What to do with a string up your butt?
Today I woke up to a cat with a string hanging out of her butt. My first inclination was to be amused about this situation. After all it seems pretty comical, but then I started looking online and quickly realized that cat’s eating string can be a very serious medical condition. Apparently one end of the string can get caught on something and cause all sorts of problem for the cat.
Which left me with a dilemma do I practice acceptance and wait out this linear intruder or do I take my cat to the vet and practice acceptance with the vet bill that will ensue?
You see this is where the practice of mindfulness get’s tricky. With certain things, the practice seems obvious. If my bus is late, I practice acceptance of the bus being late.
But in other cases the correct mindful action isn’t so clear. And when these complex situations arise, it becomes harder to know the right path forward. But there is one practice I’ve found helpful again and again when I’m not sure what to do.
Letting Go of Certainty –
Soon after I confronted the medical issue with my furry friend I realized that what I was longing for was certainty. I either wanted to know that I should definitely take my cat the vet because it would save her life (money be damned!) Or that I should wait it out, because all this vet business was over reacting.
But the truth is there is no right answer. Sure tomorrow there will seem to be a right answer but today the future is as uncertain and unpredictable as everything else.
So I have two choices: I can worry and fret over this choice. Or I can accept the uncertainty and do the best job I can. And while the 2nd choice is the more mindful one it’s also the harder to make. The reason is that our brains are designed to recognize patterns so that we can live a long time and protect the things we love. It evolved to be this way to help us hunt better and avoid predators.
But unlike our ancient ancestors the modern world is extremely complex and we simply aren’t able to predict what might happen. Alas our mind doesn’t realize this and tries as hard as it can to find a solution. This is this feeling of discomfort we confront when we face an unclear choice. And the trick is to face this with the same level of mindfulness as anything else.
We notice the discomfort, we acknowledge our desire for certainty, and then we do our best to let it go. Don’t let your pattern obsessed mind get the best of you. There is no right choice, because there is no future yet. There is only now, so breathe and step forward knowing that good intentions are all you can carry with you.