In the morning when I come downstairs I let our cats, Wednesday and Berty, out of their room as I get ready to feed them. Rather than risk chronic back and shoulder problems, something we struggled with after letting Poupon sleep in our bed, we’ve done things differently with these two. Our new kids spend the night together downstairs and during the day they have the run of the house.
When I opened the door to their room this morning, I discovered that sometime during the night Berty and Wednesday had a catnip party. Having ripped apart two large toys filled with the stash, there was dried mint everywhere – in their food and water bowls, spread throughout their litter boxes, covering their beds, and all over their cat tree.
What a disaster, I thought to myself. This is the last thing I want to deal with first thing in the morning. It’s going to take forever to clean this up!
As I continued moaning on my way to get the vacuum and a mop, I remembered something I’ve heard Michael Singer say over and over again during his online talks: “If you can’t handle the low-hanging fruit – the small problems in life – how will you ever handle the big ones?”
Catnip catastrophe is a small problem. So is rainy weather, heavy traffic, or long waits in line at the post office. Big problems are loved ones who get sick, losing a job, shuttering a business, and the climate crisis. Tackling these challenges requires patience, a clear head, compassion, and the emotional maturity to reel ourselves back in when we get triggered so we don’t make more of a mess.
It’s easy to feel anxious, weary, and helpless these days. After all, there’s so much craziness going on. I want to use the small disturbances of life to train myself to be a more mature and helpful human being. So, rainy day when I planned on going to the beach? Bring it on – I got this. Last-minute meeting changes that screw up my whole day? Easy-peasy. I’ll have more time to breathe. Catnip crisis? Come on. It’s better than a sitcom, really. I can only imagine the fun these two rascals had while I was sound asleep!
The next time you’re about to lose it over something small, please save yourself for the big stuff. Don’t deny your feelings, of course, just don’t be hijacked by them. Remember the catnip caper and its wisdom: Your ability to handle the small stuff, sweetheart, will only make handling the big stuff easier.