Amid all the tumult in our lives, our 13 year old cat (Dylan) has been exhibiting signs that he's not feeling too good. He's been a bit more cantankerous than usual and he has recently been having trouble motoring around the house. We realized it was time for a physical examination, but Dylan isn't too keen for those sorts of things! Not only does he hiss and scratch, but as a long-haired cat, it's often difficult to see much of anything.
After more poking and prodding that he certainly was interested in, we discovered the source of his irritability. His fur had become so matted around his poo hole that it was serving as a barrier to his ability to remove completely the feces from his body. There, under layers of fur, we found a giant stinky wad of poo!
We (more Della than me) quickly remedied the problem. We filled up the kitchen sink with warm water and sat him in it. Being a cat -- most felines hate water -- he acted like we were trying to remove his head from his body. He struggled and fought, but we kept his bottom end submerged. After what seemed like hours (about 5 minutes), it was very easy to remove the wad of poo as well as the matted fur. In no time at all, he realized what a service we had performed and slipped into his quasi-affectionate self again.
I bring this up not to gross you out -- though I'm sure several of you genuinely are grossed out -- but to make a point about each of us. Like Dylan, our egos can get all wadded up like a mass of matted fur. When we try to jettison negativity, it gets caught up in the wad of our egos and sticks to us like glue. We become irritable and lash out at those close to us. A good deal of the time we don't even notice the wad.
So, it's a good idea to perform a bit of self-examination every so often. If we are patient and look carefully, we will be able to locate the source of our suffering. Once we see what the problem is, then we can untangle the stinky egoic wad which will allow the negativity to fall away.
This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.