Two things we don’t typically think go together: ascension and a small kitten.
I recently saw the image of a fuzzy kitten, seemly appearing to climb the wall. And the word, “Ascension” was written just under his little feet.
We’re trying to get to higher ground, aren’t we?
Goals, any form of personal crisis, and trauma moments often spur us on. We want more than the low-level experiences we have found ourselves surviving in.
How many of us are discouraged, depressed, or despairing right now?
We’re all struggling, aren’t we?
I don’t know about you but looking at an overcoming kitten helps in the life-affirming department. A cute reminder of nature at work. A small animal with the indomitable spirit can, in times like these, be our victorious surrogate.
At the very least, it gives us a heart moment and something cute to look at.
But if we look at this unassuming kitten just a little more, what else can we, perhaps, see?
First, the Little Guy Got the Notion to Climb:
Maybe it’s the claws. Feline instinct?
Whatever is going on, the kitten climbs, therefore, he is.
Survival instinct is strong. The kitten decides to climb higher. Obtain a better vantage point. Explore. Survey from higher ground. See what else is out there in life.
Curiosity: it not just for cats anymore.
Curiosity is the passion fuel to get us unstuck from one level or experience to another. And yes, there’s risk, there’s danger attached to curiosity.
We might get hurt.
We might fall.
We might be disappointed by what we find at the end of our curious climb.
But I believe we have the curious notion, like our kitten friend here, because there is more for us than what we experience here and now. We are meant to grow. We are meant to improve. We are meant to be rewarded with love, joy, new information.
That comes through curiosity. It’s noble, brave, and underestimated.
Just like the Ascension Kitty doing the climbing here.
“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to0 be. we are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happens better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.”
“Don’t Hesitate,” Mary Oliver
The Kitten Doesn’t Know He’s a Small Kitten:
This little guy hasn’t gotten mobbed by feline naysayers telling him he can’t go higher in life. He cannot climb. He’s too little. He’s too young.
The kitten isn’t discouraged. Determined climbing body posture. Fuzzy face set like flint straight ahead. Claws dug into the wall.
The little guy doesn’t know he could fail. He doesn’t know that’s he’s incapable. He doesn’t know he’s too “this or that,” not enough “this or that.” There’s no doubt, no second-guessing.
He hasn’t had anyone tell him lies about his identity.
Or maybe he has. Perhaps, a bratty littermate or nervous mother cat tried to shelter or thwart his adventurous nature. It could be for many reasons and agendas: fear, selfishness, envy, ignorance. It’s possible these things exist even in the feline kingdom.
They certainly do in the human one.
You and I have more complicated lives than this kitten. Most of us have had rooms full of naysayers, as we try to climb along in experiences.
And it usually can be reduced to some skewed version of these two questions:
“Who told you that?”
“Who taught you that?”
And then the third biggie…
“Why did they tell/teach you that?”
Ascending often means transcending inaccurate and harmful information. You and I were not taught correctly about who we were as individuals, for whatever reason.
Once we can know, process, and accept that, then we can more readily allow ourselves the climb, because we are supposed to make our climb!
Ascension Kitty is making his.
The Kitten Is Looking Up, To Where He Wants to Go, Up, Not Down:
I’ve had a lot of kittens in my life. I’ve encountered many of them shooting up at tree or a cat tower with furious vigor. They are determined. No looking back. And, of course, no looking down. They think their idea of the sprinting climb is the greatest idea ever.
And then, after these kittens reach the apex, they realize how high they are. And here is usually where I’d usually hear the mews of distress. They look down. They freak out.
That kind of thing, usually.
But those kittens got up there. They did it. They didn’t weigh pros and cons.
No second thoughts.
It’s about the spirit of only looking up, not down. It’s a spirit, a perspective of believing there’s something good ahead. A kitten has it, in its innocence, in its inexperience.
Likewise, we can also have that same spirit. Some call it naiveté; some call it ignorance.
Yet, that innocent enthusiasm has its place, and its merit. It’s the joy of life, the pursuit of what’s meaningful and important to us. That will get us scurrying up the proverbial tree, the prospect of the better, the exciting desires of our hearts.
And, yes, like the mewing kitten, many of us find ourselves is situations that were far easier to get into, than out of. Sometimes, we get in a jam. Sometimes, we find ourselves in over our heads.
Yet, even in those outcomes, we grow. We learn. If nothing else, like the mewing kitten, focused on ascension of some kind, we learn how to speak up, maybe even ask for help.
That keeps us climbing. The climb may appear to be more subtle, but it’s still climbing, nonetheless.
There is the Presence of a Soft Landing:
Looking at this image of Ascension Kitty, I see there is also a folded, more than likely, Care Bear blanket, just underneath him.
There is the soft landing. If the little furry feline falls, something is there to make it hurt less.
Here’s the cliché point of support.
Ideally, yes, we would have every bit of the healthy support in the world around us as we endeavor our personal life climbs.
Support, our symbolic Care Bear blankets, can be loving, healthy, human interaction.
Life, however, unfortunately, is not always that ideal. Sometimes, there is no Care Bear blanket underneath us. Sometimes, it has holes in it. That’s more realistic.
Yes, for many of us, family and friends cannot meet our support needs.
Then, therapy is our ideal go-to option. It’s not without its climbing challenges to our tender kitten selves.
Trauma counseling, for example, can feel, to us, like everything is getting upended. It can feel like anything but a soft Care Bear blanket.
Yet healing is there. Unearthing the painful wound, exposing it to light and air can start our ascension process, even if all we “feel” at the time is that we are descending into a deeper pit.
For those of us not able to access therapy?
Care Bear blankets can take forms of “warm lines,” journaling, and continuing to believe in the power of the start…
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Getting help, especially within our landscape now, is far from simple. Searching, seeking, asking, praying, sometimes, begging, can all be involved in the ascension process.
We will fall; we will fail. But Ascension Kitty reminds us that climbing happens. It’s faith in the reality that climbing happens. For you. For me.
The Care Bear blanket is another perspective, another perspective, outside of us, operating WITHIN US, that we NEED.
If a Kitten Can Do It, We Can Too:
As long as there is breath in the body, there is hope.
As long as there is breath in the body, there is the climb. There is the ascension. Don’t doubt, minimize, or throw away yours.
An unlikely, presumably, weak kitten made that climb.
What was the story AFTER the photo was snapped? Probably, a lot like our stories: falling, failure, advancing, victory, resilience, heartbreak, exhilaration, and life.
“They” say that struggles for life denote the presence of life.
I believe ascension can be found there as well.
Are we up to being mentored by this kitten? Will we join the little guy there, in the climb?
Copyright © 2022 by Sheryle Cruse