The nicest thing has happened. We’ve won a prize from our fellow blogger Caren Gittleman, at Cat Chat With Caren and Cody.
This is big deal for us. While we have never actually met Caren, she lives in the Greater Detroit metro area. That is my home town, away from which I moved many years ago. Matter of fact, just yesterday I was reading the bankruptcy-court opinion approving Detroit’s Chapter 9 petition and what a tale of woe that is. But I digress. Detroit is a nice connection between Caren and me.
Caren also celebrates Passover. This is my favorite Jewish holiday, because it’s about liberation from oppression and that’s one of my most favorite aspirations.
Plus, this is especially nice because we never win anything. Well, we won a six-pack of lithium batteries one time. We’re glad to have them – we’re just saying.
This time we hit the jackpot. We got over a hundred dollars’ worth of litter mats from Smartcatcher.
The boys inspect the loot.
Here is an ordinary litter mat. We were struggling with this one before our victory.
These Smartcatcher mats will not do us like that. They are thick and luxe. Plus, they work. Allergic to housekeeping as I am, I appreciate this. No more, or greatly reduced, tracking through the house!
If you are a friendly person who reads cat blogs but who doesn’t actually share a house with cats, you may be wondering why this is such a big thing. If you do share a house with cats, you need no telling.
These mats cost a lot, but they are worth it. Right? Let me recapitulate for you. They are thick. They are luxe. They work.
Bugs inspects the box. The box matters more than what came in it, of course.
So if that were all there was to it, that would be enough. Daiyanu, as we say at Passover. “Daiyanu” stands for the gratitude we can feel if we pay attention to the smallest things that make life more wonderful. These mats are those, but not so small. Cat people will understand.
But there is more.
Give-away competitions offered by bloggers are, I think, a nice way to keep the human in the commercial. As you all doubtless know, we cat people need mountains of highly specialized kit and equipment and doo-dahs, well, not just need, but must have, covet. We are talking about sharing a house with cats, after all. So no ordinary things will do. These giveaways are a sweet way to expose us to the mountains of highly specialized kit and equipment that we need and must have and covet. Yet it’s not just about materialism, because one lucky winner amongst our blogging community gets, for free, something important to the well-being of ourselves and our favorite felines.
This is what has happened here.
And if that were it, “daiyanu” as we say. But there’s more.
Now this kind of thing really makes me joyful.
In the Buddhist tradition, there’s a practice called “sympathetic joy.” When others win, we’re happy. When we lose, we do not whine. We rejoice for the other one. Zen Roshi Joan Halifax explains it this way:
“Learning to feel joy for others can help transform our own suffering and self-centeredness into joy.”
Watching Caren’s readers express joy on my behalf models how I’d like to be when the tables are turned. Which they most often are, because, as I said, we never win anything. I’m not whining. I’m just saying.
I like to think, as Halifax supposes, that those who are sympathetically joyful, those who are that generous, “hav[e] a good home life and livelihood, encounter[ ] good friends and teachers, and [live] . . . according to strong inner virtues. These supports help us learn to rest in basic goodness . . . .”
To rest in basic goodness. That is just what I need. I collide, way too often and too painfully out there in this messed-up world, with aggression and accusation and blame and judgment.
I had a good dose of it hurled my way just yesterday. Now it’s not like I didn’t participate in the situation that inspired the nastiness. I live in a community that is pretty loose, so I have to defend my home turf strenuously. I’m working on creating more harmony, but we haven’t arrived there just yet. So let me tell you, friends, without the kind of modeling that Caren’s good readers offer, without their sympathetic joy, I could be pretty damn depressed about the whole mess.
Who approaches? Stand and declare!
The turf must be defended strenuously.
So for all of you out there who cultivate sympathetic joy, and who freely offer it to others who win, when, this time, you do not, may each and every one of you win things that are important to you every single day of your lives.
I also want to give a shout-out to Smartcatcher’s wonderful co-founder Salina Tam. When I got a shipping notice informing me that my mats had gone out to a supposed person whose name may or may not be “Anita Money,” of Gardiner, Nevada, both Salina and Caren hung in there and bird-dogged for me, over several weeks, until the post office got things sorted and the mats finally arrived in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Nothing but good going on here, friends – from so many good people.
So these mats are more than just mats.
Happy Passover, happy Easter, happiness to you all, in full measure, to offset all the other stuff.