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Harriet Ling, LMBT


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Lessons from an Ancient Gray Cat

This morning I opened my eyes to a spectacular red sunrise. I had the day off and was in no hurry to jump into my day, opting instead to savor the view and the stillness until I’d had enough of it.

Nimbus, the ancient grey cat, had other plans. Animals somehow know when we’re awake, even before we move or speak, and Nimbus wasted no time demanding that I serve him. Nimbus is at least eighteen years old, and a wise old soul with very few demands. He wants fresh water. If he didn’t see you pour it, it’s not fresh enough. He wants dry cat food. And he wants a foot to rub his head on. I had freshened his water last night and was pretty sure he still had food in his bowl, and all my animals know that I don’t offer massages at the crack of dawn. Still, his persistent meowing sounded very much like nagging, and I finally said, “Nimbus, why can’t you be happy with what I’ve already given you?” Like a clap of thunder, those words bounced back to me in an echo from the Universe. It was my own voice, but enhanced as if I’d shouted from a mountaintop. Nimbus was quiet, and I was stopped cold, my resentment derailed.

Lately I’d fallen into the habit of thinking that I’d be happy as soon as (fill in the blank). Well, bullshit. If that’s my mindset, then there’s always going to be another something to fill that blank. I need to remember that happiness is an inside job, and it’s a daily choice.

Choosing to be happy in the here and now doesn’t mean not having goals and plans and dreams; it just means appreciating the journey. If the destination is the only thing of value, I’ll never get there. If I’m always frantically seeking a specific treasure, I’ll miss the unexpected gifts along my path. Sometimes the treasure is the silence, the nothingness, the emptiness, the absence of distraction. Sometimes the treasure is simply the place I get to call Home, and the view I wake up to.

Thank you, Wise Nimbus Kitty, for the reminder. I love you, old man.

Reader Comments (1)

And thank you for being the one who reminded me of choosing happiness. My dog of 12 1/2 years is very ill & I find my grief is sometimes more than I think I can handle.. Wondering how I will know when he is done with this life. Remembering all the joy he has brought me all these years. I thank you for your kitty's wisdom & your own.

September 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris Clark
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