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What My Cat Taught Me

IMG_2624I know that by the title of this, it would only be natural to assume I am a cat lady. Before you go jumping to conclusions (which in this case are probably accurate) let me continue. As I sit in my room, trying to find inspiration when it seems to have escaped with no hope of return (at least for the day), I pet my cat in exasperation. He purrs softly and reaches his head back as if to remind me, “Just relax.” He then yawns repeatedly. At least he knows how to follow his own advice.

My cat loves to sit with me as I write. Perhaps he likes the sound of my fingers typing away or he just likes the blanket I put there for him. Probably the latter. Nonetheless, I like his company. As an only child, he is my compadre and we love to look out our window on quiet afternoons. Uh oh, I’m starting to sound like I’m writing a dating profile for my cat and I. So let me get to the real point of this post.

No matter what kind of pet you have (and I hope you have one!) be it a dog, cat, iguana, or hermit crab—our pets can teach us so much about happiness. Sometimes those who can’t talk (at least not a human language) can say the most.

My Siamese, short haired, Chocolate Point cat, Kiko, has been teaching me lessons on the daily ever since we picked him up as a kitten in San Diego almost seven years ago. I’m blessed to have this big ball of fur in my life (he’s nearing 20 pounds soon) and I wanted to share his cat wisdom with you all:

1. Say hello to everyone: Whenever anyone comes to my house, Kiko is the first to greet them. He loves to be pet and introduce himself. In return, everyone loves him. Our first cat Simo (bless his heart) was a real grump when it came to strangers and in return, visitors never paid much attention to him. Moral of the story: say hello to people, both friends and strangers and they will be more included to interact with you. It’s a win-win for both parties.

2. Take risks: Most cats loathe the water. Not Kiko. Whenever I take a bath, he loves to sit on the ledge and dip his entire tail in. Maybe some of his genes got rewired, but I love his uncanny boldness. Do the same in your life—venture in the unknown and don’t be afraid of a little water.

3. Lean on others: We’re often taught to be independent and self-reliant—we don’t like to admit to that we need help. Kiko has no problem with that. In these cold winter months, his fur coat hasn’t been doing him justice so he loves to jump in my lap and warm up. Don’t be afraid to count on others when you need some extra encouragement or comfort—they will appreciate you reaching out.

Kiko has the art of napping down.

Kiko has the art of napping down.

4. Take naps: That lesson is pretty simple. Need I say more?

5. Love your life: Kiko is a master purr cat. He loves to be pet and cuddled and hearing his loud “motor” run always makes me happy. Kiko delights in his simple yet fruitful life and we should love our lives as well. He doesn’t live in a palace, but to him, his family and safe home are all that he needs. Let us be content with what we have and find our happiness within our homes.

I hope Kiko has been able to impart some wisdom to you today through me. He’s been a faithful friend throughout the years, and I’ll always be thankful to him for the endless happiness he’s given me. There are few people in this world who can give us unconditional love but our pets give it flawlessly. Give your pet an extra cuddle today.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

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The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Moment is NOW

418131146623200998_7S3rgVjh_cI love the beginning of a new year. Now I know “New Year’s” seems like a while ago but for some reason my inspiration is kicking in a little late this year. Better late than never! When the moment of motivation strikes, you have to seize it. Don’t stare dumbfounded at it—embrace it and get going!

In case that fire still hasn’t been lit for you (and it’s totally fine if it hasn’t—it’s been a pretty cold and rainy winter thus far), you can always turn the situation around. If your ambition is in hibernation, it’s time to wake it up. There’s no time to waste, even if it is winter!

I think the best way to kick your motivation into high gear is to start goal setting to the max. In the beginning of the year there is so much promise. An empty slate, a blank calendar. Take your pen and make plans. Fill in the dates with memories-to-be and make each day count. Yes, we need to live in the moment but the moment will be that much more special if we’ve prepared for it.

Sometimes the happiest experiences come out of sheer anticipation. Waiting for something you’ve planned on can make the event itself so much more special. Of course—there comes a pitfall with this kind of upped ante. There is always the potential for disappointment. We’ve all been there—plans that we’ve built up in our minds to a grandiose occasion that fall flat into nothingness. What a let down. I often take these hits the worst since I’m such a planner but I always try to learn from them. It builds resilience if you choose to accept it that way.

Still—the fear of fallout shouldn’t hold you back from making those big plans you have for your life—and especially for your year ahead. Book the trip you’ve been dreaming about since you were five. Apply for that job application even if you’re unsure of the outcome. Go up and talk to that person that you think might snub you. If you never try, never ask, never GO FOR IT, the answer will always be a thundering no. Don’t let anyone silence you before you’ve even spoken. Go for your goals and see them as a reality—something that will happen in only a matter of time.

This is your moment, so take it head on. Don’t cower away worrying that you’ll be let down or embarrassed or lost without a paddle. You’ve got arms; you can swim. My point: you’re resourceful and even if your dream doesn’t work out, go back to sleep and dream a new dream. Your imagination is bigger than your mind may consciously think so go beyond those limits and explore the unknown. Knowledge is a treasured gift but we have to learn and test our boundaries to gain it.

This year is rumbling with so much potential. New friends, new countries, new classes, new lessons to learn. Stronger relationships, braver adventures, and actualizations of your goals. It’s all real, it’s all yours—go out and live. Oh and while you’re at, embrace the natural happiness that comes along the way.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

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The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

This Little Light of Mine

240661173808627540_FQ75Y3cc_cThere are many things in life that add to our happiness. A new outfit. A new gadget. A good meal. The list continues. Wonderful yes, but altogether short lived. Ultimately—more than anything, it’s the people, isn’t it?

At this moment, I’m sitting alone, typing along but still feeling immensely grateful for the people in my life. I love these moments when I can sit back and reflect. When we’re constantly surrounding ourselves we have no time to process. We have to cherish these moments and not let them pass by. We can’t forget.

As many of you may know if you read my blog, I’ve been in a long distance relationship since August. It hasn’t been easy but to me, it will always be worth it. I think it’s so important that we make people the number one priority in our lives—to not put them second to TV shows, our bad habits, or whatever it may be that slyly pulls us back from where we should be. We need to be present in our relationships, even when we cannot be physically there.

My boyfriend has been home for a month now and it has left me in such elation on a daily basis. I’m all the more thankful now for his presence than ever before. He’ll be leaving on Sunday and it will all be as it was again for the next month. Still, I can’t help but feel immensely grateful to have such a person in my life, even if only for bursts of time. Just to have some time is enough to make me happy.

I know you shouldn’t count on other people to make you happy. It must come from within. But still, don’t you think that some people can illuminate a part of you that was growing dim or completely dark before you met them? I do. Once that light has been sparked, you can’t help but feel the warmth of that new positive energy shining from within. And then that new light you have can be passed along and shared to start a light in others. And so it goes—on and on.

So as I sit here tonight kindling the light within, I hope you will find your light and help others find theirs. Life is about making connections—not fearing nearness. Let us welcome it instead.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Get your daily dose of sunshine by “liking” The Sunny Girl page by clicking here!

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
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