The state of Mushin

The mind must always be in the state of ‘flowing,’ for when it stops anywhere that means the flow is interrupted and it is this interruption that is injurious to the well-being of the mind. In the case of the swordsman, it means death !”

Zen master Takuan Sōhō

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A few weeks ago I was observing Gibbs, one of our cats. He had spotted a mouse in our garden. Immediately he went into primal mode, his instincts took over ! He was crouching towards it, ready to attack ! After a few seconds he jumped right on top of it and tried to squeeze it with his front paws and then let it go again.

The mouse hid in the long grass and was searching for a save way to escape out of the claws of his vicious attacker ! Its movements however attracted Gibbs’ attention and he was determined to catch it.

As the mouse’s path eventually lead to an ungrown spot in the garden, it found itself face to face with our cat. I was curious…Would it freeze or would it attempt to run away ?

To my amazement the little one all of sudden started jumping around, moving towards the cat, kung fu like, aiming for the cat’s legs, even biting them several times. Gibbs was caught by surprise too !

This tiny animal although confronted with a giant opponent didn’t flee or freeze in fear. What a fierce fellow ! Where did this power and courage come from ?

The ancient tale “the mysterious technique of the cat” crossed my mind, it described exactly what kind of mouse Gibbs was dealing with. Apparently this mouse was in a state of mushin !

“When a rat is cornered it forgets life, forgets desires, forgets winning and losing, forgets safety – it is in a state of ‘mushin’. How to defeat such an opponent with only force?”

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After a while the mouse managed to dive into a large pile of chopped wood. Gibbs was defeated !

Sunday morning Gibbs started to show some weird behaviour, he was sitting in front of a closet in our livingroom, his ears were moving like crazy and he regularly put his head underneath the closet.

I thought he lost one of his toys, so I scanned the whole area for something that could resemble a toy : a rubber, a paper, a pen, but there wasn’t anything to be found. “There’s nothing in here Gibbs”, I told him. He looked at me as if I just told him a big fat lie ! “Yeah right mom !”

So he continued to stare at this spot, in meantime James and Lulu joined the scenery. Whatever was there, the cats had already planned an ambush in case it would make an appearance.

We decided to move the closet a bit, maybe there was something trapped behind it. Suddenly a mouse ran away, but it wasn’t prepared for Gibbs’ hunting skills, in no time he had the animal in his mouth and luckily for us he ran outside to play with it.

This time my partner decided to watch the cat and mouse game that was about to start, and he commented the game, telling us that the mouse wouldn’t have the slightest chance against Gibbs. But then he yelled : “What the f*ck ! That mouse knows kung fu ! The little one is attacking !”

“Mushin mouse is back !” I screamed. I admit I had developed some kind of compassion for this underdog. My partner already rolled his eyes and gave me that look : “Don’t you dare !”  “Dare what ?” “Well catch it and put in a box, I know what you’re planning to do. Let nature decide” he said. 

After half an hour of hide and seek, Gibbs just got tired of this tiny lunatic and aborted his mission, the white flag was up ! Even our other cats didn’t show any interest at all to catch it.

Our domestic cats became lazy as the hunt isn’t necessary anymore for survival, they just like to play with their victims and give you their prey as a gift, dead or alive ! But the moment it asks too much of their effort and energy, they simply give up ! A cat will never tire itself on purpose ! “Mission impossible ? Let’s go back to sleep…”

What I secretly hoped for came true, mini Bruce Lee again survived his endeavour. I wonder what will happen next time when it shows up !

So if you find yourself face to face with a giant opponent or something that seems impossible to defeat…

Remember this story and remind yourself to be mushin my friends ! Be mushin !

                bruce_lee

Phuro! Be inspired!

 

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Multiplying the fish

I guess everyone is familiar with the law of attraction. Maybe you already watched more than one hundred Abraham Hicks movies to get in the right vibration…Perhaps you still wonder why it doesn’t work for you ! You can’t even manifest a tenth of what you truly desire.

