On not doing things half-heartedly

life

Over the course of the time that we've been looking after M, my parents' cat, one thing I've noticed is how whole-heartedly cats do physical things. They might spend 90% of their day sleeping, but when they stretch, they really go for it. They arch their backs (the inspiration for the cat pose in yoga, of course) and seem to stretch out every single muscle fibre in a shuddering, eye and ear scrunching movement. And that's it, back to sleep - job done. Likewise, cats don't have any truck with the politely-smothered yawn. They crack their jaws open, bare their teeth, stick out their tongue and really yawn.

It does you good just watching it, but it also reminds me that doing anything with conviction and commitment is a good thing. Yoga practice teaches the same thing, and the idea that you should always be conscious of your breath and every part of your body encourages you to experience the moment fully, rather than being half there and half not. Of course, it applies equally to any endeavour. When we are children, we tend to be very focussed on and absorbed by whatever we're doing at the time, even if that focus doesn't linger very long on any one thing, but as adults, our minds seem to be perpetually somewhere else, skipping ahead to the next thing.

So my Spring Resolution (I dislike making resolutions at the New Year because it's so hard to keep them then) is to be more child/cat-like in my attention. If I'm doing something, I should be doing it, not half doing it.

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