Harmony Yoga Retreat | Yelapa, Mexico

This was my first time out of the country and my first yoga retreat, so it was an amazing adventure, to say the least.

Yoga Journal Conference Midwest

Dharma Mittra, Seane Corn, Aadil Pakhilivala, Maty Ezraty, Jim Bennitt... Need I say more?

Monday, December 3

Truth + Life Energy | Qi

 Qi: (also chi or ch'i) is an active principle forming part of any living thing. Qi is frequently translated as life energy, life force, or energy flow. The literal translation of "qi" is breath or air.

I have never understood how people aren't "animal people." Allergic, sure. Scared by an incident, ok. But for no reason what-so-ever... how? For one simple word alone, should at least spark your interest: Truth. Animals at all times—in all states—in all personalities are showing you truth. Raw truth. It's incredibly beautiful, and if you just sit quietly with any animal long enough you'll experience it.

This weekend I lost my own life force, my own energy flow, my own truth. His name is Qi (I pronounce it Chee). I spent half my life with him... just a few months shy of 18 years.  We've lived together longer than anyone else in my life—mom and dad included. Qi was a gift from my dad for my first apartment. When we went to pick out the kitten, one of them jumped immediately into my arms. I said, "Dad, this is the one!" And he double-checked, "Are you sure?" Just then I looked at the other kitten, standing on his hind legs on top of a box, leaning over to see what was going on... he leaned over so far... he fell on his head. "Uh, no, that is definitely my cat."

A little bit about siamese cats from ole wiki (which I agree, on every detail):
Siamese are usually very affectionate and intelligent cats, renowned for their social nature. Many enjoy being with people and are sometimes described as "extroverts." Often they bond strongly to a single person. Some Siamese are extremely vocal, with a loud, low-pitched voice, that has been compared to the cries of a human baby, and persistent in demanding attention. These cats are typically active and playful, even as adults, and are often described as more dog-like in behavior than other cats.
I'll also add, they are nurturing and protective. Qi spent his 18 years taking care of me, not me taking care of him. He knew I was home before I opened the door (even when I parked a block away from my 2nd story apartment, I could hear him crying for me to get inside). When I was home, all his time was spent with me until his last month of being sick. And even then we'd cuddle 2-3 times a day for hours before he went back to his comfort space he created under my bed, directly atop the heat vent. I always referred to him as the Grand Poobah—for his silent fatherly moments with Tate (the youngest cat and his bestfriend), his gentlemanly moments for Mariah (the independent lady of the house), his buddha-esque ways of patience, kindness, and love for all of us. We all just knew he was in charge, and we really didn't want it any other way because he was the old soul who knew better than all of us put together. As a result, the three of us are a little bit lost right now.

On Qi's last night I went up to give him his last set of pills—he had been fighting liver and kidney failure for over five years and was now up to seven different pills daily and an IV every other day. I crawled under the bed, where he'd made his little home. He was sleeping. It actually scared me at first, but then he opened his eyes and I let out a sigh of relief. See, a week ago the vet had given me the ok to put him to sleep whenever I thought it was time. What a horrible thing for any person to take on—deciding some other soul's "time." Even though Qi had taken to my bedroom 24/7, he was still getting up to go to the bathroom, eat his food, and purr through our cuddling sessions. To me, that was still independence, and I couldn't take that away from him. So I just waited for his sign—hoping he'd tell me.

When I pulled him out from under the bed, I quickly went to give him his pills. He spit them out. Drool everywhere. I didn't understand. I picked him up and put him on the bed. He wanted down. I won't go through the next half hour in detail, but I am grateful that it ended with him in my arms... in our home, curled up together under our bed, naturally, thanking him, telling him how much I love him, and making sure he knew just how much I would miss him. I cried so much. I am still crying. So much.

When my father passed away I avoided people for a couple weeks and then had to go back to work. I remember the ridiculous things people would say to me. I learned then, there are no words of comfort, there are no gestures of relief... there are only those around you that you know went through similar loss that make you feel ok for any response you have at any given time. Those who love you greatly, but haven't lost, you wish you had the energy to comfort them. Because the look in their eyes—searching for ways to make you feel better, to take the pain away—is hard to respond to. Less than a month later, the rest of the world has moved on. Six months later, people honestly don't know the reason when they ask you "What's wrong?" The American way of life has stripped away our right to grieve and mourn. So you can imagine my concern with facing the world over the loss of "just a cat." That phrase alone makes my stomach turn.

Before I took Qi to the vet to be cremated we did a few things. He laid on my belly one last time as I read us to sleep. I made sure Tate and Mariah had as much time as they wanted sleeping next to their friend, their brother, their grand poobah. I trimmed some of Tate's hair and some of Mariah's—which I tucked under the braid of of my own hair I tied around his sweet little paw (the same paw he regularly stretched out over me to pull me in closer). The mala I had tied under the bed to bring Qi stability, strength, and peace I removed and draped over him. I wanted it to soak up every last bit of him, so I could carry his wisdom with me wherever I go.

I miss my friend, so very much. My life will never be the same—he changed me from the second we met and it all was so very clear just how much he changed me the second he left. There will never be a bond like ours—it was just that special. Until we meet again, my friend, I will miss you and be grateful for the lessons and memories you left with me.

namaste, Qi, namaste
February 1995 - November 2012