by Melinda Gates
As her caretaker, I did not expect that she would end up taking such profound care of me. But her gifts eclipsed even the absolute love I had for her. Her most elegant dying has become a blueprint for my living. At the end, this precious thread of spirit who had woven her way through my life shed her inhibitions and stepped out of her fears.
For 17 years her deep presence was a portal to the world beyond this one. We communicated through stillness and silence in a heart-to-heart language that blurred boundaries of time and space and made real the cliché that all is one; as I looked into her eyes, I felt myself looking back.
She was Sai, a velvety grey, green-eyed cat who snuggled inside my coat one cold February afternoon and made me a mother for the first time. Friends and family questioned the existence of this elusive creature, seen only in photographs. For much of her life she stayed hidden to all but me, living under beds, behind furniture, in closets.
But what had been a refuge for Sai eventually became her prison. It has happened to me. Has it happened to you? Are there places where comfort has become confining?
One night, near the end of her life, Sai simply stood up and walked down the stairs, something she hadn’t done in more than seven years.
She proceeded to explore scents and scenes with kittenish passion. She camped outside the refrigerator; though skeletal and frail, now she hungered. I fed her cheese, chicken and turkey, and she ate with abandon.
She smelled fresh air and felt grass under her paws for the first time. She made her nest in front of the picture window where our chickens came to visit. By most people’s standards, she had lived a small life. Her comfort zone was rather limited, even for a cat.
But within her quiet nature and beyond her timidity was a large and soaring presence. True to her species, she lived exactly as she wanted. I learned from this. She helped me love and value my own preference for solitude and soul-to-soul interactions and embrace my comfort in the nonphysical realms. This allowing set me free.
But, focus on one thing to the exclusion of another creates imbalance, and as my inner world became rich and expansive, my outer world grew poor and constrained.
We are all bound, to some extent, by our natural yearnings and leanings. Honoring these intrinsic parts of ourselves is essential to our well-being, as Sai demonstrated and helped teach me.
But if we’re not careful, we can build walls around our identities, get lost behind our defenses and allow fear to keep us from expanding into all we could be. Sai knew she was dying, and I am convinced she somehow recognized the absurdity of letting fear limit her experience.
So she sought balance at the end. My girl simply walked down the stairs and came down to earth. Her spirit still soared, but it was a spirit well fed and enlarged by her deeper presence in this beautiful world, which she viewed from the spot by the window, where she died.
Melinda Gates is the owner of Awakening to Yes Bodywork, Coaching, Counseling and Physical Healing in San Antonio. Her passion is helping people move from struggle to freedom, one conscious choice at a time. She has been a Rosen Method Bodywork™ practitioner since 1998. For information, email MelindaGates@awakeningtoyes.com or visit www.awakeningtoyes.com.