Lessons

The Wisdom Within Each Moment


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Rosebud – first published 2012

The bravest cat I ever knew was our dear friend Rosebud. Rosie has been gone a long time now and she only lived for eight short years but she had a lot to teach us. She came from a humane society shelter. We were looking through the room with all the cages and I noticed that my husband had stopped in his tracks. When I went back to him, he said this one is it. I looked at the cat in the cage. She was a beautiful short hair with gray, orange and ivory fur. She had big amber eyes. The tone in his voice told me not to question this choice. Something in him was very sure. They had bonded instantly. We brought her home and were not disappointed. She was an affectionate one year old lap cat who fit into our family instantly. I can still see her lying under the Christmas tree every year and dancing around the kitchen, begging for treats – which she always got. When Rosie started getting sick, I didn’t expect anything too dire, but when the tests came back, she tested positive for diabetes. At first we gave her pills everyday – not an easy thing but manageable. Soon though, the disease progressed until we were up to two shots a day. I never dreamed I could give a shot to anyone but all of us did – even our daughter, who was still a child – so that Rosebud would always be taken care of on time. You would have never known she was sick. She went about her life with an attitude of gratefulness that amazed us all. Whenever Rosie lay down on something, she would always scoot to the edge and hang her head over the side of whatever she was lying on. It was her trademark stance. We used to laugh and say she was getting a new perspective that way. Maybe she was. She had been abandoned and discarded early in her life. Now she was very ill at times. But from her perspective she was with a family that loved her and took care of her. I think from that point of view, nothing else mattered. Maybe perspective is all that matters.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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The Spring of Our Discontent – New Lessons

I am the first to admit it. I did not enjoy the prolonged winter weather we endured this spring. Like everyone else, I complained and got grumpy every time the temperature dipped down, and snow began to fall again. But one cold day in April, I suddenly realized I was more disgruntled with being disgruntled than I was about the weather. Everywhere I’d go, people were complaining, practically depressed because warmer temperatures and sunshine had not yet arrived. With long faces and sullen voices they expressed their displeasure. It was the only thing on most everyone’s mind, including mine. If I turned on the television, it was the lead story on the news! People seemed paralyzed with discontent.

I started thinking, I mean seriously thinking about it. In the first place, complaining about the weather is just about the most useless waste of anyone’s time. We can’t change it. Allowing it to dictate our world however is our choice. What is really the big deal? I know we all like spring and the renewal of spirit that it brings, but why do we let bad weather affect us to the point that we can barely function? In the second place, weather is not bad nor good. It just is. It is something we have to deal with and for most of us with warm homes and winter coats, it isn’t a life or death problem. We just make it seem as if it is.

All of that productive time we waste dreaming of what will be could be spent on much better things. The energy that goes into feeling grumpy and droopy could be used much more creatively. I have decided that I don’t want to buy into that negative energy. From now on I am accepting the weather just as it is –at least until November when we’re still wearing summer clothes and sandals.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”


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One Last Dance – first published 5-23-15

When she was younger, our beautiful kitty friend, Ariel used to do this very special thing that made us laugh and endeared her totally to our hearts. Being a Manx, she was somewhat less graceful than other cats. She had only a stump of a tail so her balance was not perfect. Her back legs and hind quarters were shaped more like a rabbit than a cat. She had large back feet that could hop across a room faster than most cats could run. But if she found a tiny piece of lint or paper on the floor, she would elegantly rise up on those big back feet as if she were on her toes and delicately bat that paper with her right front paw while holding her left paw out for balance. We called it her ballet. It had to be a small piece of paper because Miss Ariel was very shy and anything very big frightened her. After the first performance, we often tore up little pieces of paper for further shows. But as she got older she danced less frequently. She still loved to play but mostly lying on the bed, while I ran around and chased the toys she batted. I honestly don’t remember the last time we saw her dance…until…

Ariel was not herself. We were worried sick. Countless trips to the vet. Try this, try that. Pills. Shots. She was so strong and brave. For an elderly kitty she was still doing a lot of the things she always did. She had the loudest purr. She loved sitting on our laps. But we knew. And then one day my husband and I were working in the home office, sitting on either side of the desk. The closet door was open because that is where we kept our files. We heard a sound and looked toward the closet. There was Miss Ariel dancing her way out of the closet with a little piece of paper that she’d found. We both gasped and then cried. The dance lasted only seconds. For just a few seconds she was a kitten again. In those few seconds she took us back through all the years – sixteen of them – that we had shared with her. At first I thought – oh, she must be feeling better; she’s doing her ballet! And then I realized she wasn’t playing with a tiny piece of paper. She was giving us a gift – a gift that I will cherish forever. When I think of her now I don’t see the illness that took her. I see one last ballet.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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Bumps in the Night – New Lessons

