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.

10 Comments on Sunday Purrs: Happiness and Butterflies

  1. Really enjoyed this article! My cats all love to watch & chase ANYTHING that moves, but a soft butterfly flutters and calms us all. So beautiful!

  2. Love both quotes too!

    Happiness — aka Wilde Oscar — has been politely tapping a paw on my arm of late when he wants my attention. And the other furry happiness gives the cutest little mew…

  3. Butterflies are truly spirits set free. I also saw a related quote in a meme today: “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Maya Angelou. In studying the life cycle of the butterfly to learn about butterfly gardens I found that the larva kind of has a choice, whether or not to build a chrysalis and pupate, and some do not. If they do, the rewards are immense. There is a huge amount of symbolism in the transformation alone.

    • I had never heard that about the larva having a choice about whether to transform into a butterfly or not, Bernadette. That definitely adds to the symbolism!

  4. Both are wonderful quotes, I’ve always enjoyed Thoreau and hud quote is one to stop, absorb and remember in life. The second version makes me smile and is so very true. Happy Sunday 🙂

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