After a particularly trying few days, I couldn’t wait to get home and take a hot soothing bath. I love the smell of the lavender candles, the lavender Epsom salts and the heater on in the bathroom to make the entire room cozy and warm. The lighting is generally low and on this evening I chose to not listen to music but to listen to me. I tuned into my own thoughts and tried to relax.
As I slinked down into the huge 2 person tub, the bathroom door ajar, I noticed both of my cats, Ricky and Lucy. They came in quietly and sat down on a bath rug. They just wanted to be close to me. I let out a little laugh. They hadn’t seen me for 3 days. They must have missed me. I thought about this and realized that they truly are the epitome of unconditional love. They want to give love and get love from me and anyone else who is willing to give and receive love with them.
They were quiet the entire time in the bathroom. Didn’t meow, didn’t fight, didn’t move or run around. They both sat quietly, Ricky on the window sill appearing to look out into the night and Lucy on the rug near the sink just waiting for me to get out of the tub. It was almost as if they were in their thoughts as well, perhaps a bit of a meditative state for all of us.
From that point on they followed me around the house and each took turns sitting on me or near me, always having their body touching mine. I am aware that many people don’t really see cats this way, this is how they see dogs. My cats, give and receive love and are great at self-care, a lesson that should be learned from them.
In fact when we think about unconditional love we do tend to think about pets. Pets aren’t interested in judgements, nor are they interested in your ego, they are interested in giving and receiving love. They are interested in having fun and relaxing. They are interested in enough food to sustain and assume you as the caretaker, will care for them in the best way possible. They trust implicitly. Pets also understand danger, especially against you their trusted human. They will not tolerate someone trying to hurt the one they love. Pets sit and listen to your troubles without trying to solve but letting you get it all out and they do it with compassion. It never fails that when I cry at home, one or both cats are nearby, rubbing their bodies against me, sitting on my lap, and showing me compassion and empathy when I need it most.
Wouldn’t the world be a beautiful place if everyone was like a dog or a cat? We would give unconditional love to all because that is what we do. We don’t know their journey but we know we should be kind and loving to all. We treated everyone as if we trusted first instead of mistrust until you prove yourself. We disregarded or better yet didn’t display ego and just displayed love. And we took time to care for others and care for ourselves. We would be there when others needed us, not to solve for them but to give them someone to lean on, to talk to and to cry with. We love to touch and be touched. Humans need a lot more touch than most realize. I read something recently that said that people need to be hugged daily. I know I can go a week without a real hug and so hugging my pets and having them touch me helps.
I remember when I met my ex-husband and thought he was incredibly loving and kind and that it was unconditional. I met a friend for drinks one night and was telling her about him. She looked at me and said, “you realize that the only unconditional love there is on earth is that between parent and child.” I looked at her and said that that is what I always thought until I met this incredible person. She disagreed and really tried to get me to see that there would be conditions placed on me at some point. That people by nature put conditions on people. By the way she was right about him. I’m not sure I want to believe she was right about human kind though. There are people in the world who have or do display this unusual characteristic and truly give unconditional love. But perhaps too few.
I think that if we can stop placing so many conditions on ourselves and understand that everyone has a story and you may not know it, we may be able to get to a place of acceptance. Accepting others the way our pets accept us. And we need to learn to accept ourselves. Our judgements externally are a mirror of our internal judgements.
2017, could be a year of unconditional love and acceptance for human kind. I’m going to work at learning from my Lucy and Ricky and give and receive love quietly and without expectations. And I will practice more self- care so I may care better for those I love.