“The Cat only grinned . . .”
“Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,” thought Alice; “but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!”
Guidance, Direction, Shaman, Objectivity, Perspective
The Cheshire Cat has pounced into your life to remind you that being able to step outside your own land of wonder may just be the cause of great contentment. The Cheshire Cat is one of the only creatures in Wonderland who smiles, and seemingly constantly at that. In fact, even while his visible existence fades from Alice’s world, his smile remains as a reminder, (and an incentive), that you are not defined and contained by your current, external circumstances. Being able to step outside of them on a regular basis will help you to gain deeper clarity and a better perspective in regards to your current life events, as if perched up high in a tree. In fact, going to a very high place that allows for a slightly removed perspective is a good idea, or, taking a break from a very intense situation, either challenging or joyous, might be a good idea at this time. Almost any great artist will agree that stepping back from one’s work, physically and energetically, will allow for a deeper understanding of one’s process and product. Looking at your life circumstances as your most current and important piece of art, allow yourself to step away from it and look in as if you are a visitor passing by.
The Cheshire Cat also acts as a gatekeeper, though the passage through is only into madness: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” And in such times, when everything has gone mad, then you are free to step outside the normal responses you might have to a situation.
Take this opportunity to do a head stand (when everything is upside down, it’s truly the best way to gain proper perspective)
You are being invited to take a break to gain insight on your current life circumstances; take the shaman’s path of walking between the world of dreams and the world of reality, keeping your feet grounded and your mind elevated. Allow yourself to be in a place of detached observation, and allow yourself to smile into that which you observe, regardless of the circumstances.
Mediation #1 Sit comfortably and breathe deeply as you imagine that you are in a blank space, where there exists nothing but yourself. Now, slowly invite in imagery of a circumstance that is a current part of your life. You are looking out from your own eyes, hearing through your own ears. What are your feelings and thoughts? Now, imagine that you are another person or object in this scenario looking at yourself. What do you feel and think now? What is different about how you experience yourself in this perspective? Now, imagine that you are like The Cheshire Cat, high up in a tree or other high place, and completely removed from the situation, yet still able to observe everything that is taking place. What is your experience now? Really give yourself plenty of time to feel and discover each new perspective. You might, with practice, find yourself becoming able to simultaneously grasp each of these three ways of experiencing a situation while it is occurring. The reward for this practice is alluded to in the lingering smile of The Cheshire Cat.
Meditation #2 Sit comfortably and breathe deeply as you allow a concern to come to you, or you might feel a place of tightness or discomfort in your body. Take a moment to focus on this circumstance, or this part of your body and allow a smile to come to your face. Allow this smile to gently and smoothly travel to this thought or part of your body. You might even imagine the wide grin of the Cheshire Cat slowly appears on this area of focus. Feel the warmth of the smile moving into this area and feel the powerful shifts that can happen by smiling into the physical and emotional and situational discomforts of your life.
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. catnip
Illustration by Matt Fancey - high school artist