Has anyone ever told you that you couldn’t have something? Or that you couldn’t do something you wanted to do?
How did you respond?
Did you believe them? Did you immediately incorporate their teeny-weeny, limiting beliefs as your own?
Or did you dismiss their restricted vision in favor of your own mighty, expanded view?
When it comes to staying true to their vision, sticking to their guns and advocating for what they want, there was one person in my life who stood head and shoulders above the rest.
Okay, she wasn’t exactly a person. And she didn’t really have shoulders per se, but that’s exactly my point.
Even without shoulders, she was still a shining example of the power of determination and belief.
Say hello to the Guru!
One night, the Guru came home with a few scratches on her face.
In general, the Guru was not known for her fighting abilities. In fact, the previous time the Guru came home with scratches on her body, they were on her tail end.
As our vet pointed out, the location of wounds on an animal’s body indicate their level of aggression in a fight. Facial wounds indicate an Aggressive Fighter, whereas tail wounds indicate a Fleeing Fighter.
The Guru, given her pacifist stance and worldview, was always in the Fleeing Fighter camp.
But that had changed.
The Guru, at age twelve, has apparently decided she wanted to improve her street cred. She wanted the other cats in the ‘hood to tremble at the very sight of her. She wanted them to whisper among themselves as she sauntered by:
Not only is she totally enlightened, she can kick our asses too. She’s a bad-ass Guru and we bow before her. No, wait. We bow after she leaves, so she won’t take advantage of our submissive posture and rearrange our faces.
As the Guru’s keeper, I needed to point out to her that she was paying a price for her “new and improved” image.
After she came home with scratches on her face, she was exhausted. She slept nonstop for forty-eight hours. I knew the situation wasn’t dire, as she didn’t lose her appetite, but still.
Changes needed to be made.
The Guru already had a curfew – we kept her inside at night – but now it was winter, and it got dark earlier. Usually we let the Guru romp around in the dark for a few hours, but her new devotion to Bad Ass status required a different protocol.
The Guru first realized something had changed when she discovered that her cat door was – for some crazy, unknown reason – closed for the night way earlier than usual.
She was sure that a mistake had been made.
Couldn’t I, as her keeper and Chief of Staff, rectify the situation?
With her probing look, she reminded me that Gurus should be free to roam at all times, across all lands. Or at least hang out in the back yard for a few more hours.
When it became clear that this was not going to happen, the Guru moved on to Plan B.
The other door.
She waited there patiently, sure that any moment, I would see the error of my ways and open the door for her. She didn’t meow, didn’t claw at the door, didn’t offer a protest of any kind.
When I came over to inquire as to why, exactly, she was sitting in front of this other door, she shot me another look.
I understand that you are a mere mortal and cannot possibly begin to understand the sophistication of my mighty Guru consciousness, but perhaps you can understand this: Let. Me. Out. Get it? Like, now.
One of the reasons I was appointed the Guru’s Chief of Staff is that I was impeccable in fulfilling my job duties.
It was my mission to protect and serve the Guru, and with that in mind, I knew that all doors needed to remain closed.
The Guru, forgetting how awesome I was at my job, just found the whole thing annoying.
She moved on to Plan C.
She returned to the cat door to check its status.
Unfortunately, it was Still-Closed-For-Some-Completely-Aggravating-And-Stupid-Reason.
The Guru sat down next to the dining room table and proceeded to bathe herself.
To the casual viewer, it may have appeared that the Guru had given up. But this was not the case. Indeed, the Guru was engaging in her most cunning and strategic maneuver yet:
The Camp Out.
Yes, it appeared that the Guru was tired and needed a bath. And perhaps she was a bit fatigued by the behavior of her Chief of Staff.
Yet while she was supposedly engaging in a casual evening routine of bathing and lounging, the Guru had positioned herself in the perfect position to exit the cat door should it happen to become available.
All the while maintaining a completely innocent, this-just-happens-to-be-where-I-feel-like-sitting expression.
This went on for hours.
The Guru’s strategy included a few more visits to the Other Door, a few more rounds of checking the Still-Closed-For-Some-Completely-Aggravating-And-Stupid-Reason door, and a few more bathing and waiting episodes.
All for naught.
Finally, it was time for sleep. Or more precisely, it was time for the Guru’s keepers to sleep. For all I know, the Guru maintained her vigil all night.
When morning came and her keepers regained their sanity, thus permitting the Guru to exit the house from the cat door, she was gone faster than you can say Now Was That So Hard? Why Didn’t You Do That Twelve Hours Ago?
As the Guru exited the house to go gobble down the neighbor’s cat food (the topic of a future post), I reflected on her behavior.
If someone tells me I can’t do something, I often make the horrible mistake of believing them.
But what if I behaved like the Guru? What if I didn’t back down? What if I did everything in my power to ensure that my wishes came about?
What would that be like?
In order for that to happen, I would need to be someone who didn’t care what others thought about me. Someone who believed in her dreams and pursued them no matter what.
I would have to be someone like the Guru.
In this case, the Guru didn’t get her wish. At least, not at first.
For another week, the cat door – For-Some-Completely-Aggravating-And-Stupid-Reason – closed early.
But then her wounds healed. And her energy returned. So I sat down with the Guru and had a little chat.
I told her that it was clear from her behavior that she preferred to roam free in the early evening. I told her that I would be willing to change the protocol back to how it was before, under one condition.
I reminded her that real Gurus don’t start fights with less-enlightened beings. I reminded her that she had a reputation to uphold, one that had nothing to do with Bad Ass status.
The Guru blinked and pretended to ignore me, but I knew she was listening.
Due to her persistence, the Guru was able to roam free once again.
I like to think that her persistence was an inspiration to all the other cats who feared her.
Or maybe I was the only one who was inspired.
Though I didn’t tell the Guru that. After all, I had to maintain some authority as Chief of Staff.
Who inspires you to believe in your dreams? Share your comments below!