This morning my cat came and sat on my chest and stared me in the face until I opened my eyes and acknowledged that it was time to get up. She had spent the early part of the night curled up in the crook of my legs as I went off to sleep. Later in the night I was aware she had generously moved to the other side of my bed to give us both more room. She spent some of the night sleeping with my daughter and some with my brother who is bedded down on a sofa bed downstairs. Only a temporary guest, but she is accepting of his presence and generous with her affections; if we love him, she will. The only person she didn’t spend time with overnight is my son who sleeps in a smelly attic room and always chases her out at the first sign of her popping a curious head above the narrow top step.
It got me to thinking: cats seem totally confident that they are important, that their role in the family is crucial and that they are loved by everyone. My cat only imposes herself on those she thinks will appreciate her. My son, who does not like to sleep with her or entertain her in his room will nevertheless play with her and cuddle her downstairs and this she accepts graciously despite his lofty nocturnal hostility.
The dog, similarly, accepts with deep joy any attention he gets. He is affectionate to anyone who accepts his enthusiastic company yet tactfully and without grudge abandons his efforts if someone rejects him. He is a bit soppy and would probably welcome burglars in the same way, but is so loving that the burglar would probably think twice about robbing his family.
Oh, that we would take a leaf out of the animal book!
To believe that we are so special and so loved and to return that love with abundance; not to take personally any grumpiness aimed at us and to forgive and forget instantly. Confidence that we not only have a role but that it is uniquely important. To believe whole heartedly that what we do is worth doing even if not a single soul notices or agrees. To value and absorb any drop of love or affection coming our way yet not to crave or strive for it. To be as happy to curl up nearby and be ignored as played with and heaped with praise, yet be ecstatic with the praise and adoration if and when it falls on us. …and to be utterly confident that it is well deserved. No pride, no resentment, no regrets, no insecurities, no self loathing, no guilt. (Yes, I know dogs look guilty sometimes but I have read research that says this is not true guilt; they don’t understand guilt and are only reflecting our expressions and responding in love to training when they jump down from the sofa and put on the ‘look’ when they hear us coming.)
But sadly we are human. We over analyse everything. Ever since we ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil we have been constantly in a quandary. What is best for me, for him, for her and whose needs trumps whose? What is right and what is wrong? What is the evidence that will give us a clue to the unanswered questions? And is that evidence reliable? What will others think? Is what they think valid or important? What am I to do, to be, to believe?
The antidote to this?
Know for certain that you are loved.
And just love back… expansively and joyously in all situations.
Know for certain that you are important, you are valued and you are uniquely suited to your place in the world… just as you are.
Simply put (in the words of Bobby McFerrin): don’t worry, be happy.
You don’t need to be more cat.
Just be more you. It will be enough.
What does this have to do with Bob the Blob? Nothing. Sometimes life is more than a cancer story. No, life is always more than a cancer story, it’s just that sometimes we forget that things we learn on that journey are meant to be applied to life in general.