Sunday, May 6, 2012


I have been watching my cats this morning and I noticed a couple things.  First there was Sasha getting ready to get off the kitchen counter.    She is blind, or nearly so, and therefore understandably she moves carefully.  She was leaning over the edge obviously trying to figure out if there was a piece of cat furniture below her.  I could see that she would only have to drop about 4", but she couldn't and she was taking her time before deciding to launch herself off the counter.  It would be easy for someone watching her to think that she was skittish or scared, but in fact I know she is very brave to attempt this, especially in a home such as mine where things move constantly.  She is right to think twice because the furniture which was there yesterday might not be there today.  I try to keep things the same for her in the immediate vicinity of both the washer/dryer and the kitchen counter, but things do have to move from time to time, to do laundry or find fabric, and it doesn't always end up exactly where it was before.

Anyway, such was my observation of my brave Sasha.  Next I watched Thackeray dealing with my new desk which happens to have a glass top.  I have never had a glass top before and so Thackeray also has never seen one.  It has taken him several attempts before he finally trusted it enough to sit on it.  As I type this he is sitting next to me purring loudly but even so he isn't moving around a lot.  Again, I could say what a silly cat he is because he is bewildered by the glass, but instead, I find his investigations and final commitment to try it an evidence of his trust in me and his bravery.

This got me to think about the whole topic of bravery.  My dog Oliver is afraid of much of the world and it takes a lot to gain his trust, but the rewards are immense.  I am terrified by many things as well, as I know others are.  Most of us are probably unaware of the acts of bravery which go on around us every day.  And what seems easy to one of us, is very hard for another.  Thackeray thinks nothing about jumping on and off everything.  It is very easy for him.  But for Sasha, it is a challenge requiring a lot of faith and courage.  I suspect that Sasha would have no trouble with the glass since she can't see anyway.  She wouldn't see things below the surface of the desk and wonder as Thackeray does.

If we can just remember that what seems simple to one seems equally terrifying to another.  Having respect for others means understanding that our view of the world, our view of day to day events, is unique to us and that others have different views, equally true and valid, and understanding that we don't have a monopoly on truth is vital to living in peace and harmony.


  1. Commenting a little late but I adored this post, Daphne.

    It's so very true.

    To give a personal example I have a phobia of needles. It's hard for me to agree to have blood drawn or get a shot. I know my fears aren't rational and that most people don't dread these things as much as I do but when it has to happen I just have to be really brave.


    1. Thanks, Lydia! And yes, we all have our fears. I think your fear of needles is more rational than my fear to go into a new place, a new store, etc, but then we don't pick our fears! And yes sometimes we just have to be brave! Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day!

    2. Just noticed your reply now.

      If only we could pick our fears. I'd pick something silly and far away like an anaconda- that way I wouldn't have to really worry about it, well, ever unless I decided to travel to Africa or something.

      Of course then we'd have no reason to ever be brave. :)

  2. I have a question? Do you think, for instance, Lydia example, is interesting in that, I too have a horrible issue with needles. AND if I know I'm going to get stuck (like the test I'm supposed to do monthly)I will avoid it if at all possible. I will work myself into a panic attack over it.I will fuss and make excuses, not go, break appointments, all for a simple blood test. IF however I'm at the Doctor and presto they decide to stick me, while I still am upset, scared & panicky It is most often over before has a chance to totally take over my brain.
    Recent example: at doctors-doctor says time for flue shot-oh no (brain says)..where can you run or hide. can't ok get it over with. doctor, well we give the shots up the street at the flu shot clinic. Ok - walk up street, would not have gone thru with it if husband hadn't been there to instist...pure panic.Blood pressure sky high etc. Same with other huge a talk to a room full of people. I can do it. I'm good at it. But I'll make myself sick with the fear of it. So my question is why is that? Do you have any thoughts? Is it because you (a person) can think about all the bad things connected with it, and the more time you have the more you can think about the more bad things you can imagine.? Or is it a more primtive 'flight or fight' type response? I don't think I think about it in the sense that, gee its going to hurt. Gee I'm going to get lost, or??? Do you think of all the things that could happen or go wrong or is it more...feeling than thought????
    I think understanding this fear reaction response would help us cope with it.

    1. I do think, Kathy, that you are right that anticipation just makes things worse whatever the fear. And that anxiety actually robs us of the present moment because when we are being anxious or fearful we are not in the present moment, so anxiety can rob us of our lives in insidious ways. Part of being brave I guess is just staying present, being in the moment, and not living in the past or future. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Have a great day!

    2. Kathy, I have panic attacks over needles, too. It's terrible, isn't it? :(

      But I've also noticed that I freak out a lot less if I find out right before it happens. The dentist is a good example of this - sometimes they say, "let's fill this cavity before it gets bigger!" when I didn't know I had one in the first place.

      So I shut my eyes, they bring out the needle to freeze my gums and they fill the cavity.

      Do I enjoy it? Not at all. But it's better than ruminating over it for days or weeks.

      Although not all types of needles bother me the same way. From least frightening to most frightening it would go:

      dentist numbing needles - those tiny little needles they use to check a drop of blood for iron/blood sugar leves - immunizations - blood draw - IV.

      The last one I've never actually had yet...but thinking about it too much gives me awful panic attacks. I can't stand a simple blood draw and imagine having a needle inserted and a plastic tube coming out of my hand or arm for hours/ days/weeks(?) at a time would be torture. :(

    3. I think anticipation of fun stuff increases the enjoyment, and conversely anticipating scary or unpleasant things just makes them that much worse! And I hope, Lydia, that you never have to have the IV!!

  3. Oh, and I agree with Daphne's last comment!

  4. What a sweet, thoughtful and insightful post, Daphne! It was a lovely one to read upon my return from all my months of absentee following! :-)

    Sasha is definitely very brave to jump without knowing what, if anything, she'll land on and how far she'll drop before she does land. A definite lesson in courage and faith there! And I bet the glass desk top is very disorienting to Thackeray! Like being in a fun house, or on a tromp l'oeil floor!

    My own fears include losing my temper and saying things I can't take back, but would wish I could. I also have a strange but powerful fear of drowning at sea, and always have! The thought of drowning in a lake, river or bathtub doesn't evoke the powerful, visceral terror that the idea of drowning at sea always has. I can barely watch the end of "The Perfect Storm!" My theory about this involves at least one past life. :-)

    I've often pondered the subject of courage (and fear, especially the irrational - but no less frightening - fears), and years ago, when I had a web page instead of a blog, I gathered up all the quotes I'd saved about courage and put them together here. Thought you might enjoy it. xoxo

    1. How wonderful to have your comment, Laurie! You have been up to a lot and I have been very absent in my own blog following. Yes, Sasha is brave for sure. Today she ended up on a different counter than where she normally goes (on top of the washer dryer) and you could just see her wondering how she got so close but not in the right spot. I try to carry her to her spot, but I got distracted. And Thackeray has adjusted to the glass desk top, but I have no idea what he thinks about it. I also have a fear of losing my temper--words have such power and they can't be taken back! Interesting about the fear of drowning at sea but not in other water. I liked your quotes on courage! Thanks for posting the link! And stop by anytime!