What My Cat Taught Me about Happiness
Rapha and I adopted Sesame on one Saturday night.
The following Sunday, we cancelled all of our previous plans and called it the “Sesame Day”.
We hit the Pet Safari and bought what we thought would make her happy. I was over enthusiastic about the toys.
We took a cat tunnel, a fluffy little house with special feature, a cat tease stick with unique technology that was sure - by the marketer - to create “maximum fun, development, and engagement” for our Sesame.
I soon learned that the marketer must have made a mistake. Because she couldn’t care less.
The only thing she touched was the 1-dollar cat tease.
Until she discovered her ultimate toy: a dry leaf that fell down from a plant in the balcony.
She held it in her mouth, brought it in the house, dropped it on the floor near my feet, looked at me as if saying “Mom! Look at this magical thing I found!”
She then chewed on it, kicked it around, tucked it under the carpet, rolled over on her belly to wrestle with it.
And when she got tired of playing, she slept next to it.
Watching Sesame and her dry leaf makes me think of how I’d many times tried hard, spent money or years of my life, to get something I thought would make me happy.
When I finally got it and realized it didn’t make me happy, I wondered what was wrong with me.
I didn’t know that the things that really made me happy was simple, inexpensive, often-free.
I also see this in the women I work with in my coaching program.
It’s not the promotion, the designer shoes, the beach house, the perfect lover, or the sports car.
It’s the moment when you sip your tea and watch the rain, a tight hug, a smile with a stranger while you both wait for the elevator, the smell on the bark of an oak tree, mango, a tiny pot of succulent on your desk, reading a book you love…
And yet, this wasn’t clear to every women I worked with.
But when I get them to be still, to feel it in their heart, they always can tell me about their “dry leaf” - the simple things that make them smile.
The next step is to do a bit less of the things that they “think” will make them happy.
So they make a bit more space for the things that *really* make them happy.
(I bet you can’t imagine Sesame forces herself to run around the cat tunnel. Then complains that she has no time to play with her leaf.)
It is to gracefully say no to the people who gives you the “cat tunnel”.
Insist on taking your dry leaf with you.
And do that, a little bit each day, every single day of your life.
So now I have 2 questions for you, beautiful one.
- What’s your “dry leaf”?
- Can you give yourself 10 minutes today to “play” with it? (No. You don’t need to quit your job.)
If you can, that’s one baby step you take towards the life you want.