Tuesday, August 21, 2007

i want to kill that intruder

our older cat olivia knows in her head that our younger cat daffodil is no threat. or, i wish she would. i wish she would get that. we tell her all the time. not only in people language - "olivia, daffodil is a nice cat. you can let her live here. there's nothing to be upset about" - but also in cat language - saying the same thing only with exaggerated ups and downs, in a higher vocal range than normal, softly and reassuringly.
still, olivia pretty much just wants to kill daffodil all the time.
it's better now, a couple of months after we brought daffodil home and introduced another cat into olivia's world. olivia isn't seeking daffodil to intimidate and attack her; she only hisses and swipes a paw at daffodil if daffodil gets too close. or just pisses olivia off.
but we have explained it, so olivia should have figured it out by now, and dealt with her feelings.

okay, is that possible? does a cat have the ability to differentiate logic and rational ideas from instinct and emotional responses to stimuli? can a cat be talked out of what her body tells her?
i'm not sure that a cat's instincts and emotions can be overridden by conversation. i don't know that talk therapy will help a cat. i mean, talking to a cat helps - but it seems to be all in the key words we've taught her ("treat" "livvie" "good kitty" "nice kitty" "no!") or in tone of voice. it's not rational. what really seems to work is getting to her at an emotional/instinctual/experiential level. we spray her with a water spritzer when she's mean to daffodil. she stops.
i'm starting to think there's no getting through to a cat.

i'm starting to wonder whether there's any getting through to a human being, too.
i know there absolutely are moments in which we get insights, see things; a new piece of information just clicks and we realize something. and our life changes.
i'm a teacher and inspirer. if i didn't believe in the possibility of people seeing new things about themselves and changing, i'd quit. but i have seen it, and do see it. all the time.
it sure takes a long time sometimes. and a lot of the time, the idea sounds good in the head but stops somewhere around the nose or the neck or the shoulders and doesn't get down in the balls and the bones and the guts and the arms and legs and hands and feet. and heart.
that's where it has to be different, for anything to change in us.
when we're kids, that's where things hit us. in the magical places. the bones. the fear, the wonder. we see. we hear. we feel. it's all immediate.
and then our brains kick in, and people tell us, "oh, no - that thing you're feeling? it's not real. here's why..."
no wonder i'm so confused sometimes. no wonder it's hard for me to figure out what i'm really feeling, and get the messages in my head out of the way. and then, to feel what i really feel without judging myself or feeling something honest and then jumping back out into my head and an explanation.

how can we change? i think direct experience to re-connect us to our bodies and our bodies' memories is really maybe the only way to reboot some of these systems. and new ideas and insights to help reinforce the new way to be. to act. to see. to do.
that's why at journey i like doing both bible study (mostly rational, ideas, insights) AND worship (a lot of it is non-rational, body, smells and pictures and tastes, letting go of ideas) ... AND service to the poor (ideas and body collide; body won't be silenced - it's right there in front of us) ... AND eating together (just body; good!) ... AND REALLY listening to each other (body and soul all at once).

i just want to do whatever i can, use whatever tool will help, find whatever healthy tools there are, not to tell my instincts to shut up, but to connect to what i'm feeling - and figure out what's true and what's not true. put things out in front of me so i can embrace them and thank them. and then decide. but not deny, and not say, "oh, daffodil's no threat" without saying "i want to kill that fucking intruder!"


DM said...

rick, you did it. you spoke the truth and really got through to me, and i have finally realized, in my bones, how to change people once and for all.

you need to spray them with a water spritzer. bring it to journey this week.

Rick Diamond said...


have water spritzer, will travel and heal.

oh, wait - is that related to baptism?

writeright007 said...

Have you had a self-esteem check up lately?

having suffered from the lack of self esteem for decades your comments remind me of myself before i had therapy to help me develop self esteem and maintain it.
I had therapy 10 years ago. and boy did it ever help me figure things out.
those around me couldn't figure out who was living with them. :) because i really changed my way of thinking.

and their is much more peace and less fear and more ability to think for myself. having learned how to develop my self esteem and maintain it. the lessons of a decade ago still work for me today.

Have you ever thought about having 2 occupations? You have the ability to reach people at journey. but you also have amazing ability to teach creative writing.

and i think teaching creative writing helps ground you as well as it opens doors for so many writers.

i bet their is a class that needs a night school teacher just once a week,there in Austin. boy oh boy their is no teacher better than yourself to explain the whole kit and kaboodle of creative writing. something to think about!

and as far as the cats are concerned. i think you may want to check out a library book on cat behavior.

its all territorial.. and oliva is a scardy cat always has been.

so she's just reacting to a foreign cat making marks on her territory. sometimes they never learn to get along.
they may just need to just be seperated. not so sure about the talking therapy but it sounds so cute and sweet

was your olivia cat born in a house or was she born in the wilds?
it makes a difference as to how they respond to people or other animals.
cats have their own language. the way they look at each other, their fur standing up, and peeing on every thing... this is mine, this is mine.. mine mine mine... all nicely brushed with their neck or peed on with their own signiture smell!

rick your just the best... you don't have to have every little single answer to all of lifes questions. be nice to yourself. be more forgiving.
i don't charge for these sessions. :) but i hope it gives you food for thought.

and by the way.. i like how you teach at journey.. really great subjects and lessons .


Rick Diamond said...

you're the best! thank you for the encouragement! i'm a lucky man. and yes, i'm in therapy and have been for years and it's made a huge difference in my life and in my relationships and in my teaching. plus i have great friends in austin and back in east texas. and a beautiful family. and i've been on a new warrior weekend and i do a men's group that makes me clearer and more powerful every day.
and writing is where i let my inner insecurities out. it helps me just stare at em. so you're getting the whole thing on this blog - which is good for me to let out. don't be too alarmed. :-)

writeright007 said...

i am glad you have a place to just let it out.

but you know me i have always been very protective of you...somewhere down the line we are related... 3rd cousins of a once removed aunt by marriage:):):)
ahhh theirs no chance in hell we are related.

i will not take your rants so serious. and laugh a little more with ya!.. your pretty funny ya know that don't ya?
but i don't promise to stop giving you my lovely hard earned advice. you know thats just me!

Rick Diamond said...

awww WE'RE RELATED ... aint we all god's chirren?