It was early on Sunday morning. Still dark. I heard my five year old cat, Seva, chewing on something. I found a five foot long piece of yarn that the petsitter had left, soaked with Seva’s saliva and thought, “wow, that’s kept her busy this morning.”

“Come on Seva. If you are that hungry let’s go get something to eat.” Breakfast or lunch or snack time, is Seva’s reason for living. She hangs out in the kitchen. We called her Seva Sioux, but then changed it to Seva Sous-Chef because of her love for all things food.

After breakfast, while I was preparing to teach my yoga class, she returned to the soaked string and ate the entire five feet. Just like that. I turned to see the last little colored bit dangling from her jaw, and then vanish into her throat. In a panic I rushed to pry open her mouth, but there was no trace of the end. The look on her face was pleased, a wry smile curled about her sea green eyes. “I ate it mom.”

Two days later she had major surgery. I was informed by the vet that pets and string do not go hand in hand as is commonly believed. Once ingested, if they don’t have the fortune of pooping it out, there must be incisions made along the entire GI tract. It’s incredibly painful, when they wake, and takes weeks to recover. Seva finally came home. But even then I was traumatized by the ordeal, the roller coaster of up and down emotion. She just wasn’t herself. Four days after she returned home, her health regressed. I rushed her to the vet again when she began vomiting. Her healthy five year old kidneys have been poisoned by the dye on the yarn. She’s still on IV fluids at the vet. We’re not sure when she can come home. She may be required to have subcutaneous fluids for the rest of her life.

There I was, wringing my hands, pacing and helpless. I tried to find a distraction to occupy my mind. My nervous system was out of balance. I searched desperately around my mind in a way I have not done for 10-15 years. Maybe I should drink copious amounts of alcohol? What about Marijuana and try smoking myself into oblivion like when I was fourteeen? Or buy three bars of chocolate and eat them all? No. No. No. It dawned on me that I have no ‘drugs.’ I have no means of escape. There’s nothing that eases my mental anguish by taking me away from it. And then it occurred to me. My drug is my breath, my asana and meditation practice. I walked to the closet, rolled out my mat, and began to practice. In roughly five poses, my anxiety lessened, my heart opened, and I found solace. I’ve been doing it just like this for so long now, I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it immediately. I suppose that this new level of pain, over Seva’s suffering and uncertain healing, seemed too big, until I actually began to move. My soul no longer responds to escapism. My solace is in being fully present to the sadness, to all of life. That’s where I am able to surrender and trust, and most importantly, co-create. Seva will heal and return home to wait for meals in the kitchen, once again. And I bet she has forgotten all about that yarn.