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When You Look, What Do You See?

This Henry David Thoreau quote has been popping up for me a lot lately: “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

It’s easy to look—we can look at anything. But seeing requires going deeper and gives us so much in return.

Last weekend I cat-sat a kitty who’s very special to me. She’s twenty-three years old and completely amazing, but I kept dwelling on the physical signs of decline that come with aging—hearing loss, weight loss, slower pace. When I went to leave her on the last day, she was sound asleep. I found myself looking at her, worrying whether she’ll still be around until I’m able to see her again. Wow, I thought, that’s not the energy to be in…so I switched to feeling gratitude for her and all the experiences I get to have with her. As soon as I started sending love and gratitude to her, her tail twitched, and I knew she felt my love. It was like a wink saying, See? Being in the energy of truth and knowing what’s really important is so where it's at.

Our cat Calla had to have part of her back foot removed before we adopted her. Sometimes I catch myself worrying about what she has gone through in the past and whether her body feels good to her. Then I see her jumping crazy-high in the air to catch a toy, or curling up in the bathroom sink, completely and contentedly owning her space…and then I know the truth.

In my mind, I thought the world would be back to a version of what felt like normal by now. But almost everywhere you look there’s still so much cause for concern and worry, there’s still so much heartbreak and fear. So I’m choosing to pay attention to the quote that I keep seeing and the cats who keep teaching. There has to be more below the surface to see, like rights will be wronged, the earth is shifting into balance, we’ll learn to be kinder to each other.

We can choose to go beyond the surface anytime we want. We always have access to something deeper. That’s where you’ll always find truth and real safety and unconditional love. Our animals can help us access that, but I think the whole universe is wanting us to go there too because that’s how we’ll help heal each other. In the meantime, I’ll continue learning from my teachers, brushing my teeth at the kitchen sink, and seeing all there is to see. ❤️

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