Make a decison..then let it go

Fred in the cat pen

We knew that Fred had certain challenges when we adopted him, but were not aware that he didn’t have the ability to find his way home. After 2 very long absences, we realized that if we let him outside, chances were, he would get lost, so we constructed a “cat pen” for him. At first, I felt some guilt that his quality of life wasn’t as good as our other cats, who can come in and out as they please, but my quality of life was greatly diminished by the thought of him wandering around in the wilderness, so I had to make the decision to limit his range, for both his safety and my peace of mind.

Guilt and self-doubt are corrosive energies, and when I feel them, I look at the situation that I am feeling bad over, see if I can make a better decision now, and if not, I drop it. I did this with Fred.  Every time the thought that his life was not as great as our other cats, came up, I said to myself, “I am done with that thought. Fred has the perfect life for him.” Eventually my feelings lined up with this new thought.

After I have made a decision, I do what ever I need to (prayer, affirmations, meditation) to get it out of my conscious mind. If I don’t do this, I’ll start feeling like there is a ping-pong match inside my brain, until I end up with a whopping headache and feel incompetent to make a move lest it be the wrong one. Constantly second-guessing our decisions, and our lives, leaves us feeling unstable, fearful and insecure.  I have enough confidence in the Spirit of Life, that if a better way, than the one that I have chosen, (regarding any situation) is available, I will be shown.

When once a decision is reached, dismiss absolutely all responsibility and care about the outcome.” William James

37 thoughts on “Make a decison..then let it go

  1. Mary,

    I second ,third, and fourth guess myself all the time. I am even doing it as I type. Thank you for addressing this. It is wonderful! I am saving this post and reading it everyday. I need a lot of work in this area.

    Thank you

  2. Fred looks content. He can still watch birds, catch insects. I say he has a good life with you, Mary. You probably treat him, and the others with catnip, and toys.

  3. Yes, definitely the Perfect Post! Thank you! Second guessing and self doubt sap so much energy that moving on is the best action to take!

    Fred is a very lucky kitty, having a taste of both inside and outside but safe! A lovely testament to your keen observation and being in tune with your pets.

    I’ve always had inside/outside cats feeling very strongly that cats need to enjoy grass, trees, etc. However I’ve spent many anxious hours calling and watching for ones to come home.They do love to disappear.

    When we moved to Vermont I adopted one kitty who had been brought into my vet’s office as a stray. Because she had been used to being outside and fending for herself, she is allowed outside and so far comes quickly when enticed by a rattle of the treat container. Another one recently adopted from a kennel was used to being inside only so I opted to keep him that way. My first cat ever to be indoors only, and I can’t tell you how relaxing that is for me. No more heart in my throat of he disappears for longer than I expect, let alone being out overnight which I have to fight with my first kitty about almost on a daily basis.

    Thanks a million Mary for wise words and heartwarming stories,
    From Fran

  4. “a ping-pong match inside my brain”…Mary, great image thank you …
    helps me to continue to attempt more self-care in 2012…

    … in yesterday’s blog…. Maud mentioned “cultivate” (thanks, Maud)
    this is a great word for me in this fallow time of year…
    …cultivate self-care in all seasons…

  5. The last two days have me thinking a lot about fear, especially about getting it wrong… the only sure way to never make a mistake is to never do anything. Even that could be an action that is a mistake. No way out except to live? I guess that’s where the faith and trust comes into it.

  6. Letting go of a decision . . . sometimes hard to do but it feels so good when I have made it and can let it be! Thank you! I have had a concern regarding my mother lately and solved the dilemma the other day with a simple soultion that might work for someone with a similar problem. I am hard of hearing and I worry about Mom at night, I could never hear her if she called out for me while I was in bed. I found wireless doorbells at the hardware store (with 2 push buttons). I installed one push bell by her bed and the other in her bathroom. I plugged the bell ringer in the outlet next to my bed and set it on the loudest ring. Now if she needs me all she has to do is push the doorbell. It has already worked for us and the bell is loud enough to wake me. A concern I can remove from my worry box!

  7. Fred’s “cat cage” brings back vivid memories! Back in the 90’s (seems so long ago), we had 10 cats (9 girls and a solo boy). All (of course) were rescues.
    We installed a “cat fence” (atop the existing fence), that we found advertised in “Cat Fancy Magazine.” The fence was made of soft mesh fabric and installed at a 45 degree angle that sloped inward. The structure kept our brood inside,where they could play, chase, nibble grass/catnip and doze, all in the safety of our back yard. What a find! Safe, happy cats and a grateful “Mom Cat!”

    As always, enjoyed your sharing Mary and that of our fellow bloggers.

  8. Our two orange boys, Oscar and Felix are inside-only cats….coyotes and bobcats come so close to the house on a daily basis that fending for themselves would indeed mean they’d be someone’s dinner .

    Oscar and Felix have only known inside-living since birth…..I’m quite sure they’ve never worried about the decision to make their world within these walls…they LOVE their life!.

    Thanks for this post….it reminds me that making decisions can be really simple and empowering when we trust the process, and those decisions can create our world to be perfection!

  9. I so relate to this post, Mary. I’ve spent a lot of time second guessing myself, so influenced by the opinions of others or the “norms of society”. I continue to work on this and find I am trusting in myself more and more. Funny, our society values youth so much, we are bombarded with images and messages that to be young and beautiful is all there is. My observation is, as we age we come to know ourselves, our truth, and can rest in the knowledge that our decisions, choices are best for us.
    Jo Anne, I loved your clever solution! I’m sure you and your mother both rest easier.

