I’m really trying to meditate, but my fucking cat won’t leave me alone.
My law firm held a training earlier this year on mindfulness and the art of staying present. I am rarely fully present; my mind is busy (mis)interpreting the past and worrying about the future. That’s a great combination if you want to be a distracted mom and a sloppy lawyer, and if you want to miss out on most of your life.
In an effort to curb this bad habit, I started a program a week ago called 30 Days of Meditation. Each day, you increase your period of meditation by one minute. As I dropped my daughter off at daycare today, I started getting myself pumped up for today’s seven minutes. I can do this! I can focus my breath for seven minutes! It’s just seven minutes!
I get home, sit in a comfortable position on the floor, and shut my eyes. Immediately, I feel a furry head rubbing against my calf. It’s my younger cat, Karen, and she is thrilled that I am sitting on the floor. She wants to cuddle, NOW, and she is persistent. She will not be ignored.
I pause my meditation podcast and attempt to placate the extreme feline neediness by petting Karen. A lot. I hold her, scratch behind her ears, and run my hand down her back. But she is not satisfied. She is encouraged, and hungrier than ever for pets.
I try to focus so deeply on my breathing that I am able to ignore the fact that Karen won’t stop rubbing up against my hand and arm. But I am failing, because Karen isn’t just trying to get pets. She is also on a mission to rub the brown eye gunk that collects around her eyes onto my skin and clothing. This habit grosses me out to no end, and I am quickly losing patience. This is my time to be quiet so that I can set myself up for a peaceful, productive day. So I close my eyes again and breathe in and out. In and out.
And then Karen jumps up on the ottoman so that she can rub her face on my face. Now I am mad.
I (gently) toss Karen onto the couch behind me, and flash back to my parents’ old house on Via Marfil. I am about eight years old, and my mom is making dinner on a Sunday night. My sister, brother, and I are likely bickering, and apparently making a lot of noise, because my dad comes storming out his bedroom. “CAN YOU KEEP IT DOWN?! I’M TRYING TO READ MY GODDAMN BIBLE.” He obviously hadn’t made it very far into his Bible because I’m pretty sure it says in the first 50 pages that you’re not supposed to take the Lord’s name in vain.
My meditation podcast is telling me to accept whatever I am feeling at the moment without judgment, but dammit, this is not how I am supposed to feel when I meditate! I am extremely frustrated with Karen, and even angrier at myself that I have gotten so frustrated and derailed by a cat.
Finally, I head into the bathroom. I feel nothing like a Zen master when seated on a toilet, but I can’t be picky right now. Karen has laid claim to the living room, and I have no doubt that if I head upstairs to my bedroom, my older cat, Kevin, will immediately remember that he needs pets more at this moment than he has ever needed them in his little kitty lifetime. So I sit on the toilet and close my eyes. At that moment, the neighbor’s gardener turns on his leaf blower. What a joke. I give up.
When my husband gets home, I complain about Karen’s voracious need for pets. “She wouldn’t leave me alone, so I had to try to meditate in the bathroom. The bathroom!”
He looks to the corner of the room and tries not to smile.
“She’s out of food.”
Also published at www.runningwithcouches.com.