So, a little while back I stayed with my mother for a couple of nights. I usually stay at friends when I visit her town, as she forgets that I am there and then gets a fright each morning when I come out of my room, but the friend’s guest room was being used and so I stayed with her.
As you might have guessed my mother’s short-term memory isn’t working so well anymore. In fact, it is getting shorter all the time.
Anyway, that morning I heard her get up and walk into the kitchen and lounge. I was expecting to hear the sounds ‘of morning’, you know, curtains being opened, kettle being put on, fridge being used etc.
However, all I heard was the sounds of the cat being fed and then it just went silent. So, I lay in my bed listening to the silence for quite some time, twenty minutes to be exact. Then I quietly got out of bed and peeked around the corner into the kitchen and lounge curious about what my mother might be doing.
The scene in front of me was beautiful. It could have also been sad, and I felt a little of that, but then gently moved that feeling away and stayed with ‘beautiful’.
My mother was sitting on one of the dining table chairs and the cat was sitting on the table in front of her. The two of them were more or less at eye height. My mother was stroking the cat, clearly enjoying her company, the sound of her purring, the softness of her fur, the cat’s response to being stroked and who knows what else. The cat left no doubt about her pleasure of being touched and caressed, having just been fed and well cared for.
The image was one of total harmony, of peace, of togetherness and pleasure. It was also an image of being very, very present.
That’s the bit that struck me.
Here is me trying to be present in everyday life. Being mindful when I eat, being aware when I am in nature, feeling present when I practice yoga, focusing on the conversation I am having instead of thinking of what to cook for dinner, driving with awareness as not to end up at the old house we used to live in and, well, just being ‘in the now’ no matter what I do.
And then I get to see this wonderful example of a cat and an old lady with short term memory loss, both being ‘in the now’ with ease, leisure and pleasure.
I could have made myself heard, started the day by opening the curtains and putting on the kettle, but instead I decided to allow those two a bit more time, experiencing what they were already masters at. So, I snuck back into bed and lay there, practicing being present to the comfort, luxury and warmth of a little extra time for myself with no guilt or thought of what was coming next in my day.