Trusting life can yield surprising results…
If you’ve been following my Italian adventures on this blog, you may have read my post “Courage, and building a new life” in which the challenging circumstances surrounding the birth of three feral kitten taught me about moving ahead in the face of uncertainty. When I last wrote, Micia finally had started producing milk and the two surviving kittens looked as though they had a fighting chance. This was almost two months ago, and I’m happy to report that they are thriving, and frolicking about in our little neighborhood. I named the kitten with the strong black and grey markings “Fonzie”. His little sister is still awaiting her name. You see, until a more careful examination recently, we didn’t realize she was a female. I’m particularly attached to her since I remember when I was huddled up with the newborns, warming them individually in my cupped hands. She was the one who wrapped her tiny paws around my forefinger, and started nibbling on the tip of my finger. She encouraged me to keep going, and she was the one who helped me understand that it wasn’t an inability to feed – it was Micia’s initial inability to produce milk.
These kittens, as well as our dear indoor cat children, Oscar and Francesca, are constant gifts leading me back to the present moment, and away from obsessing about the future. This morning, as I was sitting on the steps watching these two youngsters, I marveled at just how dramatically my life has changed, and how it continues to lead me to shed attachments to old ideas, old identities, and old conditioning. When I made the move to Italy I knew there would be a self-reckoning of sorts. In my former life I had been swept up in a great job, a fairly busy social schedule, and it had been easy to keep myself occupied or “distracted” from really being aware of the kind of relationship I had with myself. In retrospect, I believe by making this major life change I was asking the universe to hit the reset button.
I have been an achiever all my life (confirmed by a test administered at my former job). My mom helped pave the way for the super-achiever in me by demonstrating all the wonderful things that can happen when you embrace life with your full energy and passions. However, I’ve realized, somewhere along the way I became a little over-zealous in banking on the sheer force of my will to make things happen. Hard work is indeed essential to realizing dreams, as is having a plan. But, I am now convinced the magical final ingredient is letting go and being unattached to the outcome.
This has been a major breakthrough since my typically over-active mind has had very distinct ideas about how things are supposed to happen. Usually, when things take a different course than what the screenwriter in my head clearly has delineated, I feel angst, and the mental gyrations ensue – often to an exhausting excess. I can be pretty stubborn when life has other plans for me.
Italy has been delicious medicine for me as I’m learning the importance of slowing down and simplifying. In terms of letting go, the less-tasty medicine has come disguised as the many logistics involved in making the move and living here long-term. Italy is a country of ambiguities, seemingly endless red-tape, and constant change. What a great classroom for learning to let go of the need to control everything, and for learning that complaining and obsessing are the least helpful responses.
When life presents me with uncertainty and when I cannot rely on my limited and conditioned thinking mind, I will remind myself of the birth of the feral kittens, and how something kept me moving forward, in spite of an acute sense of fear. I’m grateful to have had some small measure of faith, and a willingness to let go of my attachments to a particular outcome.
Letting go and trusting life is new territory for me. When I am able to lean into living in this way, the world feels more expansive and full of possibilities.