First Encounters

>    I’ve raised more than one stray cat in my life and learned a thing or two from those experiences. Perhaps the most important lesson ever was triggered by an observation my husband made yesterday and the answer I gave. He noted how Sprout, a kitten we had taken in shortly after birth and Dave, a truly feral cat, had both come to trust humans over time and yet how Ellie, another stray, had never stopped living in fear, although she had spent 15+ years lovingly cared for by our family.
    Ellie walks with a severe limp and cowers from the slightest touch as a result of having been abused as a kitten. It’s also the point of origin for her fear of humans, and, as I call it, her “default mode” for seeing the world as a hurtful and dangerous place. I told my husband that was the difference between Sprout, Dave and Ellie. Sprout and Dave had first encounters with humans that were not burdened by pain. Ellie was not so blessed.
    I think we humans are no different.
    Each of us was born knowing little of the world we encountered with our first breath. So much depended on the welcome. Not just in those first moments, but well beyond into the ensuing years as we fell and stumbled our way through the early stages of childhood. How many of us were greeted and guided as Sprout and Dave were…and how many as Ellie?
    I don’t mean to say that if we are not lovingly cared for then we are necessarily abused (although that could probably be a blog in itself.) What I mean to say is that we are all born Dreamers with an Artist tucked away inside.
    We come into this world with boundless wonder knowing only limitless possibility. Too quickly, I think, we are taught the boundaries of wonder and the limitations around possibility. We are encouraged to fit rather than explore; to conform rather than create; to settle rather than wander. Dreams cannot flourish and mature in constricted places. They need to be unfettered and unrestrained and have the luxury of limitless expansiveness. Lacking that, they lose vital energy, wither and, ultimately, die.
    You might think that’s the saddest part. But it’s not. For it’s the Dreamer who finds it’s way to the Artist within. Without the Dreamer, the Artist will never be birthed.
    Each of us comes into the world with a purpose that is our own artistic contribution to the co-creative process. It is our Soul/sole purpose in being Here.
    Ellie is quite old and, sadly, dying. It’s too late for her to have lived a life other than the one she has lived. We humans are more fortunate. At any moment, while still Here, we can call forth the Dreamer of long ago and begin the search for the Artist within.
    There are no guarantees. We may or may not succeed in birthing the Artist. Ah, but to live the life of the Dreamer!
    “Not all that glitters is gold. Not all who wander are lost.”
    Now, there’s a welcome sign I’d like to see at every birth.

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