Believe it or not, some of the most profound life lessons you could learn are from animals. Remove your feelings of superiority and self serving intellectualism and you will find that they have figured out a lot of the secrets to happy living and wellbeing before us.
Most of us have interacted with dogs or cats mainly, in my case cats have been my pets of choice ever since I developed eyes that can see and hands that can touch soft fur. I have yet to experience the pleasure of befriending a dog, so this will mostly be limited to Cats as masters of wellbeing.
See, cats tend to be quite individualistic and for introverts like me, they are wonderful creatures with a need for space from everyone and everything. Nothing but respect for that. Lesson one therefore, is that taking time for ourselves can do wonders for our peace of mind. Canceling out the noise of needy people and high intensity tasks helps us focus. So take a walk, find a place to lounge and cancel out the world.
Lesson two entails hygiene. We can drop the licking ourselves clean behavior, but we can pay attention to the positive outcomes a good shower can give us. Not to mention the nakedness experience that is not to be undermined. We spend so much of our time in clothes, so being ok with our uncovered bodies is a practice, and finding connection between mind, skin and strength begins with our hygiene routines and extends outwards. The most direct symptom of stressed or sick cats is stopping their self cleaning routines.
Lesson three has us running like psychos in the middle of the night for no apparent reason but exercise, exorcism of evil spirits and fun. Obviously there are numerous limitations for us to burst into inexplicable bouts of activity between 12 and 2 AM. But we can learn to let the lid off sometimes and not be so stiff all the time. See bouts of movement during the day help keep us on our feet let alone that that kind of energy is contagious. So put on some running or dancing shoes and hit the floor.
Lesson four is a beautiful one. Ever held the gaze of a feline as they are dozing off? It is the most hypnotizing look, one that could land you flat on your face with sleepiness. Always look people in the eye. See cats have a special quality, one that is not for the faint of heart. They follow you with their eyes, sometime the pupil is paper thin and quite intimidating, and other times, it expands to take up the full circle of their iris and you know then that a pounce is in the works. The idea however, is connection, it is enabling our sense of sight and paying attention to those in front of us. Slowly, upon deeper observation the skill becomes better and you could even become a better judge of character, capable of providing empathy by looking at people more closely.
Lesson five looks like every funny cat video out there. Humble, unsuspecting and absolutely delightful. Allowing ourselves to be silly, and delightful is a life skill, one that will help keep you young and fun and a joy to be around. So embrace the quirks in you and play when you can.
Learning from cats is not a thing one does by choice but a thing one is forced to do, not because there is a chance of a dangerous outcome, but simply because participation becomes a pleasure; and life with pets is a joy to the spirit.