A few weeks ago I was in a neighbor's apartment with Wally cursing myself for agreeing to feed this neighbor's cat on a weekend that was already so busy (remember The Busy Trap! more on that later). It wasn't just a matter of feeding the cat, I found out after agreeing to do it, but giving it two kinds of medicine as well. The second kind was easy because you just open a capsule and dump it out abut the first kind you had to hide two little pills in just a tiny bit of food in and stay there to make sure the cat got the pills down before you proceeded with the rest of the can. And this Saturday morning with the sun streaming in to this neighbor's apartment I didn't have time for this cat to come out from wherever she was hiding and pick through the food and probably spit out the pill so that I'd have to "disguise" it and try again and wait again. It was taking longer than just something to cross off the list and finally I just sort of stopped resisting the moment and stopped looking for the cat or calling for the cat and instead led Wally into the livingroom where we picked out Everyday Tao by Den Ming-Dao and sat down on the couch and started reading it. Sure enough when we left our vigil the cat came out of hiding, but somehow I feel like you really have to do it not with the intention of "tricking" the cat (or the universe) into thinking you're just happily sitting on the couch not anxiously waiting but really truly giving in and sort of ceding control and actually sitting happily on the couch, not anxious waiting or willing anything to happen. But I suppose that was not a controlled experiment, and I can't be sure.
While the cat ate I copied down a few notes that I really liked.
"The most important thing they (parents) can do is simply to be present. It is not a matter of quality time. It is simply a matter of time. The best thing you can do is just to be there as often and as long as possible."
"Finish what you start."
"To write is a sacred act."
"We should only regret when we do not live our lives fully and in a way that is most true to ourselves."
And on the back of the page with the notes Wally drew a star with a blue marker.