Many years ago, when I was quite young, a cat adopted me and took up residence in my barn. She was wild enough to make me think that she had been fending for herself for quite some time and tame enough to consider that she had once been someone else’s pet.
Between us, we had an unspoken understanding. I would talk to her, ask her how she was, and from afar she would observe me going about my day and oversee proceedings.
Not long after arriving, she had kittens. Hidden from view at the very back of the barn, I could hear their voices calling out to her whenever she left, and our relationship was such that she kept me in one eye but trusted me to do no harm.
As her babies grew and became more adventurous, they began to explore and discover. When they overstepped the mark, she would grab them by the scruff of the neck and return them back to their nest.
Her reprimands never increased with their antics, but she was resolute, consistent and motivated by love.
That image of her has always stuck with me. We are not so different from those half-wild kittens finding our way in the world, especially when it comes to our thoughts. If we want to train ourselves with kindness, we need to understand that there is going to be a lot of grabbing what runs through our minds by the scruff of the neck and returning to base camp.
Not in with aggression.
Not with despair.
Not with the expectation that this is going to be a one-shot deal.
But with consistency and love.
This is what thoughts do. They scatter and run like a half-wild kitten over a hay bale.
You just have to bring them back.
Bring them back.
Bring them back.