Friday, October 8, 2010


It is exactly midnight as I sit down to type this post.  Down the hall, my love lies asleep.  One of our cats is curled up beneath the bed on an old L.L. Bean backpack--her favorite nighttime hideout.   The other cat is sleeping here in my study on my desk, right next to my typing fingers.  He has fallen asleep like this so many times over the years that I believe he must imagine my typing to be a kind of lullaby.  It is his way to interpret nearly everything I do as a sort of gift to him.  And over time, I realize that I have adjusted my ways more and more until, indeed, much of what I do when I am with him is for him.  I say this with a little bemusement as I admit that my cat has trained me to make his waking life a series of mini luxury holidays from the hard work that is sleeping.  I also say this with love, because I understand what a gift he has given me.  It comes down to a simple truth: the more love one gives the more love one has to give.  

People teach me this, too, like my friend Melissa, who sent me this little bird vase the week we moved to Portland.  I was grumpily unpacking the umpteenth crate of books when the UPS man arrived with a box from Melissa's beautiful online boutique Reverie-Daydream.  Ever since that day, the little bird has lived on my desk with a new plume of flowers each week--sometimes daisies, sometimes tea roses, sometimes Queen Anne's lace from the roadside.  When I saw gomphrena at the farmers' market the other day, I knew exactly what the bird would be wearing this week.  And each time I glance at the little bird, it reminds me of Melissa.  She's one of those people whose love for those around her seems to thrive and grow the more she gives.  

I mentioned the gift my cat has given me by expecting me to love him.  Mostly love comes easily, but there are times when I don't feel much love at all for anyone, most especially myself.  It is in those times when I discover what I am capable of.  What I mean is that it is a joy to show love when one feels loving.  I am trying, too, to show love when I feel far from loving.  Call it behavior modification, call it crazy, but I find that it works.  I'm reminded of my friend Aeleen's smile meditation in which she suggests that we smile when we feel least like smiling.  I'm also reminded of what Annie Dillard says in The Writing Life: "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."  

As I type my cat to sleep tonight, I can measure my life in the soft click of the keys and in his even breaths, and I count myself most truly blessed.


  1. You are definitely a gift - I just love reading your beautiful words. I can just picture your cat enjoying the comfy slumber - it reminds me of waking up from a nice long sleep and smelling breakfast when I was a little girl, nothing like the comforts of home.

    I love the smile meditation - I practice quite a bit daily - a definite must in life!

    Happy weekend, my thoughtful friend! xxoo :)

  2. i love your lovely post and especially "the more love one gives the more love one has to give"
    sending you lots of love & some sunshine & wishing you a happy weekend ♥

  3. Dear Gi, this Blog reminds me of my school teaching days. My students were Junior High Schoolers and by nature, oft times they were "neither fish nor fowl", bless their little hearts. We teachers had to remind ourselves that it is quite easy to love the loveable, but our challenge was to love the unloveable - and these were so often the unloved. And so the challenge continues ...

  4. Beautiful post -- and therapeutic too! Thanks Gigi!

  5. Thanks, Cathi! I love that memory of waking up to breakfast, too.

    Right back atcha, Cathie!

    Mum, I know exactly the challenge you describe. Those kids are the ones who need the most love. Same thing with grown-ups.

    Thanks, Kiersten, and thanks for visiting!

  6. simply sighing ...
    very much smiling ...
    and feeling so grateful for the gift of you
    as a friend, dear gigi ... : )

    when you weave your words, you paint masterpieces
    of visual delight ... putting each of us right there with you
    ... each time, wherever you are ... positively powerful ... xo

    and isn't that just the way sweet melissa is ... kind and thoughtful
    beyond in all she does ... i love your little bird vase ... and even more
    the delightful selection over time that has adorned it ...
    (smiling again!) ...

    i can't remember where i read or heard about the smile meditation,
    but it has really meant a lot to me, and i am most grateful that it
    may bring you and others a smile on the outside leading to an inevitable smile on the inside ... : )

    thanks for all your magic ... for your forever gifts ...

  7. It is definitely difficult to give love when we are not feeling loving and loved. My cat also shows me love each morning as he sits on my lap at the computer and purrs. He looks up into my face with such an adoring look, I can't help but feel the love. It is a wonderful way to start the day.

  8. Dearest Gigi ~

    What a wonderful gift for my soul ~ your words, your friendship, your simple perfection. Sean just walked in the room and asked why I was crying, and then he read with me and just kissed my head and said, "she's good"! He knows how much I adore you and consider your talents to be the pinnacle of my 'wordsmith' favorites. Thank you for this special post ~ it truly means the world to me. And I'm going to adopt the 'smile meditation'...simple brilliance.
    We are traveling until the 15th, but I am working on my post for is forthcoming, I promise.
    Beautiful weekend wishes to you,

  9. So true Gigi .....and I am smiling as I write. Have a wonderful weekend, xv.

  10. Gigi...your words are beautiful. You are a gift to all of us. I was looking at my big beautiful himalayan kitty sunning himself this morning and realizing what love he brings to my life. And the love that Teddy and Dande bring too.
    Just this morning i told my hubby that these guys are the center of our world. he agreed :-)

    so happy to see you at farmhouse, my friend.
    and there is a caramel apple here with your name on it :-)
    sending love,
    kary ,teddy, whiskey and dande

  11. Ah, my crazy life! I miss your posts, sweet Gigi. I wish you a fabulously beautiful rest of the weekend.

  12. new to your blog but seemed to have stumbled upon you at just the right moment after a monumental househod bust up when everyone is feeling far flung from love. thanks for the inspiring words; see you soon...

  13. How is it that you can bring tears to my eyes every time I read you? I need a book of you Gigi to keep by my bedside. I want to hold everything you say in my mind so I never forget it. It is indeed you who are the gift and you who pass your days as you pass your life. So blessed are we to have the gift of you.


  14. For years I lived with such an adored feline. After awhile I realized many of my sculptures were really big cat toys - lots of wrapped twine, hanging string, get the idea. Ha! I love thinking he was such a great influence.

    And doesn't gomphrena look like the perfect cat flower!

    All so beautifully well said (written). I can very much relate to everything. Thank you.

  15. Mmm what is snugglier than cat breaths? Nothin! Except maybe Jack Russell Terrier snorts.
    Love your new vase, a small and heartfelt gesture like that can make a world of difference in our day. What a sweet friend you have!! xo

  16. Hmmm, I have adjusted my life to meet my cat's needs too...I think you have described exactly why I think I would most prefer to be reincarnated as a cat than any other animal:)

  17. I can just imagine how soothing the sound of typing would be to a dozy cat.
    I will think of you today when I am in my car...for that is where I need to feel more love, instead of impatience.
    Such a sweet little vase from a sweet lucky you are to have these connections in your are an easy one to love. xo


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