Thursday, December 26, 2013

the problem with pom poms

While I don't celebrate Christmas, it would appear that it is a major holiday for the mad kitten. She is literally buried in Christmas gifts. From the stuffed stocking with the highly desired pillow with the gold bow, to the 7 lb. bag of (shhh it's just diet food) treats she is mad for, to the bubbling Buddha fountain she can sip from to the piece de la resistance - the scratching post with the pom pom on top.

I think this may be the toy that finally causes her to snap and call for a pickup from her alien friends.

You see, the pom pom post is a gift from the pizza place up the street. This is no sisal wrapped toy, but a plush velvety kind of fabric covered post that stands upright and proud on a lovely cushioned base and is crowned by a purple pom pom that rests on a silver spring. I thought she was going to hyperventilate and pass out when she saw it. What is funny is normally it takes her a few minutes to warm up to a larger toy, but this run she was on top of the second I set it down. The first thing she grabbed at was the pom pom, which had been merrily swaying back and forth when I held the post in my arms.

She grabbed it and it stopped moving. She let go and tensed, but alas! The pom pom settled into an aloof rest. She grabbed it again, but still no life. Frustrated she turned to investigate the post and base. That was all well and good until she started scratching the post, and the pom pom began to dance around on its spring. She grabbed it, and it stopped. She let it go and it sat there. Cautiously, she crouched down like a sphinx and scratched meditatively on the post while keeping her eyes glued to the pom pom that danced away with each pull. She is madly frustrated and can't figure out how to keep the pom pom dancing without scratching. If she is scratching, she can't grab it. If she stops scratching, the pom pom goes still and that is just no fun.
She alternates between staring and scratching, before retreating for a snack and a sip under the Buddha's gaze.

I have to admit, this is the first year that Christmas - the holiday (not to be confused with 'Christmas - The Movie) really got under my skin. Normally, I can get into the spirit, even though it's not a holiday I have reason to celebrate by faith. And I also normally get into the spirit of the 'let's bitch about commercialism' etc. and so forth - but it was very different this year. I found it horrific.

A lot of it stemmed from watching all the stress and anger the "holiday season" causes. The endless greedy demands and expectations, the lack of interest in anything but yourself and how you come off - and that goes for the surge in charity acts too. I think - a lot of the intensity of my feelings comes from my accident and the aftermath - it has really hit home to me how as a global culture, we are so divorced from valuing human life for its potential and presence, and instead have become masters at putting a value holder in place of actually showing up for life. Everything has become potential collateral damage.

How do you find your way back to valuing life? It's become hard to even find that when you suffer loss as so many are so self-absorbed grief is only understood through personal pain, not in compassionate suffering.

 The new cult of illness and mystical recovery continues to disturb me because I feel like it is a misguided attempt to become reconnected to living, only without having to suffer for it.


Life can present so many puzzles. Like a pom pom on a wire, how do you keep something moving when it requires you to do something else that prevents you from fully engaging with the object of your desire? Or maybe, the message is that a large part of life is found in longing for the unattainable, but always striving towards it.

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