My suggestion to you is to observe children, as I found out that they understand the workings of the law quite naturally. I will give you a personal example ! It all happened a few days ago, on my son’s birthday. Let’s rewind…

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Keith : “Mom, Tibo (our neighbour) wants to buy a goldfish for my birthday.”

Me : “Why ?”

Keith : “Because it is a cheap present mom.”

Me :  “Has he forgotten we have 7 cats, they’re not exactely friends with fish…”

Keith just innocently raises his shoulders as an answer…

(LOA explanation : He clearly stated his desire and he didn’t give any meaning to opposing forces….the opposing force that’s me I presume….)

An hour later :

Keith : “Mom can I go to the garden center with the boys ?”

Me : Yes, son no problem.

Keith : “Thanks mom ! Oh by the way mom, WHAT IF Tibo really buys that goldfish ?”

Me : (Sigh..) “I guess we’ll just have to prepare it a nice spot, isn’t it ?”

Honestly I didn’t want the same scenario as 8 years ago when our Indian neighbours bought him a guinae pig for his birthday. Back then we thought they were joking ! We had to rush to the petstore to buy a cage, some toys and food !

Speedy still has a happy life with us, his closest experience with winter is spending the night inside with a heater next to his cage. In human terms that’s like celebrating Christmas on Bondi beach !

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So this time I was going to be prepared ! While they went away I quickly decided to get the old tank out of the basement. I immediately cleaned it and put fresh water in it. Just in case…

On arrival my son came in empty handed !

Me : “Well where’s your fish ?

Keith :”He didn’t buy it…, maybe tomorrow…

Me : “But I already installed the fish tank !”

Keith : “Are you serious mom ?”

(LOA explanation : Allthough he was prepared to receive, he didn’t put any expectation on it. It came or it didn’t…Guess who was the silly one ? Yep, mom !)

On the second day the fish tank was still empty, friends who came to visit us immediately spotted the tank in our living room and went looking…

“Hey how nice, you got a fish ! Wait a minute…Where is it ? I can’t see it… ?”

Me : “That’s because it’s an invisible one….”

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(LOA explanation : On day two my son already had help from me in sustaining his vision and in denying his current reality. We didn’t conform to outside appearances…)

On day three the three musketeers (my son and the two neighbour boys) arrived with a large bag filled with water ! On closer look I saw that the fish already had multiplied, there were three of them instead of the promised one !

(LOA explanation : He must have been very confident about his fine tuning as he even got more than he wanted !)

In meantime Silver, Black Eye and Jack are doing great…Oh and the cats….They enjoy their new television, it’s always on the food channel !

May the force or law be with you…always !

Phuro! Be inspired!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masters in manipulation…

I admit my cats are spoiled ! They are treated like royalty and are given the best high quality food you can imagine, cutting my budget seriously when you know I have seven exigent pieces running in the house…

Not to mention the horrible moment I run out of food on sunday and that I’m obliged to buy a cheap product in the local foodstore which they literally hate and despise !

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It starts the moment I want to refill their foodbowl or when they spot the box or bag of food I am carrying. “Oh nooo…Not that filthy taste again !!”

Then they all plot together : Gibbs, the leader of the mission (I shouldn’t have watched that much NCIS) is once again ruling and giving orders : “Keep going guys, keep asking her the good stuff, come on ! Keep interrogating her until she succumbs, she has to ! Semper Fi !”

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They all have different manners to beg for food. Louise tries to hypnotize me, statue like, only her eyes move with every move I make…Modjo makes watching television or reading subtitles impossible !

James makes any of my actions futile  : He tries to make me stumble or jumps on my shoulders…He claims the computer or starts grooming himself in front of or on any device I urgently need…

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Bolleke quietly begs for food while Lulu makes a penetrating noise as if I have been ignoring her for weeks.

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Sweetheart and Gibbs are the firestarters ! They feel so frustrated when their needs aren’t properly met that they start bullying each other, hissing and howling, chasing each other, causing havoc in the house.

Stalking, staring, yowling, ambushing, swatting and preventing acces to several places…All methods are legit !

They made their point and I am defeated. In the end they always get their way. They know how weak I am when it comes to cats…

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I also feed a stray cat (one who has been abandoned by her family) and she is very clever too, she notices the difference in food aswell.

