I’m not a cat person! I held this sense of identity for years, almost like a badge of honour. “I don’t like cats! They’re so indifferent.” (I had a whole range of excuses to back up my identity). Layered behind that were many reasons for holding myself closed, including unresolved grief over losing my last two pets and lacking confidence that I could handle more responsibility on top of two children. All sounds perfectly reasonable, right! So I kept telling myself. Then along came Pixie.
It was 7pm on a Saturday night, sitting in the middle of the bush in our weekend sheds. “Meow”. We had a visitor. Pixie the stray cat. Over the next week that it took to find her owner, we fell in love. She was such lovely company for me as I worked at my desk. The room was alive with energy every time I walked in and was greeted warmly by her. With that small bit of company, it seemed easier to spend time at my desk and there was always someone to bounce ideas off; and yes, she always concurred! My creativity flourished.
I was sad to let go of Pixie. The ‘non-cat person’ had proved to herself she could take care of a cat and loved doing it. My sense of identity had expanded through circumstance and I allowed myself to bring something new into my life, albeit just a cat. Pixie bought so many gifts to this family and she was certainly divine intervention.
But this story has a happy ending beyond my expanded identity, flowing creativity and resolved grief – A week after finding Pixie’s owners, we adopted two kittens from the RSPCA. I call them my mismatched celestial twins – Venus and Osiris Waters. They are merrily tearing up the Christmas tree and pulling off decorations and looking really cute doing it. They also bring with them a lovely verve and grace, all at the same time. I spend more time each day just watching them play and entering into a calm space perfectly designed for creative refreshment. I laugh at their antics and wonder why I’d ever decided, “I’m not a cat person”.
I have asked myself over the last month how many other decisions I’ve made, consciously or otherwise, about who I am. How many excuses and woundings have I have covered by limiting my sense of identity? I wonder what consequences those decisions about my identity have made to my creativity? Rather than wait for circumstance, I am actively seeking ways to expand my sense of self and letting the new come in.
As we enter into the festive season and find that little extra time for reflection, I encourage you to give yourself the greatest gift this Christmas – the gift of an expanded identity. Out of your identity, the rest of life flows – your beliefs, your choices and your outcomes.