I was taking a class a few years ago with a woman who was also a yoga teacher. She mentioned that she worked so hard to always keep her diet perfect and that she had to be in perfect shape.
She shared with the group, “I got it the other day. Balance isn’t always about being perfect. Balance requires fine adjustments from side to the other. It’s not just standing there–it’s adjusting. I realized that I’m like that in my life. I need to be more flexible with choices because I don’t always have to stand in that perfect spot of balance but can flex and adjust.”
I think these words are very important as we contemplate our health and disease. Some days we feel better than others. Some days we eat better than others. Each day is a different day.
In the last decade or so I have noticed that normal has gone from being a bell curve to being on the edge of what is “optimal”. It’s not enough to be normal any more in one’s health, but it is important to be optimal. We work on getting those optimal areas whether those things are “normal” or not.
So what is normal? Normal is the most common manifestation of any particular characteristic. By this standard, the really amazing athletes that we admire have gotten outside the range of normal. Those men and women who climb mountains like Everest are outside the range of normal. This is simply because their bodies do things that the average person cannot. They can push themselves in ways the average person cannot, so in that sense they have stopped being normal.
We have this fascination with perfection and supra normal in our country. We no long want a normal amount of money that might make us comfortable (which is still a desire and an achievable desire in most European countries) we want to be rich. We don’t just want to be rich, we want to be rich, like Bill Gates. From a financial perspective, Bill Gates is not normal. His wealth falls well outside the bell curve of “normal”.
Looking closer at this desire, we often desire to “do what Bill Gates did”, largely because we see that as a way to wealth. I had a professor once who looked at us and said we shouldn’t try to be as good as he is in massage. Only he could be as good as he is. We should try and be as good as we can be. Then we might be better than he is. It is simple wisdom. We need to try to be the best of what we can be.
This best may not be optimal in many ways. It may not bring the outstanding wealth we think we would like but being our best will bring satisfaction on many levels. It is also far more likely to make our life a life of quality that we enjoy living rather than a life we have to work at keeping on top of.
Georgia should be where the blog begins because she is the reason this quest began at all. Georgia is my old calico cat. She found me one year at my old apartment complex. She was the cat that ran everything. She knew everyone and everyone was sure she wasn’t taken care of and yet we all did. She was quite a flirt. One woman who had been feeding her was moving and had two cats who weren’t interested in sharing and she asked me to take care of Georgia. Shortly after that Georgia bullied her way into my apartment past my alpha male cat (who was not interested in sharing his home with her) and into my life for good.
She came with me through many moves and sat with me as I lost the other cats I had at the time. She became the role model for the kitten I found and helped keep the new Siamese cat in line. As she was lying on the bed, looking old and sad I kept thinking I needed to know what she wanted when it was her time. My other cat had made it very clear that he wanted to die at home. I knew that deeply and instinctively. Georgia seemed to have no real wish one way or another.
I found an animal communicator at this time and I thought I should call her. However Georgia has always been there when I’ve talked to her and I think we have a good rapport so I decided to try it myself.
As I slipped into a meditation I talked to her about what was going on. I told her I didn’t want her to suffer because I didn’t know what was wrong, like Simone, my first Siamese did. Georgia said, “Well there was nothing wrong. She was just sick.”
And I said, “Well if I had know how she was sick, maybe I could have helped.”
Georgia said, rather crankily because I was obviously a bit slow on the uptake, “Why do you think sickness is wrong? It just is.”
What a profound statement from my little cat. I was thrown out of the meditation as I lay there considering the implications. Why do we think sickness is wrong? Where did we get that idea? And is there a way to change that attitude? What are the implications not only for sick people but for those around them? I started out on a quest. I am sure there will be a book but until then, there is this blog.