I’m participating in Sharon Salzberg’s 28-Day Real Happiness Meditation Challenge again this year, and my plan for this blog series is to write a poem or reflection on each day’s practice. You can find all the responses on the landing page.

My cat and I both want to be happy, but, like so many, we are both often ignorant of what will bring us happiness and what will instead bring us suffering. I could tell you about all my mistaken and silly ideas but I’ll focus on the cat here. For instance, this cat thinks that he will be happier not stuffed into a crate and brought in a death trap to the vet to have his nails clipped every now and then, so he struggles mightily against it; but in reality, when his nails grow too long, they catch on everything, including us, and cause all of us suffering. Further, having his nails clipped does not actually cause him the suffering he seems to fear and so far neither has the death trap journey, and when he returns home he’s greeted with fanfare and special treats.

Here’s another thing: Flowers bouquets, sent to me by friends and family, bring me much happiness, both the thought and the flower arrangements themselves, their scent, the beauty of the design, the artistry, the colours and textures of the individual flowers, leaves or needles, and other elements. They apparently also bring my cat happiness, as he likes to inspect them, rub them, sometimes eat them or use them to clean his teeth, but alas, all this lovely vegetation can bring him much suffering, even unto death, because many of the flowers, berries, and other plant parts are toxic for felines. He’s ignorant of this fact, and I hope he remains so.

Anyway, I wrote a little ditty about this for some family/friends who often send me flowers for holidays, and here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

with Bumble, 
we just can't have flowers 
or plants 
Many are toxic 
and florists don't really know 
which ones, and
not only that but 
the cat is fond of 
spikey sharp-edged things, 
grasses, sticks, ornamentation,
all the modern touches I like,
which could poke an eye out,
so far they haven't but
he also tries to eat them, 
the upshot being that
I have to keep the flowers 
and plants in a room far away
from all of us, the dining room,
which is cool, temperature-wise,
and keeps flowers alive 
like a mortuary and when I visit, 
which I do daily, I enjoy them but 
really, it would be best not to send them.
I feel your love through the air and
I don't want you to waste your money 
on these 
unintentionally injurious
gifts of the heart. 
I will alert you
when the cat 
leaves the building
which I hope 
is no time soon.

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