One morning last month I was waking up slowly – a weekend luxury. All of a sudden my cat, Callisto (“Calli”), tore past me and up the stairs. She ran into several bedrooms, then at the same break-neck speed came roaring down the stairs, into the kitchen and down to the basement.
On her second pass I saw that her innate curiosity had resulted in a handled paper shopping bag slipping over her head so that when she jumped off the table, the noisy paper bag “followed” her. The faster and harder she ran, the more noise this paper bag made. While it was quite funny to watch, I knew she was terrified.
I followed her to the basement where she had wedged herself behind a box in the back of the storage area with no interest in coming out. I found scissors and removed the offending paper bag and tried to coax her out, but it took a little bit. She was not entirely convinced that the “bad guy” chasing her was truly gone.
After I rescued and soothed her, I thought about the incident. How often do we assume things in our lives are “bad guys”, chasing us with the intent to do harm? How many times do we hide in a dark corner, believing that we are safe just because the noise behind us has stopped?
Calli’s reaction to the harmless paper bag was a great life lesson. Too many times we allow ourselves to be terrified by things we interpret as doom and gloom, when in fact they are as harmless as a paper shopping bag. Who can we count on to reach behind the box and rescue us?
The answer to that question was in our bathroom mirrors this morning. We need to develop the ability to rescue ourselves. All I did for Calli was remove the noisy paper bag. All she had to do was relax so I could slip it easily off of her head.
When we find ourselves reacting wildly to something in a negative way, we need to stop and calm our minds from the runaway thoughts that are taking over so we can think clearly about the situation or circumstance.
In the light of clear thinking we will see that it’s not the end of the world; we are not being chased to our doom, and we need only to relax so we can slip out of the paper bag to stop the noise and return to peace and quiet.
Perception is everything. How we view each situation in our lives is a major determinant in how it will play out for us.
The next time things at work (or in life) start to look bad, remember the story of Callisto the cat. Even if it’s noisy, scary, and APPEARS to be chasing you with malevolent intent…it’s probably only as harmless as a paper shopping bag.
We can handle almost anything that comes our way if we slow down, quiet our minds; identify what is “chasing” us and deal with it in the light of what it REALLY is, not what we’re afraid it might be. And so It is.
(originally posted on LinkedIn by the author)