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Joy, our cat, was already named when we met her. We choose her from the RSPCA animal shelter. We sat on the cement floor to open her cage. She stepped out eagerly, rubbed warm up against our foreheads, mewing and snaking around our knees.

When I opened my art journal one morning last week, Joy stood on the blank page. So I started there, drawing Joy’s paws.

Then Joy bumped up against me as I worked, insisting on being seen and stroked. She is an instant injection of mindfulness. Here! Now! I am! Her fur and whiskers across my brow. Smile. Joy yawns in my face.

We don’t speak the same dialect, Joy and I — but she knows how to make clear what needs matter most to her right now. Comfort, food, water, play, to be seen and heard, touch, fun, creativity! Unapologetically in pursuit of contentment, nurture, discovery and delight.

Then came the flowers. I want to offer a warning to cat worshippers everywhere: in real life, keep flowers well away from cats. I have learned the hard way just how toxic flowers are to cats. Even a brush past a Lily or other flowers you’d routinely find in a garden or bouquet. Beautiful together on a page … toxic in life.

Oh how precious and vulnerable, these breathing bodies of ours.

I receive this morning page as a radar for moment-by-moment awareness, choice: move towards shared Joy, gently and intently.