The other morning
I opened the door and my cat pranced in and brought a baby bird he had killed into our home. He laid the bird in the middle of the room and looked up at me. My heart was suddenly pulled in two directions. Motherly pride and sorrow. It took me a moment but I looked at him and said, “Good Boy!” and patted him on his head. Then I immediately went to grab a tissue and picked up the bird before he decided to further dismantle it’s small, delicately feathered and tender body.
I placed the bird in the tissue on the kitchen table and then sat with my cat in my arms while we both looked at it. I was completely at a loss of what to do next, but told the bird I was deeply sorry in my heart. I didn’t want to punish the cat for his ways and yet felt so terribly saddened that such a sweet young creature had already passed through the world. The gravity of what life is was throbbing through my skull and heart. I felt immense love and utter loss at the same time.
Fast forward to an evening where I was present in a group discussing Jungian and Core Energetics therapy and the concept of the Self emerged. How each modality defines the Self and what it is. Or what it isn’t seems more accurate.
It was mentioned that reality really doesn’t care who you are or what the self is. We pay mind to the self in order to understand reality but so much of this understanding comes from our act of being. Being in relation to our self and being in the world at large with others. Getting a foothold on who that Self is seems to be the answer, but is it?
The experience with my cat that morning flooded into my memory when these ideas were related between us and it illustrated this place to me. This place of me in life, in reality, no matter what comes or doesn’t I am simply there. Aware only of what I am capable of being aware of. Sitting at that kitchen table with the cat I loved and the small bird I felt so much sadness for, sitting in the midst, in the middle of experience and emotion, not knowing how to be and yet just being. My Self was so unimportant it seemed, allowing the circumstances to be just as they were.
Walking through life can be difficult or joyous. Life doesn’t determine which way we decide to encounter it, we do. The concept of the Self is the malleable part. It doesn’t need to be something that is determined and whole, just something that lives, feels, and experiences. When we can surrender to life, increase our awareness and embrace our experience the Self emerges as the perception of the moment. That perception is yours and then another individual has theirs, and a cat has one also.
By Cynthia Kagoshima