Friday, February 12, 2010

An Old Cat Learning New Tricks

I am currently visiting my friends, the Larsons', in Albert Lea, Minnesota and have had the opportunity to observe an old cat learning new tricks from a new and very active kitten that has recently joined the family.

Cuppy, a nearly sixteen year old feline has been enjoying what would be similar to human retirement for many years. His sedentary life has now changed, however, since a new, extremely energetic and playful kitten, Buddy has been welcomed into the household.

What my friends have noticed is that Cuppy has recently shown some signs of returned youthfulness. For instance, he has rediscovered his courage to investigate surfaces higher than three feet from the ground, rather than staying within the safety of the floor, sofa and chairs.

In addition, a long gone experience of dashing about the house at fast speeds, has now become routine. At first, it only occurred when chased by his much younger step kitten, but now seems to be occurring at random, purely for the joy of it.

The lesson that is becoming very clear to me in watching this old cat learn new tricks is that we are never too old to renew our vitality for life. If we remain open to being inspired by those around us that seem to have no limits or inhibitions, we can expand our capacity for joyful living. When we forget our age and its associated perceived limitations, and remain open to learning new tricks, the joy of life will never end.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Keeping your Spark Plugs Clean

My husband is a part-time motor head. He often speaks in car language and over the past 36+ years of our marriage, I have picked up a few lessons on the art of automobile maintenance. One of those lessons is that you need to run the engine of an otherwise grounded car periodically so you can clean the carbon off the spark plugs. This is important since the spark of the plugs ignites the fuel in the cylinder. From what I understand, that is an important part of the process of an engine running.

On Sunday afternoon, my husband recommended I take my Boxster out for a ride to do some spark plug cleaning. It was a cold, but clear day and there was no salt on the roads to threaten Grace's body (Grace is my car's name), so we took her for a spin to clean some carbon.

As I drove the back roads of our county and the spark plugs let go of their carbon build up, I was seeing the connection between spark plugs and the human spirit. What struck me was just as when a car is not used at its full potential and performance, carbon builds as compared to a human's spirit becoming laden with worry and fears if it does not experience a cleaning through some sort of joyful activity.

Unlike automobiles, our spirits have more choices in ways to keep our spark burning. We can do it by actively engaging in some activity like a sport or game. We can also accomplish the task by being quietly present in the moment. We can meditate, journal, laugh, blog or talk with a friend. We can read, cook, sew, knit or play music. We can take a bath, play with a child, or love the work we happen to be doing. There's an endless list of spark plug cleaning short, it would be whatever makes you feel good. As long as you feel good, I believe you are keeping your spark plugs in tip top shape so they can ignite the fuel of your spirit that keeps you running through life like a top.

Seems easy enough to do, right? That is as long as we are aware of how our lives are running. If we accept sluggishness or struggle as normal, perhaps we wouldn't realize our spark plugs need cleaning.

If we want to be living at a high performance level, then regular maintenance checks for the spirit would be in order. I plan on having my spark plugs cleaned about you?