My father loved to rearrange the furniture in our house. The furniture would be changed so often, that you didn’t dare walk through in the dark for fear of bumping in to something that wasn’t there before. Not quite so often, but a least once a year he rotated bedrooms. There were three in the house – one for me, one for my older sisters, and one for my parents. I particularly enjoyed the bedroom in the front of the house because there was so much to see out of the front window. I could watch the neighbors come and go and the traffic that was always motoring up and down the street. The other two bedrooms were at the side and back of the house. Not nearly as much going on.

One time however, when I was happily living in the front bedroom, things turned not so happy. Several nights in row, after I had gone to bed, something or someone scratched on my adored front window screen. I hesitated to tell my parents at first, since they were not keen on my stories and always accused me of making things up for attention or to delay going to bed. But after several sleepless and frightened nights, I couldn’t cope with it any longer. I just knew something was trying to get me. I called them into my room and told them my plight. At first, as expected, they doubted my story. To my delight though, the scratching began – with them in the room! My father bolted out the door to the front of the house. A few minutes later he returned with a frond cut from the bush in front of my window. Here’s your scratcher, he said! I was so relieved and felt foolish for being so frightened over nothing, but at the time it sure felt like something to me.

A few weeks later, I heard the phone ring in the middle of the night; then my father’s hushed voice as he stood in the hall and quietly responded. I must have rationalized that it was a wrong number. No one ever called in the night. I woke as usual the next morning, but before I could get out of bed, my mother came in and sat down beside me. She explained that my grandfather had died in his sleep. My dad went there to help his mother. She said I didn’t have to go to school.

Two events. What I feared and worried about for days was nothing. The real tragedy came out of nowhere without worry, without warning. I think that’s how things usually are. We worry and fear things that never come to pass and rarely see the real monster coming. Perhaps we shouldn’t waste that energy over nothing, so we have more strength to defeat the monster when it does come.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

 


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Sunday Dinner – first published 8-6-16

In this highly charged political climate we are living in today, I have come to the conclusion that the biggest problem we face is everyone believes they are right. This belief can cause dire results and sometimes alter the course of one little girl. My parents were solid, 50s parents. They did everything the way they were supposed to, with no wiggle room. Right was right and anything else was wrong.

I was born hating the taste of meat. There is no other explanation for it. When I put meat in my mouth, I would gag. Now, my father was a butcher for most of my growing up years. He would bring home the choicest meats to be prepared for Sunday diner. The worst was roast beef. Mother would blacken the hunk of meat in an iron skillet, pour water over it to cook for a while and then, after church, add potatoes and carrots to the mix. The only seasonings she ever used was salt and pepper. On those unfortunate Sundays, I would awaken to the smell of it cooking. I knew what was coming.

When the family sat down to the table for dinner, a sizable chunk of the dreaded meat would be on my plate. It would begin with encouragement and end with threats. Throughout the whole meal I was berated, belittled and verbally tortured while I begged and cried for them not to make me eat it. After all, I couldn’t. My parents were of the mind that little girls should eat meat and definitely should do as they were told. I ate everything else on my plate but that wasn’t good enough. I was told I wouldn’t be healthy if I didn’t eat that meat. On and on it would go. My sisters would finish their meals and leave the table. Finally and thankfully my father would go and Mother would clear all the dishes, except my plate while I continued to cry. Eventually she’d take my plate without a word. This happened at least once a month for about ten years.

One day I just got up and left the table without eating anything. It ended and was never spoken of again. People all over the world were surviving without eating meat. And I could manage chicken and even pork without gagging, although I didn’t like it. My parents believed they were right and there was no other way than to have this same scenario time and time again. Over the years I have thought of this often. I can’t for the life of me understand why being right, not being open to another opinion was more important than the well-being of a child. What is right is subject to change and it has changed many times in human history. When we are so right that we can’t hear the cries of another, we are wrong.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”


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Never Say Never – New Lessons

Several years ago I decided to get rid of my dishwasher. I have a very small kitchen and wanted the space instead of the convenience. I’ve never really regretted it. Sometimes I‘d rather not do dishes, but it is really no big deal most of the time. As I wash, I spend time looking out the kitchen window into our back yard. It is very relaxing.  We have a carport and lots trees, which entice the birds and squirrels. I can watch the spring flowers blooming, the leaves turning in the fall and most importantly, keep an eye on our outside cats.

