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  • Writer's pictureAnn Manning

Herding Cats

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Cowboy herding cats

I was agitated. Very busy doing nothing, except distracting myself from what I need to do. What I wanted to do. I was consumed in a frenzy of pointless not doing.

Then I paused. I said to myself words that shifted my state: ‘I am suffering.’

I was addressing the parts inside that I had been striving to cover up, possibly, all my life. The parts of me that were hurting, feeling unloved, uncared for. From the time when it was determined that survival was based on keeping up the appearance of being happy, confident, coping so well. When I spoke those words ‘I am suffering’, I was acknowledging the hidden parts. Giving them the message: ’It’s ok. You don’t need to hide or resist any more. There is no audience. You can be just as you are. ‘

Does it seem paradoxical that acknowledgement of suffering can lead to a sense of peace? Well, that is exactly what happened. There was settling within. It felt like a sense of gratitude from those parts, that they now have the opportunity to be seen as they are. And become as they will be.

A reminder to myself. While this strategy worked today, tomorrow it will be a different story. I’ll need to find a fresh approach. Although the essential pattern is:

- Pause

- Look within

- Identify today’s version of inner turmoil

- Acknowledge it

- With a tender heart

It’s like herding cats. Takes patience. Resolve. Persistence. Creativity. Whatever the opposite of complacency is. And a genuine affection for this unruly inner mob. By gently befriending the parts of ourselves that we would normally shun, we can approach becoming whole.


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