  10. Thank you Mary. This is something I am working with and your sharing has supported my effort.
    I love your quotes from William James. Would you mind sharing with us what writing of his you draw these from?

  11. Fred doesn’t look at all deprived in his cat pen Mary, anymore than little kids would feel constrained by a fenced in back yard. You’re just doing what is right for him, as any good Mom would do. I love the quote – went right into my WWF folder even before reading the responses. I, too, loved that image of playing ping pong in the mind – when what we really need to do is whack those worry balls right out of our brain ‘pen’ and out to pasture! Maybe that’s why, once in a while anyway, housework feels so therapeutic, especially something as simple as sweeping. Last week you shared feeling lighter after a good run Mary, – whatever was troubling you seemed to lift. Sweeping my patio yesterday did the same for me. Dust and debris swept aside, I felt lighter in my mind too, – sunshine, fresh air, all those ingredients available to us at all times. They really can help lift the spirit. Speaking of, I am off to walk with my dogs now. A good day to all.

  12. Oh, yes, what memories.
    Even though Fitz was almost a year old when I found him, I actually tried to keep him inside the fence line by stretching chicken wire all atop of the fence line. Scary things outside that fence line….dogs, other feral cats, possible coyotes, getting trapped somewhere. Boy, did the fear factor run rampant.
    Well, my attempt at containing him did not work. My neighbors would see me at night yelling for him to come in and then on the other side of the fence chasing him back over through the hole he created.
    One day I had a note left at my door from the animal shelter saying I needed a permit for a cat sanctuary! I looked at my attempt at keeping him in and thought…all this work and stress for one cat! I took it all down very soon after that. Shaking a bag of his kitty treats works much better although still a challenge at first.
    In the past, I have had a few nights when I was up till midnight and one night when I was up till 2 am until Fitz finally knocked his head thru the kitty door. Luckily, he is older now and much happier to stay right around home.
    I am very happy about that.

  13. Guilt and self doubt corroded my Christmas Spirit this year and I want to be done with them! I have a bad mental habit of second guessing the gifts that i decide on or thinking that they are “not enough”. As if the gift I give or send will make or break that person’s holiday. Since I put myself through this painful wringer, I feel like not “gift giving” at all next year. But then, I do love gift-giving… is the self doubt that I hate and want to give up, not the gift-giving. And then there’s the guilt of Not being there in the moment when someone wanted my attention to watch them open a gift, or be at the right place, at the right time, AND in a th right mood to please all of the people all of the time during the whole of the Holiday Season. This year, I totally lost the spirit (Spirituality) of the Season. Not everyday, all the time…but just enough to feel depleted….still. HELP. – 😦 MRS.

  14. I have a wonderful, lovable cat who belonged to two cousins before coming to me. Sniffles, too, has always been an outdoor cat, and I’m sure taken care of several acres of rodents. Thankfully, she hates cold, wind, and snow and turns into an indoor cat for the winter. It’s wonderful having her around the house and not being concerned.

    Thank you, Mary, for the William James quote. I’ve been struggling with a monetary problem and finally made a decision this morning that I’m not second guessing.

    Happy New Year to all! I have been reading all the posts but I’ve just kept hopping even after the holidays.

    Blessing and Peace for 2012.

  15. Just back from my walk and as happens many times, Spirit decided to sSpin the Jingles in the Jukebox of my mind, and I kept hearing, “whatever will be, will be”, and then the tune followed, “Que sera, sera!” I remember this song SO well from childhood, as I am sure many of you do if you grew up anytime in the ’50’s. I was pretty sure it was Doris Day so I ‘you-tubed’ the song, and sure enough, here is Doris singing (and making beds in high heels a la 50’s) – maybe this will restore a little cheer to you Mary Rita. I am sure your gifts were perfect and delighted anyone lucky enough to have you for a friend or family member. Que sera, sera!

  16. Another timely post, Mary…timely, in that I am attempting to re-make myself, and this is one of my self-annoyances: second guessing. It’s not only a huge waste of time, it also feeds self-doubt big time. And so, I’m putting this quote in my book of favorites as I attempt to walk down a new path.

    As for Fred, you are a colossal steward of your animals. Fred is one lucky cat-dude!

  17. As I looked at Fred’s picture, I thought: If we could only create a ‘cat-ch pen’ in our ever- bouncing monkey minds, then let the dueling guessing and decisions have a rubber match to themselves while I go about my business…. Who wins, who cares?—I left the game early!! It’s easier to be an observer than a participant.

  18. Wonderful message and oh, so true. It’s not easy to stop rethinking everything but certainly improves mental health!
    Fred is content and your solution made you both happy. The things we do for love are amazing.

  19. Taking on the responsibility of a pet, we also take on the responsibility of making decisions for their lives. Fred obviously has a very good and safe life with you in his very nice cat pen. A friend of mine has lost several cats to coyotes (I have lost one) and designed a cage similar to yours for her cats safety. They go in and out of the basement of her home on their own but directly into a large covered wire cage. The safety of the animal comes first. However, William James quote leaves me a little uneasy in both its truth and in my feeling that “once a decision is reached, dismiss absolutely all responsibility and care about the outcome.” I feel that once a decision is made, it’s made in good faith and it is often hard to let it go and not belabour it. This is not good. On the other hand, I can’t live with dismissing absolutely all responsibility and care about the outcome. I struggle with that, Mary.

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