“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Some people search obsessively for happiness. I search obsessively for the cat. Specifically, (since I live with three) the one who was once named Diablo but has more recently and aptly been renamed Bloblio by my son.
Bloblio sleeps not just with me but on me. During The Year of Divorce, his weight was a kind of anchor that kept me in my body, in my bed, tethered somehow to the molting version of me who would become, eventually, exhaustingly, some far more seasoned and streamlined version of me. Bloblio the lifeline.
Bloblio generally is tucked invisibly under some piece of furniture in my bedroom until, the moment I get under the covers, he spontaneously appears on my right side to knead his delight into the comforter between us and then line up spine-to-spine with me. Bloblio smells impossibly fresh. As if he’d just rolled in a bed of new pine leaves. Always.
Every now and then, I get into bed and there is no Bloblio. Within 10 minutes of being asleep, my body registers its lack of tether / anchor and wakes. Sometimes, I spend quite a while awake and willing him to appear on the bed while worrying about all the things the mother of an indoor-outdoor cat worries about. The world and his will: two big variables in this cat’s life that are not up to me. Which leaves me with the crumbs — worry — that influence nothing but my insomnia.
I get out of bed to go looking for Bloblio and discover him six feet away from me — on the other side of a piece of furniture blocking my view. The distance between me and my desired outcome: the ability to recognize that what I am seeking is already found.
Without quite realizing it, we are creating moment by moment the symbols that we live by, whether it be the bluebird of happiness, pigeon of discontent, chicken of depression, or the cat of comfort. The more we reference them, the more they stick around.
I am hoping that you have your very own cat of comfort (literal or figurative) to glom onto your sleeping shoulder when that’s the thing that will get you through the night. Feed it, pet it, let it know that it is welcome. And when it doesn’t come around, you can toss and turn all night, or you can get out of bed and go find it.