About ten years ago, our neighbors moved and abandoned two bonded sisters. These girls are semi-feral so they aren’t too friendly to us but devoted to each other. Over the years, other cats have come and gone, but one other remained, (most of the time) so he, too makes up our outdoor family. Then this past Halloween, a black cat with yellow/orange eyes showed up, (I kid you not) so our total right now is four.

The two girls are beautiful cats. Although they are sisters, and both light yellow striped, one is big and the other is little.  The big one we call Whitey because she almost beige, and the little one is Miss Kitty. From my kitchen window, I can tell when their food bowls are low or their water needs attending. On cold days, I watch for them to come out of their (heated) house, so I can feed them quickly and they can return to shelter. I also watch for anyone who may come along to threaten them – usually another stray cat.

We have a wooden fence along one side of the yard. The fence and the carport make a perfect, dry place to feed the cats. The squirrels run up and down the fence constantly, swooping down now and then for a snack too. The cats used to chase the squirrels, but I think they are too old now to care much about them.  Not too long ago, my husband noticed one of the gray squirrels had a bright red tail! I don’t know how this happened but obviously some ancestor traveled pretty far at one time. I started watching this squirrel every day. Then one day the most amazing thing happened. I had just gone out to feed the cats, who obediently came out of their house to eat, when I saw the red tailed squirrel run down the fence and attack Whitey! It was a full on, lunge at her chest attack. Whitey pulled back with the most startled look on her face. She was more outraged than hurt. This squirrel doesn’t know the rules! The cats may not chase squirrels anymore, but in her day, Whitey was quite a hunter. I was shocked too. I’d never seen anything like that. Squirrels do not attack cats! It is the other way around! I’ve saved many squirrels and birds too over the years.

Nothing is certain in this life. If you had asked me if squirrels attacked cats a few months ago, I would have laughed and said never. Cats eat squirrels! But I saw this with my own eyes. One red tailed super squirrel just didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to do it. It is true that anything is possible. There really are no rules, no limits, no boundaries. If we want to, we can. There is no end to the possibilities if rigid thinking and stagnant inaction don’t interfere. If a squirrel can do it, surely we can too.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”

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Running Away With Puff – first published 2012

My very first major adventure happened when I was just eighteen months old. My mother had been in the back yard, hanging up laundry and my older sisters and I were playing not far away. At some point, Mother went back into the house, telling my sisters to watch me. I don’t remember this of course. I have only been told. I don’t really know what happened. Neither did my mother or my sisters. Mother thought I was outside with my sisters. They either didn’t hear that they were to watch me or got distracted as kids will, or perhaps something more sinister – I don’t really know. They swore that they thought I was inside with my mother. Anyway, I had the opportunity to pick up our big yellow/orange tabby cat, Puff and take off out of the yard. I don’t know whose idea it was really. Maybe I was ready to get out of there or maybe Puff wanted to show me a bit of the neighborhood. However it was I was on my way. And wherever I was going, the one thing of value that I took along was a cat. A little while later Mother got a phone call from a woman who lived several blocks away. Mother didn’t really know her, although they went to the same church. She asked Mother if she was missing something. Mother didn’t have a clue what she was talking about at first. And then panic, mayhem, shouting, and hysteria quickly set in. Clothed only in a diaper, I had carried Puff (who was nearly the same size as me – I’ve seen pictures) down the street, through a busy intersection and on up the road. The woman just happened to be looking out her window and recognized me. My parents always told this as a cautionary tale to pay attention to what they told us. But I always suspected that my mother felt as guilty as she made my sisters feel. It is just so important to pay attention. You never know what might slip by (or toddle away carrying a big yellow cat) if you allow yourself to become complacent to what is going on around you. Evidently I was the only one that day that knew exactly what was going on. Me and Puff were hitting the road.

Teresa Sue McAdams, co-creator of “Today’s Journey Tarot”, co-author of “Today’s Journey Tarot, A Traveler’s Guide”, co-author of “Tarot Meditations, A Journal for Self Discovery”, and author of “Lessons, The Wisdom Within Each Moment”