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“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.” ~ Carl Jung

Very few things are simultaneously as loving and painful as a kneading cat. Believe me, I would know; my cat, Wizard, is a twenty-pound bag of melted sugar and he regularly dispenses his love through the rhythmic action of his lion-sized paws.

Yesterday morning I was in for another dose of loving – Wizard jumped up on my chest while I was laying down on the couch still wearing pajamas and began walking over me in circles, lovingly kneading his way to sleep. Since I was wearing thin satin pajamas, his claws were pushing right through the material as easily as a knife slicing through butter.

He was too cute for me to push him away – his eyes were dreamy and he was purring madly – so I just held my breath whenever I felt pain. Thankfully, the slippery material caused him to slide down a couple of inches, and his paws came to rest where the shirt overlapped the pajama bottoms – instant relief! The double layer of material stopped his claws from reaching the skin. After a few moments of kneading pleasure, Wizard went to sleep. I laid there and rubbed his head, listening to him while he still purred in pure bliss. I was glad I didn’t interrupt his happy dance, as his loving actions provided a priceless portion of food for thought.

All along, Wizard never meant to hurt me – his intent was constantly motivated by love, regardless of the spot he was kneading. What made all the difference was not a change in his kneading pattern, but my own shield of protection provided by an extra layer of material.

When we are hurt by someone’s words or actions, the pain we feel may not necessarily be caused by the words or actions themselves, but by our heightened sensitivity triggered in that particular situation. Salt poured over healthy skin is merely irritating, but it is downright excruciating when sprinkled over an open wound.

Taking notice of what upsets us allows us the opportunity to see the parts of ourselves that are in need of healing. I believe that certain people and situations are placed in our lives to help us grow and heal; when someone or something causes us to feel pain, we gain insight over a “sore spot” within ourselves that needs to be addressed. Once the weak point is identified, steps can be taken to raise a better shield – it is impossible to heal something until we know what it is, the same way that we can’ t fix something until we know what part of it is broken.

People speak and act out of their own sorrows and joys, rarely even knowing how deeply their actions and words will affect us, and by causing strife they show us our strengths and weaknesses. Once the weaknesses are dealt with, those words and actions will simply slide off like a cat on satin pajamas.

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