I was watching my cat the other day. He was sitting in the open glass doorway to the deck looking out over the garden towards the mountains by the ocean in Hout Bay, at the Cape of Good Hope. I was busy and full of big things, multiple projects and conflicting needs. He was sitting and watching. So I got on my knees on the floor and looked out over his shoulder to see what he was seeing. And it was nothing. Nothing. No drama, no movement, no things. Just trees moving in the wind, flowers swaying, clouds flowing over the mountaintops like a waterfall, sunbirds darting from bush to blossom.
And the longer I waited the more appeared. With his hunter’s eye he was watching the flights of sacred ibis curving with the air currents, the nervous darts of the white-eyes jumping in flocks across the trees, and with his feral ears hearing the tiny scratching of shrews in the undergrowth, between the cars droning on the road and the sharp barks of the dogs next doors. And the ibis looked down at us from the air, cat and man crouched in the doorway; a fleeting view and gone.
For a moment my matrix shuddered and i saw through to a new, yet always-present, reality – and then I returned to my, now, small big things. Changed, rewarded and grateful to my cat.
What do we worry about? Some of my most memorable moments and greatest successes have been small, invisible and slow ones. Push and wait, and wait – act and reflect, and reflect – and in uncertainty, move in order to learn.
And that is why I do this work. Some strategies are fast and clever, some slower and more reflective. Learning to see the difference is the art.