April 25, 2010

faith and cats

Kindergarten never taught me anything.  What I have learned about life -- really learned -- has come from working with animals.  Newfoundland dogs first and now cats -- lots of cats.  I herded cats for 2 years at the FOHA facility, rescued dogs from kill shelters for Truck-N-Paws  for 2 years and now live -- as the servant to 3 cats.  Like I said, Kindergarten taught me nothing -- but cats and dogs have taught me everything.  From letting go to persistence in going after a goal to the zen concept of holding with an open hand.  The basics to the degree program of life.

My latest goal -- integrating, socializing and regifting with faith -- is my first cat.  She is still very shy and creeps about when she is unsure but today she got into the backyard on her own.  No harness, no leash, no collar.  Really scary for me because I wasn't sure if she knew where her safe place was.  I have trained my other two cats to know that inside the house is safe and outside is not.  And they have faith in me on that -- at least my SUV big cat does.  My mid-size cat knows but doesn't want to admit it.  And my small smartcar size cat is beginning to understand that she can trust the inside as well.

For me today the lesson of life is trust.  Trust in knowing the cats well enough to let them experiment being outside together.

April 23, 2010

Karma is a funny thing

I got to do my favorite thing today...find information in courthouses.  Perhaps I like courthouses because my dad had an office in one when I was growing up so the smell of linoleum and concrete is familiar.  Or maybe it is the smell of legal papers.  It was just nice to be back in a courthouse today.  And it was a beautiful spring day.  Lilacs were starting to bloom and people were just outside reading briefs or eating lunch. 

Yesterday we had a change of luck and people actually reached out to help us set up the office properly after 6 weeks of feeling like we were invisible.  So today it was my time to get helped personally at the first courthouse I got to.  As readers of this blog know, I get lost easily.  I looked lost when I was walking over to the courthouse and two women went out of their way to find out where I was going and make sure I got there.  Sweet people.  Then later I was able to return the favor with a different woman at a different courthouse who was lost and needed help.  An all around feel good kind of day.  

Is it karma that works or is it just a beautiful spring day that brings out the best in people?  I suspect karma is in the eye of the beholder.  I am just grateful for it today.  My karma box was getting kind of empty after the last 6 weeks. 

So when kindness happens to you, pass it on.

Very Cool

Just discovered a service that can turn this blog into a book.  Yay!!!  And it is offered by google!!!!


Actually, I do recall the last time when people came together as individuals (and strangers to one another) and helped.  It was 9/11 and I was driving home after the Pentagon attack in D.C.  I turned onto the wrong road and had to backtrack to get out of the city.  I had gotten lost on the access point to the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge which is usually relentlessly difficult to navigate.  So normally this is a suicidal tactic.  Streets come so fast and drivers come so quick that accidents happen fast because no one driver has the patience and kindness to look beyond themselves while they are on the road.  But that day was a light in time that continues to shine in to the present.  Other drivers stopped and let me get turned around.  So here is a shoutout to those that helped.  I know that now I give other drivers plenty of room to get in, get around and try not to get upset when I get cut off.  I have a bumper sticker that keeps me from getting upset at people who are honking at others...this really used to tick me off.  My sticker says "Honk If You Don't Exist."

It helps me take a moment before getting upset to wonder whether they are honking in a friendly, geewhiz I get like the bumper sticker or whether they are honking because they are idiots.

Just food for thought

Hmmm, why is it easier...

Actually this experience with the office move has been food for thought.  Why is it easier for people acting in groups to become callous and cold towards those they are (supposedly) helping?  Why does belonging to an institution make people act afraid of acting with kindness towards others?

I used to see this behavior in cats at the Shelter.  New rescues would come in and after the obligatory period in isolation would go into the main cattery area.  Resident cats are an iffy lot when it comes to meeting new cats.  Standoffish doesn't begin to describe it.

All I know is that I am eternally grateful to the people who eventually reached out to help fix the problems caused by the incompetence of others.

Thank you for restoring my faith in the best of individuals reaching to help.

A Shirley Temple View of Life--The Little Princess

Oh, if I could just have the sense of faith that Shirley Temple has in this movie.  The entire experience of managing an office move, fighting with the phone/computer companies and finding out that an honest broker is not to be found in today's world has shaken me.  I believe the best of experience was meeting people who could and did step out of their institutional roles to help.  People who rise up and help make things better are more heroic than is given credit.  Perhaps because of the last two days when they stepped up to step in have been a lesson for me in the value of persistence and belief in myself.  And perhaps a better belief in the heroism of peopl when they act individually instead of collectively.

April 14, 2010

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen | Worse Than War

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen | Worse Than War

My god, this is the most powerful view of genocide I have ever watched. And believe me, I have watched plenty of programs on holocausts. But Goldhagen is different. He is the first one to link all genocides together. From Pol Pot, Hitler, Tutsie, Armenian, Bosnia and others, he weaves a compelling case for genocide being an integral part of the human experience. He then goes further an explores ways to stop them since the countries of the world consider status quo more important than intervention in the internal affairs of a country--even when massive numbers of humans are being exterminated. He has done the research, he has talked with mass murderers to hear their side, he is the more thorough historian and activist I have seen so far. May he inspire many more!