The path of least resistance

Thanks to the incredible generosity of Jacob, Jenna and I have spent the day sniffling into kleenex and croaking through sore throats. The Great Cold of 2015 has officially swept through our house – hopefully to pass out just as quickly.The good thing is that we were all able to stop and rest and allow ourselves to get healthy again.

With this time on my hands today I’ve taken the opportunity (when not engaged in a Golden Girl’s marathon with Jenna) to observe how Aladdin functions in our house. His passiveness, or constantly choosing the path of least resistance is something I’ve noticed about him since the day he came to live with us. He came to us a couple of weeks after I’d gone and listened to a sermon by a cousin of mine on forgiveness. In this talk, she mentioned turning the other cheek and how it is possible to “win” a confrontation by being non-aggressive and non-confrontational.  I understood the concept, but still had some difficulty imagining it working in real life.

Until I met Aladdin. He is a real life lesson in how this is possible and how it works not only for him, but for those who engage with him.

One of his first confrontations was with Dottie the Dotted Dog. She has been well-trained by Ella the Cat that one does not chase the cat. She knows not to chase the cats at my parents’ house, but she was taught by the other dogs here (and her willing spirit) that the barn cats are fair game. When Aladdin came downstairs for the first time he was greeted by a very excited and curious Dottie. Her ears perked up and she bolted over towards him with body language that said cat, cat, I’m going to chase the cat. Run cat, I’m coming for you! Instead of running, which would have been my natural reaction, he simply lay down and rolled on his back.

Dottie didn’t know what to do. She bounded up to him and he just lay there, paws waving in the air, belly exposed. She stood and stared at him, sniffed him, and then backed away with a confused look on her face. The one and only time she’s ever tried to chase him – he ended it by being a pacifist and choosing the path of least resistance.

What the heck?? 
Dottie does not understand this at all   
 He does this wherever he goes. If something startles him instead of growling or hissing or running,  he stops where he is and lies down. He is not a coward at all. In fact I think he’s quite a trusting and  brave (not so) little guy. Both he and Abu had a rough first year and lived in a lot of uncertainty and fear (I know how devastating those emotions can be on a soul). Instead of being a fraidy cat or being an angry cat he just keeps living his life. He’s social and wants to be around us, so he comes out and hangs with us and deals with whatever that situation throws at him. He has decided that he trusts us and so he does, completely and whole-heartedly. I admire that, it takes a great deal of strength to just keep on being who you are and not retaliating to difficult situations with anger and fear.

By watching him I am learning how to deal with situations without using fear, anger, or aggression. He knows how to diffuse a situation by seeming to submit when in reality that is the last thing he is doing. When Dottie approached him it appeared that he submitted to her by lying down and rolling over. What he really did was gain his power in a non-violent manner by diffusing a difficult and stressful situation in an unexpected way. It not only stopped her from chasing him, but in the process he gained her (an my) respect.

I got to spend a lot of time cuddling on the couch with him (and Ella, who has also decided that since he just cozies up to her purring that she may as well be friends with him), while Jenna cuddled with Abu and Dottie ran back and forth. It was a good sick day and we are both feeling a lot better for the fact that we could take the time to rest and get better.

Happiness moment was lying on the couch cuddled up with cats and kid watching Golden Girls. As always I am grateful for the time I spend with them and love that the kids want to share their journey with me.


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