Sunday, February 14, 2010

Empty Hands, Soft Paws

[image: Tangerine, notice the vinyl sheaths, "Soft Paws," applied to his front claws]
Sheba does not have to wear Soft Paws; somehow she knows not to scratch on the couch or the living room carpet, but runs down to the basement or out to the garage. But this post is not about cats. They are just the furry little metaphor that keeps weaving through my life.

Soft paws. Dim lights. Slow steps. Empty hands. There is a koan -
With empty hands, I take hold of the plow.
I suppose the meaning is obvious, directly visual. You cannot steer a plow if your hands are trying to hold onto other things as well. You can't be here, now, if your mind is full of ideas and ambitions, cravings, judgments.

I think about walking and feet a lot, since I had so much trouble with my feet last year. There's a gratitude that stays with me just walking around the house. Soft feet. Be careful where you step - that little yellow flower may have been your grandmother in some life.

Recently I've been thinking Soft paws. It means to me, slow down. Don't be aggressive. Don't make a big pawprint. Let life come to you.

Yesterday my daughter Cassie and her family visited for a couple of hours. Everyone watched the Olympics on the new plasma TV and talked talked about this and that, the athletes, village politics. I am not a sports fan, but because I love my daughter and husband, I set my judgments aside. We don't need to disagree on that.

I'd had little sleep the night before, and was tired, so I sat back and knitted (very grandmotherly) and a fine mess was made on the coffee table of valentine candies, crackers and cheese. Otto and Chris, Cassie's partner, horse played. I realized a warm feeling in my center. Not spectacular, nice. It took me hours to put a name to it, talking later to Tom - I felt safe. I trust these people. We all wish each other well. I know many people must feel this with their families of origin, but I never did. Here it was, though, at last, when I wasn't looking for it at all.

1 comment:

  1. I get a warm feeling thinking about it. I know how lucky I am that I do have this feeling with my family of origin. The childlike safeness and comfort I feel with them is unlike with anyone else. I bet your daughter feels this way with you and I hope to keep this tradition with my own future family. Cheers.