Two weeks ago a cat had been hit by a car in our street. The driver didn’t stop and several cars had to avoid the dead body on the road.

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It was a beautiful grey long haired cat, like the one in the picture above. We decided to move the body to a save place. The closest spot possible was our neighbour’s front garden.

No one in our neighbourhood knew who the owners were, so a few days later – the body was already covered with snow  – I decided to bury her in my garden, just in front of my angel statues. I felt relieved because I gave the animal a proper funeral. I felt “she” could finally rest in peace !

I went to my front door a couple of minutes later to feed our regular stray cat, only to find a new stranger standing in front of me, all dirty and hungry….

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Well, here we go again…I guess I’m registered as human servant in the spirit world of cats…

Phuro! Be inspired!

Blogging is challenging !

Yes, blogging is challenging ! Not because of the lack of inspiration, there’s plenty of that ! I am often inspired by daily life, the ponderings of my mind or the many inspirational reads from fellow bloggers !

The challenging part is the disturbance around me, just when I am in the middle of my “writer’s trance” !

Challenge n°1 is a teenager and soccer player, constantly craving for food. “Mom, what are we eating ?” “Mom, I am hungry, can you prepare me a snack ?”

“Just a minute son !”

“Mom ?”

“Bear with me son !”

Half an hour later he’s obliged to ask the same questions again, making me feel a distracted mother neglecting my child’s primal needs…I stumble to the kitchen…

Challenge n°2 are other beings in the house who use other, advanced methods of attracting my attention when they are hungry…Cats !

Although James looks an innocent and devoted cat, he’s very convincing and stubborn but predictable in his actions ! He often seems a child throwing up a tantrum. When he’s in hungry mode I have to watch every step I take, he always aims at my legs, preventing me from going out of the kitchen !

Or he violently jumps on the table, unable to control his landing ! He lost his sense of equilibrium, after his tail got amputated (due to an injury). Now he has no brakes at all and my laptop usually means “bulls eye” !

Complete mindfulness in seconds ! (Try that yourself !) He drops unconscious on my keyboard ! Playing dead !

What follows seems to be a discussion between my puberal son and me !

“James, get off my computer !” “No mom !”

“James, mom needs to work !” “Who cares mom !”

“James, I am going to pick you up !” “Not funny, mom !”

There is only one way to get rid of him : pushing him gently by his butt off the computer, shoving him to the left of my keyboard.

One moment of distraction, a sip from my cup of coffee is enough to get him plotting  against me again ! There’s his head back on my keyboard, followed by his paws, all stretched out, ready to take a nap!

His favorite occupations on my laptop : asking help from windows, putting on his favorite music on Foobar or complete shutdown !

I once thought I was hallucinating when I found my screen completely turned upside down. (You can press and hold the Ctrl and Alt keys while pressing left, right, up, down to rotate the screen in a different direction, little did I know !) Allthough it inspired me to use upon my colleagues on april fools’ day !

My fingers are barely allowed to touch the mouse. In my cats’ attempts to draw my hand off it, they often start writing their own language : 54ùopùm4l4i48ù or µµµµµµµµµµµµµµ

If you happen to read a message like this, I was probably hijacked by one of the cats who prevented me from blogging ! Here is the proof !

 

 

Phuro! Be inspired!

Life with cats

I can’t imagine life without cats. I got my first one when I was only three years old. It was a black female named “Pussy”. She was my comfort in times of need and I told her all my secrets when I was a child. She left this earthly plane when I was 23 years old.

When I was married I got a call from a friend who found a dumped kitten close to her house. Her dogs were too agressive towards her so she asked me if I would be interested in giving her a nice home. I agreed immediately.

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Years later (and me already divorced), she was very distressed and jealous when she met my boyfriend. While he was sleeping on the couch or was lying next to me in bed, she would strike him on purpose, without my notice ! Useless to say she was worth her name of a vampire slayer ! Even though Buffy stayed small as an adult, she definitely was the terror in town for other cats !

