So our cat Koa is now two years old. As an update to my article Lessons from a Kitten, I can add another lesson, letting go of perfectionism. There are many sweet things about our two cats. But there are some annoying things too. I can handle these imperfections because of all the good they bring to our family. I can focus on the good qualities. It is ok that they are not perfectly behaved cats. Here is the original article.
Lessons from a Kitten, June 14, 2016
We got a new Siberian kitten last Saturday. He is 11 weeks old and, of course, absolutely adorable. His name is Koa. We named him after the native Hawaiian wood Koa because he's an orange tabby and looks like the Koa wood's grain pattern. Needless to say, I have been spending a lot of time with him because he pretty much needs constant attention and supervision unless he is sleeping. Every time I try to get my laptop out and go through my to-do list or check Instagram, he's right there looking at me like “Hey! This is a new toy to play with. I'm gonna walk on it. I like your shiny phone because it's interesting and I am going to bite it." At first it made me feel bad that I was so frustrated trying to work in front of him. But then I realized he is so in the moment. That is the first lesson I learned. Kittens are so absolutely right here, right now. "Let's play. Hey! I want to be with you. I want to cuddle. I'm kind of hungry. I am not sleepy and I'm going to run around like a crazy kitty." It did make me realize it's more important right now to enjoy this time to bond with him and let him know how much we appreciate him being part of our family. As for my creative practice, the few breaks I have from my little needy one, I am totally in the moment when I walk into my studio relishing every seam I sew and every creative decision I make. Sometimes mixing up your routine can be the best thing you do because you realize what is really important to you and relish those moments.
Lesson 1. Be in the moment.
We took Koa to the vet on Monday and I mentioned how every night he has a spaz attack, running all over crazy fast so that we can hardly see his feet moving. I'm not even exaggerating. She said the best thing is to get him on a play schedule of 5 to 7 times a day 10 minutes to 20 minutes each session. Wow. It seems like a lot of time. However this idea made a lot of sense to me. We need to play with him and provide opportunities for him to move about and then we will see the calmer side, at least some of the time. So far it has worked. But it is more like an hour of play each time!
It made me think about all-or-nothing art. When I used to create in a project-to-project mode based on when I had the time, I felt all this pressure would build up and it would be like a crazy frenzy in the studio. I'd want to work for hours and for days on something. But it never really was very satisfying because it felt like it was part of the crazed frenzy and a feeling of never enough. Once I started a regular creative practice, I felt myself calm down and be in the moment of creating while planning ahead, working in a series with a sense of direction. As for Koa, we have started to customize his play schedule throughout the day when he's active and we play with him using different toys and figure out what kind of toys he likes. Again, I found a parallel with my creative practice. I spend time throughout the day doing things I like so it doesn't build up into a crazy frenzy of art. I spend time figuring out what kind of things I like and it just makes things a little more even keeled.
Lesson 2. Play every day and throughout the day. Find ways to keep it fun and interesting.
So wish us luck in our next adventure as we continue to introduce our kitten Koa to our existing Siberian cat Jasper. He is nine-year-old sweet boy. So far, the interactions have been positive for the most part. Perhaps I will learn lessons about relationships watching them continue to get to know each other.
P.S. As you can see from the recent photo, they are getting along really well.😸😸