Thursday, May 6, 2010


I recently recounted a story to my mother as to the likely reason I am a cat-lover. I am definitely a 'cat person' as opposed to a 'dog person'. But I am not a cat lover in that I look at pictures of cats or buy cat magazines - and I press 'delete' anytime someone emails me cute cat pictures. Let's say I appreciate my cats, and those that cross my path in the course of my daily life.

During school I was for the most part an introvert. This being Mr. Anonymous continued into my University career - but only lasted about three months. One day I was sitting in a lecture auditorium - which also doubled as a performance theatre for drama students - listening to a talk on Management of Human Recourses by the professor. There must have been about 200 students scattered throughout the seating, which rose up in front of the stage upon which his lecture podium was placed.

As we looked down upon the professor from our raised point of view, we noticed a black cat appear from the side of the stage curtain. It ambled casually onto the stage and sat down, looked around, and then began to clean itself as if no one else was in the room.

Naturally, the eyes of the entire class went to the cat. After a few moments it looked up, yawned, and languidly made its way to the side of the stage, down a set of stairs, sniffing at this and that, along the front of the stage, and then started casually strolling up the center isle. All eyes remained fixed on its progress. Some students actually starting to stand up or stretch in their seats to monitor the progress. The cat’s entire demeanor was 'cool and collected' to the point of being amusing. As it came level with the isle in which I was sitting, it made a right in my direction, walked through the legs of those sitting in the row next to me, arrived at my feet, jumped onto my lap, curled up comfortably, and promptly went to sleep. I was utterly amazed. A warm feeling washed through my entire body: I felt 'chosen'.

This was the first time in my life I felt so publically chosen by any person, event, or circumstance. Why me? Then I looked around and all eyes in the room where on me. Why him?

In that moment I went from Mr. Anonymous to 'the one the cat chose'. The cat remained coiled comfortably upon my lap almost throughout the entire lecture. Then without any warning - it stood up - stretched - hopped down, and in moments was gone from sight. From that moment onward total strangers said "Hi" when walking passed on campus - so I started doing the same.

My entire university experience changed after that. Within six months I became what was at that time the youngest Debutantes Convener in the history of the university. This meant I was in charge of a few hundred first year female students whom I had to facilitate into public fundraising activities, parties, and all sorts of social occasions. A far cry from being Mr. Anonymous.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I traced that incident as being a significant turning point in my life - a moment in which a simple experience of acknowledgement by a cat transformed my entire perception of myself and the fabric of my social reality. Since then I acknowledge cats whenever they cross my path. I appreciate the power of their loving light, and they have also taught me the appreciate the power within mine.

We have no idea how a singular unexpected moment of acknowledgment can shift reality completely for another. Acknowledgement contains the power and radiance of loving light.