Cat Black Coffee

Cat Black Coffeea prose poem

My black cat sits next to me on the front porch. She likes to have her own chair, space for preening her paws and yawning. It’s nice to have a companion on mornings like these, especially one who is not waiting for life to begin—one who doesn’t have room for boredom or unease. She sees a flutter of sparrow wing in the grass and knows her purpose, leaving our conversation to be one-sided once again.

A friend gifted me with this coffee cup depicting a fox staring intently from in front of a line of winter trees. She is a vixen I assume, meant to honor my old pseudonym. There is something about how she looks out at me from the ceramic, like mockery almost. She is daring me to claim her name. 

Humans are such solipsists, personifying everything, and attributing our successes and failures to divine guides. We are so caught up in our circuitous thoughts that we must spin stories around everything, keeping ourselves split between futures and pasts, and leaving our present lives vacant and unlived.

The cat is long-gone and my coffee is cold. The early sun has broken the tree line, and I squint, wondering about a day that hasn’t happened yet.

©Skye Nicholson 2022

Leena, my morning companion

I have always been a thinker, an analyzer, a dreamer, a ruminator. Perhaps you can relate!

Over the years, as I’ve begun integrating meditation into my life and reading the spiritual teachers of our time, I am understanding more and more how I am the one in control of my thoughts. I get to decide how much I attach to them, or if allow my over-active mind to dictate my happiness (or lack thereof).

Thinking itself is not wrong or bad, rather it is the mindless (pun intended 🙄) following of our thoughts out of the present moment that causes stress. My dad is fond of the saying “wandering off into the broccoli.” (I think it comes out of his rural Indiana roots, like saying “shima-toya!” when getting tongue-tied, which drives my mother crazy.) But I like this phrase – and not just because our brains bear striking similarities to heads of broccoli: 🧠🥦

Discovering that I have the power to shift my subconscious thought patterns through awareness and inquiry was a game-changer. When I find myself caught up in worry, or hanging onto a resentment or judgement (often about my spouse…you know how that is!), I am usually able to work through it and release it. That is, IF I can become aware that my mind is spinning on overdrive.

Sometimes those repetitive thought patterns are so subconscious, so familiar, so…comfortable, that we don’t even realize that we are stuck in them. We find ourselves anxious or snappy, grouchy or distracted, and yet we are unable to recognize the source… which is – SPOILER ALERT! – our very own uninvestigated thoughts about something.

I see so many people going through life with a backpack – no, a UHAUL – full of grudges and judgments and anxieties. They drag these thoughts around with them like an extra limb, not realizing that they can park that shit at the curb and walk away!

We are each responsible for our own joy or suffering – through the amount of time and energy we choose to dedicate to positive or negative thought patterns.

I’m not always perfect at this (ahem, understatement). But I’m working on it. I’ve got friends and loved ones (and cats) who are willing to call me out if I’m exhibiting signs of constipated rumination.

[For further reading on this topic, I recommend Loving What Is by Byron Katie]

As a mother of two young children, Skye Nicholson found freedom from alcohol addiction in 2018. She is a certified This Naked Mind empowerment coach, paying it forward by helping others to find freedom from what may be holding them back. Her book Unexpected Alchemy: Poems of Addiction and Awakening is available on Amazon.

To learn how EMPOWERMENT COACHING might help you
unravel negative thought patterns in your life,
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