Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Cat Who Barked

A Story of Allowing

There was once a cat who was born different. As a kitten when all the other kittens were pouncing on bugs and chasing pieces of string, this kitten would chase after cars and retrieve sticks that were thrown by his master. He even had a strange staccato sounding meow which at times seemed to sound more like a bark.

The other kittens made fun of the strange, different little kitten until he ran off by himself to cry. The mother and father cats saw the kitten acting more like a dog and would tell him, "You are a cat! Cats do not chase after cars and fetch sticks! We pounce and play with string and meow! Be proud of who you are because you are one of life's noblest creatures--a cat!"

As the kitten grew older, his life was filled with such messages until he decided it was too hard to be different. He was lonely, and he was always being told he wasn't doing things right. He decided then and there that he would try to be the best cat he could possibly be.

He worked day and night on his pouncing skills until he became so good at it the other cats where asking him for advice. When the ball of yarn came out, he was the first cat there, chasing it and batting at it with his paws. He was the life of the party! He even worked to try to draw his staccato meow out into a more cat-like sound. He understood what it took to be a great cat, and he did it proudly.

Or so it seemed. While all the other cats admired him and tried to emulate what he did, the now grown cat grew less and less happy. There were times he saw the puppies playing in the yard--chasing after sticks and cars--and he longed for the days when he used to run freely doing what he enjoyed. This cat's lifestyle did not fit who he was. Pretending to act like one was making him miserable.

Finally, the cat made a decision! "I am not going to pretend anymore," he thought! "I may be a cat, but I was not designed to be a normal cat! I am different, and I do not want to hide who I am any longer!"

From that moment on, the cat did all those things that made him happy. He chased after cars. He fetched sticks for his master. More often than not, he joined the puppies playing in the yard because they did all the things he enjoyed, and they didn't make fun of him the way the other cats did.

Although many of the cats began to make fun of him for following his heart, a few of the cats accepted him for who he was. Some of them liked to do uncat-like things as well. Still others admired his strength for going against the crowd and doing what made him happy.

In time, the cat found he became more and more accepted for who he was. He also discovered that, because he had the courage to face the ridicule, other cats were now less afraid to reveal their true selves. More importantly, the joy the cat found in life was much more profound and rewarding than anything he could imagine. He discovered that it is only in being true to yourself--by allowing yourself to use the gifts and talents you were born with--you are able to fulfil your true calling and be at peace.

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