People say we ought to learn to look at the world through the eyes of a child. If we could only recapture the wonder and the curiosity of a child, we could shed our jaded ways be open to new things instead of skeptical and cautious. I have a better idea. We should learn to look at the world through the eyes of a cat, or more precisely, a kitten. Neko has been with us for about 9 weeks now. He came to us as a less-than 2 lb little orange ball with bright blue eyes. Even on unsteady legs he was determined to explore everything, including the huge mound of fur that happened to be our aging golden retriever. Now at almost 18 weeks old, he's 5 lbs of orange fur, lean and angular, and the eyes have turned an interesting shade of yellow. And he's the most determined explorer I have ever known.
None of my children ever threw themselves into knowing their physical world the way Neko does. Exploring and learning are full-contact sports. He climbs every piece of furniture, explores the source of every sound, attacks every movement, climbs into every opening, and dashes through every open door. Once on top of a piece of furniture, he then procedes to clear it of all objects. One by one each object is carefully batted to the edge, then quickly dispatched. Neko spends a moment looking after it, then goes to the next item. Once everything he can move is cleared off, he jumps down to look over the collection on the floor. Ocassionally he picks out an item to play with further, or to carry off to some other part of the house. (It took us a while to find Erik's contact lens case one time.)
Every open cabinet door is an invitation. He's been shut in the refrigerator twice, and pulled out of it at least a dozen times more. He's accidentally jumped into the toilet, and twice into open trash cans he thought were closed. Shopping days are expecially exciting, for Neko has to crawl into each and every bag we bring in the door, and into every empty, or not so empty, box. He takes running leaps at the plastic bags and rides them across the floor like a surfer. This cat can, and does, make a game out of everything. He explores, tastes, jumps, touches, bats, bites and scratches everything in his quest to know his world. He usually finishes his day snuggled in someone's lap, purring wildly because he is one happy kitten.
I think cats are must be good at playing the "believing game." They seem willing to open themselves to experience it all and find out for themselves what is pleasing to them and what isn't. They throw themselves into each new experience with wild-eyed wonder, more than a little reckless and often getting into trouble. Curiosity may be said to "kill the cat," and I can see where the old saying comes from, but curiosity also makes for one heck of a ride, if Neko is any example!
So, to paraphrase that other old saying, let's learn to look at the world through the eyes of a kitten, where all things are new, exciting, and exotic. We should apply this not only to new experiences, but also to the "old" and well-known. Maybe we're so used to some ideas, people or experiences that we don't think of them as holding anything new or interesting. I bet Neko would find them worthy of a second look!
I don't recommend jumping into the toilet, though.