I find I often make choices based on my schedule or to-do list instead of listening to my body’s wisdom. I’m pretty certain I’m not alone in this one. Sometimes choices based on schedules and lists are necessary – I’d certainly never blow off a job interview because I felt like I needed a nap; however, within the times of the day that really are flexible (despite what my planner pad says), I can certainly adjust my activities.
A cat is a master at listening to what his body needs and promptly taking care of those needs. When he’s hungry, he eats (if he’s freely fed, of course). When he’s tired, he has no qualms with curling up and snoozing until his body says it’s time to awaken. When he feels stiff or achy, he stretches. And when he feels playful, he plays! He isn’t ruled by some schedule that tells him he must wake up at a certain time and has to stop birdwatching to bat a jingle ball for a few minutes.
I, on the other hand, feel sometimes like I’m a slave to my schedule. Don’t get me wrong – I am a major fan of routine. I like to know what to expect and have been told I could make a few more spontaneous choices now and again. I think it’s a control thing. I’m not afraid to admit I like to feel in control of my day and, when things change, I have to make a conscious effort to stay in the flow. I remember times when I’d skipped meals in favor of completing a project. That says a lot, because I love my food! I’m also no stranger to eating when I’m not hungry, which equally doesn’t serve me.
I remember once I was working on a project at the computer. I seriously craved a nap, yet told myself I should get the project completed by a certain time that day. No one else assigned that deadline — it was all me. I looked at the sleeping cat in my lap and actually felt jealousy that kitty got to nap and I didn’t. Then I felt silly. Why in the world was I managing my time so rigidly? In all honesty, the project could have been completed by the following day and I really could have taken a snooze. With that realization came a sense of freedom. And yes, I did stop what I was doing and took a nap. In case you’re wondering, I still met my self-imposed deadline. But guess what? The world would not have ended if I hadn’t met it. And that’s the truth.
So my goal is to pay close attention to what my body needs and serve those needs with the very best care possible in that moment. I also intend to be gentle with myself and allow flexibility where it really is possible. When I need a little extra energy, I’ll stretch or exercise. When my tummy’s feeling rumbly, I’ll nourish it. When I’m feeling agitated, I’ll meditate or take a quiet walk. It’s really simple — just not always easy, right? I do know one thing for sure: When I grow up, I want to be a cat.