Heart of the Soul

buncom1-300x273I have a cat, Buncom, who is terrified of the vacuum. Really terrified. In fact, when he sees me start to pick things up and get ready to vacuum, he immediately runs and hides. I don’t know where this fear comes from. I’ve had him since he was a tiny baby, and I know for a fact that he’s never been harmed by the vacuum. But he somehow just knows that it’s going to hurt him in some way, and he lives in constant fear of it happening.

I’ve noticed that lately, it’s gotten so bad that I can simply pick up a pair of shoes, and he will run for cover. Or I can move one of his toys and put it into the toy box, and he’ll assume that means I’m going to get out the vacuum. He now associates any form of cleaning with the vacuum, which is causing him great stress.

Yesterday, I picked up and recycled a few pieces of junk mail from the kitchen table, and he ran into his hiding place. I noticed that he was there for much of the afternoon – just waiting for the vacuum to come out. He watched my every move very carefully all day long – in apprehension of what he knew was to come. Never mind that I had no intention of vacuuming that day – he was absolutely convinced that it was about to happen.

And he spent his entire day in his hiding spot – waiting in fear.

Finally, last night he realized that it was safe to come out, and he played and acted normal again. But he missed an entire day where he could have been enjoying his life simply because he feared something was about to happen that never was going to happen in the first place.

And I don’t think he’s alone in this. So many of us worry about the future – the future that we can’t control. He had absolutely no control or no knowledge about when I was going to vacuum – and he spent hours waiting for it to happen, which it never did.

I see so much of myself in this silly cat, and I wonder if you can see yourself in him, too. 

I used to live near San Francisco, and for the first time in my life I was in “earthquake country.” The first tremor happened just a few months after my husband and I moved there. I was home alone, and it felt like someone picked up the house and dropped it. By the time I realized what was happening and ran for cover, it was over. And from that point on, I lived in fear (much like my cat) of when the next one would come. I went up and down the stairs very quickly because I had heard that a stairway isn’t a good place to be when an earthquake happens. It was always in the back of my mind. I constantly worried when “the big one” was coming. We lived there for three years, and I don’t think I ever completely relaxed. While we were there, we experienced about five earthquakes – none that did any damage. Just big enough to shake us up and help me remember that I had absolutely no control over the Earth’s activity.

As you can see, I’m fine. I am alive. I made it through each earthquake. But my emotional state definitely felt under attack the entire time. All of my worrying about what may happen and when it would happen and would I be okay and would my family be safe and would I get through it never came to pass. So I spent three years worrying about something that only happened a few times, and never as bad as I had feared it would.

And it’s so similar to what my cat was doing yesterday. He expended so much energy on what might happen that he wasn’t able to enjoy the present moment. Because his present moment yesterday and my present moment back in California were each pretty darn great. But we missed it because of all of the worrying and fearing and anticipating.

And that’s exactly what worrying does: it robs us of the ability to enjoy the present moment. When we worry, we’re so wrapped up in the future that we forget about the present. 

And usually our worries never come to pass. And even if they do, we’ve spent so much time beforehand thinking about them that we have wasted days and sometimes years when we could have been living and enjoying our lives.

So seeing my cat yesterday cower in his hiding spot was a great reminder for me to stay in the present moment any time I start to veer into the future and worry about what may or may not happen.

Our present moments are usually pretty great, so why not consciously decide to stay there and enjoy them? 

While I can’t promise that my cat will choose this path, I know that I definitely will. And I hope you will, too.




about jodi
Jodi Chapman is a bestselling author, an award-winning blogger, and a soulful community builder. She lives her life with love and faith in the driver’s seat, and she hopes to leave a trail of inspiration wherever she goes. She believes that we each have the ability to hear our soul’s whisper and create our best lives. She would love to connect with you!

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