Last Thursday, our sweet little gray tabby cat, Zoe, passed away. She was Chad’s cat (and therefore my adopted cat) of 16+ years. When I found her, I was in shock as a myriad of thoughts and emotions swirled through my brain and heart space. It took me a while to regroup, but after some time and reflection, I realized that through this loss, I was forced to reconsider the undeniable importance of consistently honoring, loving and cherishing all of the beings in our lives. I mean, think about it. We are all alive! And this lifetime does not last forever. I also learned while I was holding her little body that I was inadvertently considering all the things I wished I had done with her – that I had held, played with, and talked to her more. I was feeling regret. Well, the beauty of regret is that we can use it as a tool to remind us that love can be unconditional. And we can maintain this unconditional love by reflecting on and clearly communicating why and how the ones who surround us are so important to us – even when/if they drive us crazy. That is LOVE in its purest form. 100%, unfiltered.
Since Zoe’s passing, I have started a little project. In my journal, I am reserving pages for the people who are closest to me. I write their name at the top, and I think about all the beautiful things I love about them.
Chad: He makes me laugh. He is an amazing hugger. He is thoughtful and, in my world, is the voice of reason.
Mary: She is compassionate. She is so gifted with animals. She has the voice of an angel.
Then I reflect on how they make my world better:
Chad allows me to feel loved and safe.
Mary reminds me of what innocence is and what true compassion looks like.
What I am finding is that these self-reminders by default load “love” into my brain. I am constantly thinking about what I LOVE about people and animals instead of how they are not meeting my expectations. I am thinking about their positive attributes instead of their imperfections. And, while I am doing this, I begin to love myself more! General rule of thumb: The more we love others, the more we love ourselves.
And, last but definitely not least, my tribute to Zoe:
You can hear her meow for miles – in fact, if I’m still, I can hear her meowing hello from kitty heaven. She got along with all creatures and critters, including our guinea pig (pictured above) and our dog, Ebby, who she openly accepted with ease and grace. She was always the first one to come greet any newcomer at our house. She was a cuddler. She was patient with our toddler who loved to pull her tail and ears. When I was feeling down, she was always the one to come meow and cuddle with me; she would lie right on my belly near my heart and silently tell me it was OK. She was (and always will be) a healer. Sweet little Zoe, thank you for reminding me to slow down and give/receive affection unconditionally.
With that, I leave you with 100%, pure, unfiltered love. And, I love all of you for taking the time to read this newsletter. I hope you find the tools within helpful, and that you are able to heal and grow with and through them.
Much, much love,