My cat, Jupiter, has healing powers. And I don’t just mean in the sense that he cuddles with you when you’re sad or meows at just the right moments to make you feel heard. This fantastic feline has some legit magic to cure people.
One time, I had mysterious pains in my stomach that were getting more and more intense. Jupiter rested on my stomach for a few moments, and when he got up, they were gone.
Another time, my son had a high fever for so many days that the doctor was beginning to hint at more sinister causes. One evening, after days of worry, I went in to check on my son and saw Jupiter lying there, his tail curved over my son’s forehead protectively. And that was that. He woke up and the fever was gone for good.
My husband, the non-believer, thought this was all nonsense. Until one day, when he had an aching pain in his knee and Jupiter, who typically knew better than to mess with the grumpy old dad of the house, settled right down on his leg. In a rare moment of tolerance, my husband let him stay there for a few moments. When Jupiter got up, the pain in his knee had alleviated considerably and soon was completely gone.
By now you probably think I’m crazy. And perhaps I am. But, maybe there’s something more to this. Something more helpful than just a magical cat. (Although honestly, what could be more helpful than a magical cat?)
We are scattered in a million directions now. Our fingers are busy texting while our eyes are scanning and our feet are marching forward on this neverending treadmill. There is no time for lagging or reflecting or nursing our wounds. We just have to keep moving, keep texting, keep scanning, keep marching forward to the grave.
But Jupiter doesn’t do any of that. He spends most of his time curled up in a ball in whatever patch of sunshine he can find. If he’s hungry, he’ll pad down the stairs into the pantry and howl until I open up a container of tuna for him which he’ll spend twenty minutes lapping at while wriggling his tail and purring delightedly. And, when he snags his nail on the carpet, he’ll attend to it carefully, gently, licking and cuddling the sore spot until the pain subsides.
In short, he pays attention. To everything he does. In fact, when he wants to be pet, he stares so deeply into my eyes, it unnerves me. Because if he has the power to heal, what other kinds of creepy things can he do?
Maybe, though, his secret isn’t that he’s magical, maybe it’s that he’s really present, for every single moment. And maybe it’s that attention that the rest of us are missing. When he sits on my stomach or my husband’s knee, what he’s actually doing is forcing us to shut out all the other distractions and really focus. On him, on ourselves, on the pain, on healing.
I’ve been trying to remember that more in my life. When a friendship begins to show signs of fading, I don’t just send a cursory text, I call or write or try to make plans in person. When my kids seem extra sensitive, I don’t just rush them along through their daily routines, I find a chance alone with them and get to the bottom of what’s bothering them. And, when I’m feeling run-down or sad, I get extra rest and meditate and try to really listen to the messages that my body is sending me.
In short, I pay attention.
So, is Jupiter really a magical healing cat? Or is he just reminding us to focus on the areas that need attending to? I’m not sure. All I know is that, when he howls for tuna, I’ll continue to drop everything and give him what he needs. Because, magical or not, he deserves my full attention.