Diva was the second kitten we adopted. She was the one with an attitude ! She was really bossy and she could throw up a tantrum when she didn’t get what she wanted ! But she was very attentive whenever someone felt sick, she would come sitting on our laps and comfort us. She loved giving eskimo kisses too.

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She always came home with presents in the form of leaves, whenever she came in the house, loudly meowing we knew she found a new one. My son collected them all in a shoe box !

Diva gave birth to two lovely kittens june 2011 : Minouche and Modjo (M&M !). They were so adorable that we decided to keep them. Buffy had already passed away. So there we were with three cats in the house.

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We were about to neuter her shortly after she gave birth, only to found out it was too late, she was pregnant again ! She had a huge belly this time and we were all curious how many kittens she was carrying.

She gave birth to these kittens at her usual place, a tiny dark spot under our staircase. Luckily we were all at home when she was in labour.

The kittens came very fast : one…two…number three… a fourth one…and finally a fifth one !

Then my son shouted : “Mom there’s another one !” I thought he was joking ! But there was number six. I felt I was going to faint ! We suddenly had 9 cats in our house !

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When we saw she gave birth to three ginger cats…we immediately had a suspicion who the father could be. We live next to a garden center, where a male ginger greets the clients, sitting on the counter next to the cashier. Everytime I enter the store to buy plants I say hello to “dad” now 🙂

The only male of the three gingers was adopted and went living with my ex-husband, my son was still able to see him in the weekends and named him Garfield. The two ginger female sisters Lulu and Bolleke who stayed home, became inseperatable.

We neutered all cats this time ! We were too anxious to give them up for adoption so we again decided to keep them, one big happy family together !

Sadly enough Diva and Minouche dissapeared, never to come back again, leaving us all devastated, wondering what happened.

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I let the other seven introduce themselves :

Bolleke : “I think I am a dog. I studied the dog’s manners very well so I can apply the same techniques as him to get some extra food. I am an expert in begging and I can annoy everyone when they are eating. I like to stay close to my mom. When I had to undergo surgery and was recovering at home, she slept on the floor next to my bench for two weeks !”

Lulu : “I can talk human very well and I use my voice whenever I need something from my humans. When my humans start petting me, I look like a dj scratching records !”

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Gibbs. “I am the boss of the cat family and the wife’s guardian. Everything goes according to my rules. I don’t allow any strange human male next to my human mom. They need my approval ! I am fascinated by flames and I can watch them for hours. I need my drinks on tap !”

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James : “I am the favorite of Keith, my human brother who I consider my boss. Named after 007,  I am as adventurous as James Bond. I got lost for three weeks during my boss’s exams and got the whole family freaked out. The local police department even spread my missing message on Facebook and my human mom asked help from a shaman in the United States to get me back out of “primal mode” so I could return home safely. I managed to return to my boss’ s bedroom, badly injured (my humans don’t know what caused it). The vet had to amputate my tail and I still have difficulities walking but I am happy to be home again !

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Louise : “I am the last born of six and I was the smallest of the litter. Sometimes I feel an outcast because Gibbs doesn’t like my presence and chases me away. He gets grounded every time my human parents see it happening. I love my human mom very much because she gives me a lot of attention. She calls me “my sweet Louise.” I am the one responsable for giving her “feline paralysis”. I look very much like my birth mom Diva.

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Modjo : “I know I am the only chubby one of the family. I like to withdraw to quiet places to rest and to take long naps, but once I appear you can’t ignore my demands for attention. I love receiving hugs !”

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Hartemie (Sweetheart) : “I was living on the streets for weeks and I was obliged to beg for food. A nice lady with curly hairs brought me some food now and then, but I couldn’t stay home with her. I knew that particular sunny sunday would be my lucky day, I could sense it ! She was having a housewarming party and her niece was there too. After the niece met me and heard my story, she was very touched and emotional and at the end of the evening she decided to take me to my forever home ! She says that I was God sent and that leaving me on the streets would have her heartbroken. The other cats have accepted me as one of theirs. My name is Sweetheart because I have a spot in the form of a heart on my nose. My mom says I am very clever and sweet !

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.”

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Phuro! Be inspired!