I’ve always liked the Thoreau quote “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” But I love this version by an unknown author even more:
Happiness does not light softly on my shoulder like a butterfly.
She pounces on my lap, demanding that I scratch behind her ears.
There isn’t much in life that makes me as happy as Allegra or Ruby. Whether they pounce on my lap, whether I play with them, or even just watch them sleep in a sun puddle, the result, for me, is instant happiness.
When it comes to seeking happiness, the butterfly has some very personal meaning for me. During my last visit with my father, before he passed away in 2004, he said something to me that, on the face of it, seems so trite. He said that during his prolonged illness, “I’ve learned to take the time appreciate every flower, and every butterfly, every day.” What made it so meaningful to me was that this was coming from a man who had spent so much of his life doing the opposite. For most of his life, he was worrying about the future.
The butterfly symbolizes transformation and joy. Maybe that’s why butterflies, for me, are such a perfect reminder that happiness is a conscious choice.
And perhaps, all it really takes to choose happiness is to appreciate the present moment, one purr at a time.
The butterfly cat toy shown in the photo with Allegra is available from Amazon.