“Only he can be an artist who has a religion all his own. An original way of viewing infinity.”Vincent Van Gogh

It is a cliché, but so true, that often our pets are our best friends. Many of our life lessons come from loving another species. They broaden our outlook and expand our skills with communication. They love us in a way that is different from humans. They are authentic and true to their nature.

My first love was a cat named Smoky. He came into my life when I was three and I am sure many of my abandonment issues stem from him. He slept with me every night. I took off my pajama top to feel his luxurious fur against my bare skin.

After living with us for four years, Smoky began spraying my room. Mom said he was marking his territory. He would never stop. She said they would find another home for him where he could live outside. No amount of pleading or begging would change her mind. Smoky must go.

Mom called Aunt Mina who lived in the country, twenty miles away. She arrived with her husband one Saturday morning, put Smoky in a gunnysack, then into the trunk of their car and drove away. I experienced rage for the first time. I would never speak to my parents again.

Aunt Mina called three days later and said Smoky ran away. A year and a half later Smoky walked confidently into our back yard. He had changed. He was huge. He was all tomcat. We weren’t sure it was Smoky until he went in the kitchen where he usually got fed, and after eating a large portion of our chicken dinner, walked to my bedroom and sprayed it thoroughly.

Of course he got to stay. He became the hero of the family and was taken to the vets for his operation to attempt to cure his “tomcat” ways.

That summer we took him to our cabin in the high Sierra. At first Smoky was scared of all the new smells. But once he ventured outside he loved it. He began disappearing for longer periods of time. He stayed out all night. Then he was gone for three days. We were sure something had eaten him.

One night, Smoky scratched on the door of our cabin and woke us. He came in, wild eyed, jumped on my bed, licked my face all over and demanded out. We never saw him again. Daddy said he went wild.

Years later in a writing workshop the teacher gave the assignment to write from the standpoint of an animal. I wrote to Smoky and told him the pain his leaving had caused me. Then I allowed him to write to me. He wrote that when he drank water from a cold stream and crunched the skull of a mouse, he couldn’t go back to Puss n Boots in the kitchen. He had to be true to his greater love – his own true nature.

I was amazed when this message came. It seemed like magic, connecting to the soul of another being through writing. I believed the message to be true. I had tapped into the mind and spirit of Smoky.

He continued, “My greatest hope for you is to find what you love. Give yourself what thrills you and go wild yourself.”

I have found my true nature in performance. Taking an audience on a journey to their deepest selves through my stories has become my spiritual path. It has caused me to drop every guru, every spiritual teaching, and learn to spend long periods of time alone while I look for the perfect words to describe my experience. When I am on stage my eyes turn yellow. Not the eyes themselves but the feeling behind my eyes. They mirror my soul. I am in contact with my true nature. I have gone wild.


Writing Class Prompt:

Find a quiet place and recall the pets you have lived with. Describe their personalities and what you have learned from them. Then see if you can make the leap of writing to yourself from their voice. You will never be the same if you can drop your critical, intellectual mind and enter the place where we are all connected. Try it. Dare to leap into the unknown.

Send it to me.

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