March 19, 2016

My Cat’s 12-Step Program for your Happiness.


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Today I woke up thinking I’d like to write something meaningful after spending the past few days with erotica and poetry.

I was going to write about my changes, but I just kept thinking of my cat, Bella, and how I love her. She has been a remarkable companion for me these past nine years (I adopted her as a seven-year-old “senior” cat).

Today, I realized she’s been living some lessons for me if I’d only stop to pay attention. So in no particular order, here are some life lessons for living authentically, as demonstrated by Bella, my love.

1. Don’t complain.

Apart from stressing over her food bowl potentially emptying, she doesn’t complain about anything.

She’s mellow.

2. Let go.

If she does get upset (and she can get a little testy with me from time to time when I’m doing something like trimming her nails, or if I don’t feed her within 30 seconds of waking up in the morning), she’s over it pretty quickly and comes back for petting.

3. Ask for what you want.

I don’t ever have to read Bella’s mind. When she wants love, she asks for it. Sometimes her asking is a bit pushy, but she’s cute, so she gets away with it. We’d all be better off if we could voice our wants, and believe in our deserving to have those wants met. Then we can work for them.

4. Take time for myself.

When she doesn’t want my company, it’s not a big deal. She just goes to her favorite spot to be by herself, currently on the bath mat by the tub. And when she wants attention, well, she’s right back in my lap.

5. Practice self care.

She naps a lot. But she prims and preens and does what she needs to be comfortable. She pampers herself. And that’s a good thing to remember.

6. End the day with love.

She falls asleep every night laying on my hip. Even if she already was asleep elsewhere, she’s not about to miss the chance to cuddle.

7. Teach others how to love you, touch you, and make you feel good.

Seriously…we never have to wonder how a cat (or other animal) wants to be touched. They let us know. And we’re (usually) attentive to the signals they give off. We deserve to be loved the way we want. So let people know!

8. Be consistent.

I know where she is. I know what she wants. And I never wonder what she’s thinking. She’s right there living it every moment of every day.

9. Don’t try to be something you’re not.

She’s an indoor cat. She sometimes wants to go outside, but she gives up on that endeavor after a few seconds.

She wants to nap, so she naps unapologetically. All. Over. The House.

10. Wake up excited every morning.

Okay, maybe not excited. But I can tell you that Bella knows when the day is started. She might be grumpy cat later on, but she’s happy to know I’ve lived through the night and will fill her bowl with food. And I’m glad she isn’t going to eat my face. She starts her day purring, and that’s pretty consistent…for years.

11. Never apologize for being yourself.

Judge her if you want, but Bella is Bella. She’ll stick her ass in your face and not give two thoughts about it. She’s her own gal, and the world is hers.

So the next time I start to doubt myself, I’m going to remember these lessons from my cat. If I worked to remember these, I’d be doing pretty well by myself, and by those in my life who deserve me at my best.

Long story short: get your inspiration wherever you need. Lessons are all around us. It’s not hard to live well. It’s a choice we make. And if we keep making it day in and day out, we can live the change we want in our lives. We’re all capable of it. And we all deserve that kind of life.

Which brings me her final lesson…

12. Love.

That’s what she does. She just loves. She doesn’t worry about yesterday. She doesn’t worry about tomorrow. She’s here. She’s happy. And she just loves without reservation or hesitation.

That’s what all of us want in the end, isn’t it?


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