Ada, a relationship lesson
Here’s Ada, the 18 years old cat who taught me about what makes loving relationships fail.
Ada approaches me with curiosity and caution. I reached out slowly giving her my hand for her to sniff. She gets closer touching it with her head. I take it as permission to rub her gently. She stays briefly, but leaves, turning back to check on me, as if to see if I’m still engaged. I assure her I’m still here by handing my hand out again. She explored the other humans present and comes back to me, we go over the dance again. I talk to her, she looks away as if saying; “im not interested in discussing what is obviously my decision”. I signal that I accept her terms and show her my hands inviting to hold her (as she can’t jump on my lap), I lay her on me. She looks me in the eyes and starts purring as I pet her. She rests her head on my hand falling asleep. My legs get numb but I do not move, I don’t want to risk anything to wake her up and see her go. Of course she does eventually. Everything has an end.
The other side of this interaction, there’s me, at first I’m just being me. I’m just enjoying the moment, the interaction, respecting what I know of cats and Ada, attentive and aware. that in the years I’ve known her, she has never sat on my lap. She had come close and interacted, played and called for my attention, she walked on me and teased me with her tail, she bumped her head on me, and rubbed herself on my legs, she sat next to me but never stayed too long. So, in my mind, thoughts start running, wanting to give it a meaning. Why now, what’s different abut me or her? Beliefs saying cats can tell good people from not so good… My past experiences, my first cat, other pets, my sense of self, everything is present. I feel her purring and I’m grateful to be receiving it, it fells good, recharging and totally accepting of my existence. This connection invites me to remember what it is like to feel connected. This sensation it what drive the desire to make this moment last. I want to know the secret to make it happen again… Here is where I stop being present. When I want to make it something besides what it is here and now. The tyranny of the illusion of permanence destroys everything.
We were not taught to be present, (in relationships nor in life), to be ourselves and in our power. We start working for this third entity, the relationship. Under unrealistic expectations we want to reproduce what and how we feel. It becomes the thing to have, a competition, a goal, an identity of who we are. As if this relationship could give us meaning. We work hard to make it happen, we dream of seeing it thrive and our emotions get caught up like fish tangled in tight fishing nets. In the process we forget who we are, what we are made of, what we truly believe and why we are here in the first place. We stop seeing the other as the other and even worst we seem to forget the other’s true nature as well. This is the number one reason loving relationships don’t work. We check out!