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Home / Articles / Columnists / On the Bright Side /  Finding Your Zen Zone
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Tuesday, September 12,2023

Finding Your Zen Zone

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  
Cats are the best. Or the worst, depending on whether or not they have chosen you as their human. I have the best cat in the world, but my husband is lucky to get so much as a snub with tail in the air – the only form of attention she gives him. Cat behavior is a mystery, even to the skilled and experienced, but one thing is for sure: they know their Zen zone.

As I write, my cat is trying to settle herself on my keyboard – as I’m typing. Think she cares that it is preventing me from doing what I need to do? Nope. She loves me and she loves the lamp on my desk and she loves the warmth of the computer. So she is snuggling and purring and to her, it is all good. So I attempt to type with my fingers under her belly so as not to disturb the little princess, because she is so content! But she begins to attack my fingers, because they’re in her way. She can’t fully relax. Guiltridden, I shoo her off and redirect her to the lamp, but she’s had enough of me, and settles for the floor, where she rolls around, grabs a toy, rolls around a bit more, and then starts preening her already immaculate fur and claws. She’s a hoot to watch.

Of course it’s unrealistic for adults to go around behaving like cats, and just doing whatever we want, whenever we want. Adulthood comes with responsibilities. It is our job to keep things together, so kids can be kids and cats can be cats. So if you don’t have time to stare at your cat for hours, or to sit still in deep contemplation, you can still find your Zen Zone. It requires nothing more than deep focus on the breathing you are doing right here, right now, and being grateful for it. If something or someone creates discomfort around you, shift your gaze inside and breathe.

Now if this doesn’t work, if you find yourself in a situation where the annoyance is conducting a meeting you are attending, or even trying to have a direct conversation with you, you may need a stronger antidote. And since novocaine doesn’t really work in this situation, you can find your own escape.

Still focus inward. Still breathe. And notice. Are your muscles tense? Relax them as you breathe. Is there a pleasant scent you can focus on? Something pretty to look at, like a painting or a tree or a blue sky? Or how about remembering for a moment that the person you have decided is bugging you is not really that person at all, moment. Let go. Ahhhh. Yes. Do this every Now and Zen, and the world will be a better place. And if that doesn’t work, spin around really fast a few times and fall down laughing, like a little kid, or a puppy, or a cat. It may not be practical, but it will pump endorphins to your brain for a momentary bliss.


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