Any Guru who’s worthy of their exalted title leaves a legacy of wisdom behind when they pass over to the non-physical realm.
My Guru, our cat Lucy, was no exception to this rule.
As some of you know, the Guru passed into the non-physical realm in November of 2014. Since then, I have been both missing and appreciating her feisty little presence.
I have also been noticing all the ways in which she is still with me.
The list that follows is by no means exhaustive. But it is a start.
(I know that the Guru would appreciate the effort. Or at least, she would appreciate the fact that the list is all about her.)
So here goes:
THE 6 LEGACIES OF THE GURU
1. A clawed-up post
The Guru wasn’t much of an athlete. Indeed, her most refined physical move was to throw herself on the ground and demand to be adored.
And yet she loved to climb this post.
Fittingly, when she had completed the two seconds of effort to make the climb, she would sit on top of this trellis for hours.
She loved to look out at her world and smell the air.
What was she smelling?
Flowers? Other cats? The ultimate serenity of all life?
Only the Guru knows for sure.
2. A chewed-up banister
I first encountered the Guru at an animal shelter. She was a year old at the time.
I know very little about her past, other than the fact that she seemed to have experienced some trauma during her first year. When overwhelmed or agitated, she had a tendency to lash out.
The weapon of choice?
Soon after she arrived at my house, the Guru decided that this wooden banister would make an appropriate chew toy.
That’s right, wooden banister.
She would jump up on the railing next to the banister and chew away.
I had no idea that cats enjoyed chewing wood. Or perhaps enjoyed is the wrong word.
The Guru seemed driven to mold the edge of the banister into a knawed-off tip.
What were her motives?
Was she purging herself of difficult memories? Was she channeling her aggression and rage onto a benign wooden structure that couldn’t fight back?
All I know is that, after about a year of serious banister-chomping, the Guru decided her work was done.
Instead of having it fixed, I decided to simply paint over her work.
Every artist deserves respect and adulation.
The Guru deserved no less.
3. Pool toys
As some of you know, the Guru had a penchant for petty theft.
The pool for our housing complex is right next to our house. At some point, the Guru decided that any kid who threw their pool toy over the fence and onto the lawn deserved to have their pool toy confiscated and stored at our house.
(I’m sure she would prefer the word confiscated to the much-nastier stolen. Confiscated makes her sound like a law enforcement official. Which I know is how she saw herself. When she wasn’t basking in her enlightened Guru status.)
Over the years, we amassed quite a collection.
A gorgeous “Splash-N-Swim” ball:
A hot-pink version of the same:
A seriously-chewed “Splash Bomb”:
An extremely frightening shark:
And, last but not least, the famous pink football:
(For more on the pink football, go here.)
Every time the Guru would bring home one of these toys, I would beam with pride.
Yes, the toys were stolen from unsuspecting children. Yes, it was oh-so-wrong.
And yet I couldn’t help but applaud the Guru’s effort to keep the lawn free of clutter.
That, and she seemed so proud and righteous about her little pool toys.
I couldn’t bear to confiscate them.
4. Lots of pictures
When it became clear that the Guru had a vast well of wisdom that needed to be shared with the world, I began this series.
In order to illustrate the Guru’s enlightened views, I naturally needed to take tons of pictures of her.
The Guru tolerated my efforts with the utmost disdain and contempt grace and understanding.
For this, I am grateful.
I rarely take pictures of anything if there’s not a compelling reason to do so. If it wasn’t for this blog, I wouldn’t have nearly as many pictures of her Guru-ness.
Maybe that’s why she psychically transmitted the idea of writing this series. So I’d have lots of photos of her when she left this plane, and I can contemplate them to glean spiritual sustenance.
Either that, or she secretly thought of herself as a runway model.
5. A Deeper Relationship with My Intuition
A various times during my tenure as the Guru’s keeper, I had to make some challenging decisions.
This was especially true later in her life, when she developed some physical challenges and we needed to restrict her territory in order for her to heal.
Every time we needed to make a decision on behalf of the Guru, I was forced to rely on my intuition to guide me to the correct answer.
On one of my last trips to the vet with the Guru, the doctor asked if I wanted to run a series of ridiculously expensive very important tests.
I said Yes, even though I knew the tests weren’t necessary and they wouldn’t help solve the problem. Even after I left the vet that day, I wondered why I had consented to the tests.
And yet, after the Guru died, those tests provided great peace of mind. They showed us that, even though the Guru died of a heart problem, it had not been detected by the ridiculously expensive very important tests.
In other words, there was nothing we could have done to save her or prolong her life.
After she was gone, this knowledge brought me great peace.
Was it the Guru who whispered in my ear to tell me to consent to the ridiculously expensive very important tests? Did she want me to have peace of mind after she passed? Or did she simply like the flash of my credit card?
I guess I’ll have to consult my intuition for the answer.
As anyone who has ever loved a pet knows, it’s hard when our animal friends choose to leave the physical plane to romp in Pet Paradise.
After the Guru died, I was extremely sad.
At one point, I was thinking about her life and worrying that maybe I hadn’t done a good enough job of caring for her.
And then, in the middle of my fret fest, I heard a voice. It said:
We had a great time together while I was here. That’s all that matters.
In that moment, I could feel the presence of the Guru. And I could feel this truth:
The love we share – with our animal friends, with our human friends – is all that matters.
Yes, I love the chewed-up banister and the pool toys, but my favorite of all the Guru’s legacies is the love she left behind. The love that’s still alive in me.
It’s the best present she ever brought me.
What legacy have your loved ones left you? Share your comments below!