to The Nest brings back all kinds of old feelings- relief, a sense of acceptance, feeling loved, and most of all, starting to finally love and accept myself.  The “house of healing hearts” certainly helped me get back on my feet, and I wholeheartedly agree with Mark Manson- “suffering is nature’s agent for inspiring change.”

Categories
empowerment self discovery

Embracing Feminine Energy

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Over the past few months I have started to notice a shift in my behavior and mindset.  My defensive, aggressive nature has started to lift and I am beginning to embrace my nurturing, peaceful side.  I have been provided many opportunities to focus my energy on caregiving; tending to plants, helping other women and learning from Clarissa the cat.

This may sound silly, but I have learned many lessons from animals and nature. These earthly blessings are also forms of my higher power; I believe we receive messages through other living things.  I have learned to open my mind and heart in order to receive these messages from the universe through spending time near the water, caring for Clarissa, and bringing my wilting plants back to life.  These simple, yet meaningful activities have also helped me to have the ability to have compassion for others, resulting in being able to lend a hand to other women who have gone through the same struggles as I have.

After a very full and happy day, I drew a Goddess Card last night to guide me in my “next step.”  I am currently in a career transition and have developed an amazing community here in the Boston area, but I still have wonders about where my path may lead.

Clarissa may have picked up on my energy, because she jumped right in to assist.  I focused my intention on my next move; where do I direct my energy?  While my life is very positive and whole, I knew there was something I was lacking or needed to embrace.

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Then, I drew Hathor.

Hathor: “Allow yourself to receive. This will increase your intuition, energy, and ability to give to others.”

Message from Hathor: “You have a maternal side to you that naturally cares for those in need, yet this must be balanced with receptivity or the flow is blocked. Receiving is the essence of feminine energy, and it means allowing yourself to receive with grace and gratitude. If you feel guilty when asking others for help, or if you feel bad about receiving gifts, then you block your feminine energy. Your receptivity is must as natural as your nurturing, giving energy. Receptivity allows you to better hear the voices of the angels. When you receive, you have more resources to give to others. Begin by noticing the hundreds of gifts you receive each day, whether it is seeing beauty in nature, witnessing a touching human moment, or being hugged by a loved one. Simply say “Thank you” for each gift, and know that they are filling up your store house, keeping the Divine flow going strong.”

The Divine flow!  Just last night I spoke with a friend (who is a therapist and mindfulness teacher) about feminine energy and having the ability to receive.  Accepting love and receiving positive energy used to be such a struggle for me.  She mentioned the “divine shift” of 2012, which was my first time hearing of this!  I got goosebumps once I dug into my own research on this shift.

In a world full of ego, power struggles and greed, I was amazed and inspired- perhaps this is what I am experiencing!  While I used to block love, help or nurturing as a defense mechanism from getting hurt or being abandoned, today I am beginning to live in faith, not fear, and allowing others into my life.  Each lesson, animal, day spent in nature or person who reaches out to me is a blessing (and a sign) that I do need to embrace my  feminine side in order to love, and receive that same love in return.

Learning to live in peace, not pride, creates such a bigger world for ourselves.  It is easy to get tied up in power, money and ego, but by allowing that feminine energy to flow, you can step out of the darkness and into a loving, content life.

This morning I am grateful- and I look forward to the gifts the rest of the day brings.

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Categories
self discovery

Cat Lady Christmas

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As I open my new notebook and begin to write, Bernice (AKA Bernie Sanders) jumps up next to me on the couch and begins to chew my headphones.  After she tires of this activity, she proceeds to walk on the blank white pages in front of me.

Even though I’m not sure if my company for the weekend understands that I would like her to stop disrupting my writing, her company is much more welcomed- and much less of a headache- than most people during holidays.

It’s a Cat Lady Christmas.

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Bernice guarding my notebook.

It’s usually easier for me to tackle life on my own than to worry about other people. Through the years I have had many short-lived relationships, a handful of longtime friendships, and grew up in a small family.  Since I was never surrounded by groups of people, I valued quality over quantity.

Christmas Day looks a lot like my minimalistic holiday– simple and stress-free.  While I would love to be home in Michigan with my family, this year I’m staying in Boston, enjoying my first (solo) New England Christmas.

Yesterday I ventured out to go shopping, binged on Netflix and Hulu, hung out with Bernice and ordered enough delivery to last me two days.

Ah, Bachelorette life.

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Christmas Eve dinner, Bachelorette style.

I decided to spend Christmas Day relaxing, exploring the city, eating and writing.  If that’s how I want to celebrate this holiday (which has nothing to do with hype or stress), then that is what I intend to do.

Family and friends told me they feel bad that I am spending Christmas alone with Bernice.  My take on it?  I have the best company around- myself, a four-legged friend, and my empty notebook.

Let the games begin.