Teaching a Cat to Bark

Loving What Is

If you want reality to be different than it is, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try, and in the end the cat will look up at you and say, “Meow.” —Byron Katie (teacher and writer)

I grew up listening to miracle stories and fairy tales in which lost love turns into newfound romance, financial hardships turn into wealth, illness is replaced with wellness, and a frog turns into a prince. Nowadays, such ideas are promoted with a focus on manifestation and an emphasis on our ability to control the external world, thereby closely following the therapeutic idea of magical thinking. This is called the law of attraction, which states that it is our thoughts that determine what we attract in life, including our relationships, careers, financial well-being, and health.

However, this belief ignores socioeconomic and psychological reality, the germ theory of disease, and other human limitations. Its worst outcome is that it may leave people feeling ashamed and guilty that their struggles—a normal part of life—are a result of their thoughts, specifically their lack of positive thoughts.

Another theory that highlights a different possibility is radical acceptance. Suffering comes from our longing for things to be different. The idea of radically accepting “what is” requires letting go of how we think things (or people) should be, embracing life and loved ones, and getting on with “loving what is.”

This does not mean giving up or failing to work toward changing things, but rather learning to accept the gift of life as it is, with its limitations and disappointments, even when life throws us an impossible curve. Instead of waiting for the miracle story of a frog becoming a prince, we learn to love the frog for its gentleness, amazing jumps, and loud vocal responses. This is a realistic approach to a meaningful life. It is that time of year for tales of Thanksgiving marvels and Christmas miracles.

So today, I am going to share our families’ version of a miracle story; this one is real and all about accepting life’s inevitable curves, having the courage to live with “what is,” and making the most of life without placing conditions or expecting miracles.

This is the story of my beloved “bonus grandson,” Ben Sievers. Click HERE.

Warmest Wishes,