Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Sleep, Love and Gratitude

Since we had Turtle, about 20 months ago, there has been an ongoing battle with our cat. Normally she wins the battle. It is over sleep.

When I was pregnant I joked about Rogue, our cat, and Turtle having the same sleep patterns. While Turtle was wriggling and flipping in my belly in the middle of the night Rogue would also be up. At this time Rogue always slept at the bottom of our bed.

Then Turtle came home. Her bassinet was next to our bed. Rogue came in as usual, settled on our bed and saw the baby in the bassinet. She went into hunting mode, which was quite disconcerting for me as a new mum. She stared. She stretched her neck as long as I have ever seen it. She hunched into pounce mode. She jumped down and stood up on her back legs to sniff Turtle through the bars of the bassinet. She jumped back onto our bed and settled facing the bassinet, on the edge of the bed. I struggled to relax since I was paranoid she would jump on Turtle. Then Rogue settled things for me.

Turtle at 5 days old in her bassinet

After that one night Rogue would not sleep in our room anymore. She meowed to go out when we brought her in at night. She wouldn't settle in our room. She took at least half an hour to settle on the couch. She would then be up and meowing to go out within a couple of hours. All of this on top of a newborn. It didn't take long for us to crack. We started letting her out in the middle of the night.

We would be up feeding Turtle in the wee hours and would hear the low rumble of a cat fight outside. The cat fights meant we had to stop letting her out again. In our sleep deprived state I remember glasses of water smashing onto the floor and much angst and swearing being directed at the cat.

After Turtle moved to her own room Rogue still refused to sleep with us. Things have remained stressful with her often waking at least once through the night before starting her regular "let me out" drill every half an hour or so from as early as 4am.

This has continued, at varying levels of sleeplessness, until about 2 months ago when a friend asked us to look after their Cocker Spaniel. Out of sheer terror Rogue was forced back into our room where she has (thankfully!!) been sleeping on our bed. Although this has significantly shortened how long it takes to settle her at time nighttime we have still been woken early in the morning, and sometimes during the night, to resettle her.

What does this have to do with love and gratitude??

Mr Fix It was recently away on a trip and I was at home with all of our fur babies and Turtle. Rogue happened to be in a cat fight the same morning that he left at about 4am. After a trip to the vet I was determined to confine Rogue and finally shake this night waking!

The first night I was settling her in our room I realised that I haven't really had the time, or energy, to completely focus on Rogue since Turtle came along. I realised that it only takes 10 minutes out of my day to play with her and pat her as I settle her at the end of the day. She loves the attention and has become more playful each night since I have started to do this.

Playful cat

The same can be said for many of the other important things in our lives. Spending time each day to focus completely and entirely on the important things in your life is such a small investment for the wonderful results.

I was lucky to be able to go along and see the Dalai Llama speak when he was in Perth recently. I also saw him last time he was in Perth in 2011. It was one of the most uplifting and inspiring experiences of my life. This time was not quite as inspiring for me because the sound wasn't great at Perth Arena and we struggled to hear most of what he said for around 30 minutes, until they fixed the problem. I still managed to take home some valuable thoughts that I have been pondering since.

One of the questions that the Dalai Llama answered was from a middle aged woman who wanted to know "why do I feel an emptyness inside of me when I have beautiful children and a wonderful husband?"

In his charming way The Dalai Llama joked about her having a void in her chest but went on to say that he was sure she also has many beautiful possessions and a nice house but yet she is not happy. He spoke a lot about how surrounding ourselves with material things does not create a happy person.

One thing he said that resonated with me was (I am paraphrasing), "sometimes family commitments can be viewed as a burden but they are not. It is a privilege to give and love your family like you care for yourself".

I know that is something that I struggle with at times when doing daily chores or trying to put Turtle down for a nap. The pets are often another job that needs to be done. It is horrible to admit it but it is true.

The Dalai Llama recommends meditating each day about love. Just sit and think about the loved ones in your life and the things that you are grateful for. Studies have shown that this helps to make people happier with their lives. I have been trying to remember to do this each day. I'm not sure if it has made me happier as such but I think it might have helped to shift my attitude a little.

When I'm doing a job that I might have viewed as a burden I think to myself, "just get this done". I don't seem to have that negative narration about how tired I am or about how I generally don't feel like doing it. Sometimes I am actually finding that I am enjoying myself because I am focusing on a sense of achievement by doing the task and leaving it behind me.

Hopefully poor Rogue will be lulled into a loved up state of mind and sleep herself into a stupor from all of the positive energy in the house! She slept so well for the first couple of nights after the cat fight. Since then she is usually sleeping through but then playing a waking game from 4:30am or so. I have been trying to keep her in until 7am...  Game on cat!

How are you travelling with your sleep, love and gratitude? Do you think there is room for improvement in your take on life?

Once again joining team IBOT with Essentially Jess

No comments:

Post a Comment