Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Choosing to Be: Lessons in Living from a Feline Zen Master by Kat Tansey

Choosing to Be: Lesson in Living from a Feline Zen Master is a fictional account of how author Kat Tansey overcame depression by learning and practicing meditation. With help from her beloved cat, Poohbear, the feline Zen master; Catzenbear, the new kitten; and some human teachers, Kat outlines her journey on the road to recovery.

A delightful, insightful and peaceful read. I enjoyed it immensely. Her writing is serene and Zen-like. It instantly made me relax. I'm so used to reading thrillers and mysteries which leave me pumped up and a little anxious. This book was a nice respite from that.

I love how Tansey blends her real life depression with advice from her fictitious talking cat. Oh, the cat is real, I just don't think he actually talks. However, if Tansey had said he talked, I'd believe her. I love cats. Unfortunately, I also have an allergy to them. I do, however, try to have contact with them as much as possible and just put up with the symptoms. Other family members have cats as do many of our neighbours. When I see these cats, I greet them as friends. I always thought they were special. Tansey just confirmed my suspicions. Poohbear and Catzenbear were Maine Coons. It's not a breed I'm that familiar with. I'll have to do a little searching on the internet for more information.

Each chapter in this book starts with an inspirational quote and a relevant photo of one of the cats. The quotes are wonderful and each photo is adorable. The cover photo is my favourite. The look on Poohbear's face is enough to stop anyone in their tracks. You just know he's important and intelligent. I'd certainly follow any advice he gave. ;)

While I found most of the story light-hearted and soothing, I became emotional when Kat was describing her relationship with her father. It came on suddenly and surprised me. I think it reminded me of my relationship with my father which wasn't as close and loving as it should have been.

Tansey provides some suggestions for further reading on Buddhism and meditation. She also provides additional information on her website. It's definitely worth a visit or two.

Highly recommended for cat lovers, those interested in meditation or for anyone trying to overcome depression.

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