Today, November 4th, 2009, is one year exactly our cat Uma returned home after a six week vacation as I like to call it. However, it was not exactly a vacation, for her or us. Or, probably the neighbors I hammered to look for her and put out food and water. Luckily, the neighborhood was beyond open-hearted and receptive to her displacement.
I remember the day exactly... it was around 6pm, getting dark, and Uma was out front by my car. She stared me right in the eyes and took off in a bolt. Like, she had a mission. I felt really strange for about an hour. I had gone out for a walk and at the end starting running, actually sprinting like I had to go home. My husband was in charge of looking after Uma when I had left the house. Our cats take random breaks outside to enjoy nature but are house cats. They were never left alone to go out overnight. I knew as soon as I got in the driveway she was gone. That look, it was all too affirming that this day was an auspicious one. And, Mercury had just gone into retrograde. Call it what you will, but check out when it does and you will see that all mechanical devices go ape-shit and you feel like you entered the Twilight Zone. Proceed with caution at this time.
I entered our house, where Uma's sister of the same liter, Abby, was lurking around the door. Of course, she knew the story, but alas, could not say, "hey Uma went on an adventure hunting chipmunks and will see you in six weeks." Or better yet, is trapped in a basement up the street, which we believe was the case. I had a lot of tension with my husband for not trying to look for her right away the minute I left but knew it was not his fault. And, he actually thought, after we talked, she was in the house. It is easy to jump the gun. Still, the rajas as we say in yoga, the irritation, hyper energy and heightened action moving through me was overwhelming. I wanted to lock him out of the house. Interesting what past karmas show up at times of vulnerability. Meaning, my mother always blamed my father for everything and here I was blaming my husband. I knew in the moment I was having a breakthrough that my feelings were all just an illusion, a past learned behavior and they had to be rectified. Thank you, Uma, for that lesson. It was not like I was walking around blaming my husband for things but I was looking for a body of energy to dump my lost cat anger and sadly, that was him. Watch your thoughts and actions. Rule number one of this long story.
I went out right away looking for Uma. I walked for hours through the rain, crying, almost throwing up, feeling like I actually wanted to scream so loud she would hear me. It hurt more than anything I had ever gone through in life so far. I have never been pregnant and given birth and this cat felt like a huge piece of me. The closest I had ever felt to this mental pain was accepting my mother's downward spiral into homelessness. Another story and too much information right now about me. But, what the hell, I have always been a straight shooter and find interest in people's journeys through life with challenges and how they overcome with honesty and integrity. Thank you mom for helping me find my strength in life through perseverance. I hope you find yours again. Uma certainly found hers by finding us 6 weeks later.
A lot happened over six weeks, as you could imagine. There were spottings of Uma, phone calls, and out pours of support. I actually called Find Toto, a lost pet service, and had them call 1000 people within a 10 mile radius of our house to leave contact info about Uma and go online to see her picture. I did everything. I hired two animal communicators and sat in deep meditation until I could accept she might be gone. Hoping secretly she would reincarnate as my child if I ever had one.
During my searches, everyday, at all hours, I wept in the woods watching bluebirds circle above me, scared people as I lurked in their yards looking like a crazy burglar, called her name everywhere, dropped catnip all over the neighborhood, and left water and food at various points. I would shake in realization that perhaps this separation was preparing me for my mom's death soon as she was and still is not well.
There were days, weeks, and soon a month where I just sat in silence with Uma's picture surrounded by candles and visualized her finding us again. At one point I finally let go. I said, if she is gone, she is in peace and I need to move on. It was really hard. Really f-ing hard. Attachment is one of the Yamas, rules or observances, in yoga science. Also, referred to as Aparigraha or non-possessiveness. If you are attached to people and material things you will suffer greatly. They all eventually go, disappear, and what then do you have left? We must embrace what we have in our life at all times. As my teacher, Dharma Mittra says, "be ready for a blackout." We take so much for granted, our family, animal friends, and especially the environment. If you are so unbelievably thankful always, resting the heart on the divine nature within you an all around you, you will have some peace throughout the hard times. You will see the mind and how it traps us in the illusion we are alone, wrecked, poor, rich, depressed, fat, tired, and even happy. Always be neutral, not attached to this or that. Enjoy the material plane, your car, your house, but realize it can go. None of this should be depressing but should be helpful in the goal of self realization or even partial self realization. The ultimate goal of yoga.
Uma returned after six weeks. Six weeks of the hardest tapas (yogic austerities) I have ever gone through in my life. She returned the day Mercury went out of retrograde. The day I drove home from CT after seeing my family, and spending Halloween weekend in NYC dressed up like a cat. The day I sat on my back porch when I got home finally from NYC and smiled contently sitting in a lawn chair waiting patiently for her. A day when I trusted my intuition and looked at her sister perch herself at my feet in the kitchen and give me a sign everything was okay. I walked outside at that very moment to find my beloved cat on the front steps. I carried her in the house, laid on my office floor with her resting on my face, all emaciated 6 pounds of her, and just thanked the universe for her being here now. She lost half her body weight. I lost half of my attachments.
She returned to health after a week and is still here with us now. But, I always, when I look at her, know someday she will be gone, and that every moment with her, my husband, friends and family, are the greatest gifts I can ever embrace in life. Always, always, be thinking positive thoughts. Every thought lands where it is intended and will in effect have a reaction. You are what you believe.
~ OM ~