It’s officially Spring because one of our cats killed her first robin of the year.
She presented it perfectly on the doorstep for me last night, her offering in return for a warm winter nest. When I tossed the corpse in the woods, it reappeared on the front deck this morning. My Coco could not be more proud of her work!
I used to feel really bad about the birds. I used to run out of the house yelling when I’d see one of the cats stalking. I’d give my all to rescue a chipmunk that was being executed slowly (but playfully!).
So yeah, my cats kill birds. Sometimes they eat them. Sometimes they don’t. In fact, my cats kill all sorts of things, some adorable (bunnies!), some not so adorable (moles). These days, I don’t really have the energy for herding cats. I’m herding kids all day. So, yeah, knock yourself cats. Godspeed birds.
And over time, I had a revelation. Killing things is what cats DO. I didn’t teach them anything in this regard. Hell, they’re only my cats in name only. They were all strays my softie wife started to feed so they could eventually enjoy destroying my furniture and the convenience of pissing in a plastic box near my office during the colder months. I can’t control them. I don’t own them.
Now, I tell you the robin story to ruffle a few feathers…
(Purrfectly acceptable to groan at that one, sure…)
Plenty of guests have lectured my wife and me about the cats.
You know how many millions of songbirds cat kill every year?
Why don’t you keep them in the house?
Blah Blah Blah…
Whatever the words, the underlying message is the same —
Ain’t it awful?
Pay attention and you’ll notice “everyone got a cause.” We all know the right thing. And the wrong thing. On many, many subjects.
Guns.(As I typed this, someone called saying something about “The Gabby Giffords somethingorother…” before I hung up)
Education and Schools…
Corporations (like those fuckers at Monsanto, amiright? Or Google. Or…)
As I mentioned before, when my cats would be in the midst of killing something, I’d tear out of the house to intervene. I took it upon myself to right the wrong. Cats don’t really care for this, so if they already had their prey this would end up in a prolonged chase, usually involving some prickly bushes near our house. Sometimes I would be able to “rescue” the animal, sometimes not.
In either case, I ‘d be emotionally shaken and hepped up on adrenaline. Eventually, I just hit a threshold where I was like, this is silly. Cats and birds have been playing this game for quite a while now. I think they got it figured out. And my thinking something is wrong here is just stressing me out, so to hell with it…
What I’ve notice about causes is that the #1 thing causes do — and they do this BETTER THAN ANYTHING ELSE — is that they stress the causee (I think I made that word up).
Certainly they are on the path of the righteous, after all they got the facts, anecdotes, and research behind them. (Oddly enough, so does the inevitable opposition.) It’s like my favorite bumper sticker says, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” I love that one. Usually on a sensible Subaru or Honda. You bet your ass that driver’s got lots of causes. And outrage to burn. Lots of things to be against.
But I think it’s worth zooming out and noticing that all the worry, the anger, the handwringing doesn’t really lead too far. It might make you a “conscious, spiritual, environmentally aware, citizen of the world” or something, but it doesn’t really bring about much change.
But we need to be outraged and be against bad things like killer cats if we want the world to change for the better.
Talk to Jesus. Talk to Gandhi. Cause that ain’t how they rolled.
Only alignment brings about change.
Now who knows… reading this you may see me as a cold-hearted nihilist, who cares about nothing but himself. (What about the children??) You are free to judge me any way you like. And certainly I have a cause that I work to remain loyal to…
My cause is FEELING GOOD.
(So selfish, right? I know…)
There are lots of reasons for this. First, I am not in charge of the ocean levels, but I am in charge of what I choose to think and feel.
Second, when it comes to pointing out things that are WRONG with the world, the possibilities are truly endless. Sometimes when I see people posting images and article links to what’s wrong in the world, I immediately wonder, “How do they find this stuff?” The answer comes quickly… Oh yeah… they’re LOOKING FOR IT!
Third, whenever someone tells me their cause, in my head it takes me about 4 seconds to see someplace in their own life where they violate their own logic. (Reminds me of the old Cheech and Chong song). Besides, all facts are malleable and whatever you believe is true.
Believe the world is fucked? Guess what, you’re right! Believe that everything is cool? Guess what, you’re right!
In the end, my cause is feeling good because feeling good feels good.
My core belief is that All is Well.
While this certainly gets shaken from time to time, because this is my dominant belief, this is what I tend to see and experience in all areas of my life.
All is well.
This next part might seem like a stretch (why stop now?) but when my priority is my own alignment and feeling good, and this is what I practice, so many of the “bad things” in the world become irrelevant to my personal experience. The subjects of causes become like Major League Soccer or something… I can be aware that something exists, but I don’t have to give it any attention. It holds no power or relevance in my life because I’m tuned into a different channel.
I got no time for causes…. There’s just too much good stuff to focus upon instead.