A yellow khata for Hakim, my sunshine boy. (2007-12 March 2021)

A “khata” is a fabric inscribed with auspicious symbols & scripture in the tibetan tradition. It is offered as a gesture of blessing for all important events in life. This yellow khata is a gift bought from Boudha Stupa.

Hakim, my orange boy cat left his body at 2.20am this morning. He was 13 going on 14.

He remained soft and warm when I gave him one more hug before he left home for the crematorium.

Last night he listened quietly as I bless him with pomegranate leaves. He heard about all the good that he has done for me and all who knew him, and the names of people praying for him.

Hakim loves to lounge. (Dec 2020)

Then I assured him I will look for him again and he will never be forgotten.

At the crematorium he was surrounded by fresh orchids. A simple altar by a staff articulated the deep bond between human and animal.

I gave thanks for Fire’s cleansing and transformative power, and hugged my Sun one last time before he entered the Fire to merge with Light.

Hakim loves treats. My students called him 胖爷 pang ye meaning the Well Fed Gentleman.
Hakim crosses his forelegs regularly like a well mannered person.
I placed a pearl from Oman in Hakim’s mouth to wish him a prosperous new birth and a sprig of pomegranate leaves between his paws to bless his heart.


2 March 2021


Yesterday my friend who was painting the enclosures at the end of the animal shelter alerted me to an elderly cat that needed some attention.

Estimated to be around 12-14 years old now, the frail but alert creature has been on medication to manage her health issues. She was found sick on the street a few years ago. Details of her background and even her name if she had one was only known to the late founder of the shelter.

Gently, I passed the wet tissue over the length of the cat’s body several times to ease her into the change of temperature. Then I moved a fresh piece of wet tissue up the back of her head and sort of passed it over her temple and face lightly to relax her. I was a stranger after all, even if I meant well.

When she with the unknown name allowed me to touch her facial region without backing off, I was then able to see the dried tear stains and hardened snot that needed removing.

And throughout the cleaning and being shifted about, the cat took every opportunity to turn around and face my friend who was watching us from outside the enclosure.

My friend’s feelings for this cat’s plight must have been so intense to generate such a phenomena.

Today when I played the encounter over in my head, some of the lines from “The Divine Image,” by William Blake came up:

K2 thanks Marcus for setting up a bed for him.

“Mercy has a human heart, /Pity a human face/ And Love, the human form divine…”

Perhaps the cat saw God in my friend.

Bubbles walks about to learn to be at ease outside her enclosure while K3 (Tenzin) and K2 look on like some gangsta cats.

And “Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell /There God is dwelling too.”

We will never know what this old cat was called before. But based on her behaviour and her ability to call up “The Divine Image,” naming her “Divina” might be appropriate. 🌈🙏🐾

March Mercies

1 March 2021

At the shelter this morning I found a mug to hold my iphone to amplify the song of White Tara for the cats and dogs.

Tenzin, the big orange boy wasted no time in showing his appreciation.

When I came home, more desert roses have bloomed.

May the mercies we receive multiply as we pass them on to other sentient beings.

Ancient Patterns

28 Jan 2021

On the morning of the final full moon of the Year of the Rat, Emmanuel the Cat slumbers on.

He dreams of Sumerian cuneiforms, Egyptian hieroglyphs and pictographs of the past as he tallies up his lives’ scores.

The distinct letter ‘M’ marking on his velvety forehead that extends all the way to the top of his head and separates into wispy lines down the back of his neck like some elaborate headdress lends the sleeping cat a majestic air.

Perhaps Emmanuel had been a prince.

Emmanuel’s kohl lined eyes, bib of pristine white, ringed limbs and white socks also evoke a priestly presence.

Perhaps this cat was a priest before, and all the ring markings on his furry limbs were bangles he wore for ritual purposes in a bygone era.

Or perhaps this now portly feline had been a prisoner, and the ring markings were once ropes that bound him to suffering.

As I look at the blissful form breathing in the morning breeze, I get the feeling that whether Emmanuel had been a prince, a priest or a prisoner in the past, one thing is for sure.

And that is, someone from his past must have loved him & did all that was required that have resulted in his current life of relative ease.

A Christmas Eve Upgrade

24 December 2020

“It’s Christmas Eve. We’ve been given a lounging upgrade from sofa to bed.” – Hakim (orange cat) and Emmanuel (in the background)

May upgrades received by the more fortunate cascade to the less fortunate & help them move from mangers to homes and from hunger to fulfillment.

World Animal Day 2020 Prayer Flag Blessings

5 Oct 2020

Handprinted Boudha Stupa on handcrafted lokta paper.

Yesterday 4 Oct was World Animal Day. In the morning I dedicated prayers for more kindness and care to animals. I offered flower & light to St Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Ecology & Animals.

In the afternoon I had the good fortune of presenting a set of new prayer flags to a friend who loves his adopted cats dearly.

Shortly after he got home, my friend unrolled the prayer flags. His cat, Sage, showed great interest in them.

After my friend had raised the prayer flags, Sage continued to show her fascination with the carriers of blessings.

Years ago, I took a picture of my dog contemplating the inscription bearing squares of blue, white, red, green and yellow, like this lovely ginger girl did on yesterday evening

This morning, much to my amazement, the same picture I was hoping to locate popped up on my FB memories.

My dog, Shoya, contemplating the prayer flags 6 years ago.

Sage Leaves & Prayer Flags

29 Sep 2020 (2 days to Full Moon)

Today we visited an animal shelter for cats & dogs.

I’m beginning to see life as a series of crossings all sentient beings have to make. Some crossings are very hard. Besides providing food and care for animals, we might help them cross from sickness and fear to more auspicious states through our prayers and personal rituals.

So I brought sage leaves and prayer flags with me to the shelter in hope that they might be of service.

After wiping down the cats, I came to the end of the shelter corridor where a stupa stood on a metal trolley.

Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. I took this shot in Dec 2019 on our last day there.

A stupa is sanskrit for a dome structure used for buddhist meditation or for holding sacred texts and relics. Stupas vary in size. Some are small enough to be placed on dashboards.

I think the stupa at Boudha in Kathmandu, Nepal, is probably the largest on the planet. Walking around it can cultivate wisdom and compassion. The stupa that needed cleaning today was about half my height.

As I was removing dust from the stupa with a wet cloth, a large orange cat suddenly hopped onto the trolley top. He began weaving around the stupa as if he was making a circumambulation with his body!

When I managed to peel him off the stupa, he wrapped his paws around my neck and started purring and rubbing his face against mine affectionately.

The stupa at the shelter.

I lit a sprig of sage leaves and passed their white plumes of aromatic smoke over and around the stupa after the cleaning was done.

Then holding the burning sage, I walked down the length of the corridor and paused at each animal enclosure.

The cats were fascinated. Many came towards me and lingered at the wire mesh to be closer to the smoke blessings.

Even their 17 year old dog snoozing at the doorway got up and joined us.

At the section that housed the dogs, we were barked at. Then as their eyes followed the smoke and their ears picked up the prayers, many calmed down.

A girl dog with gentle eyes wagged her tail merrily at us and wouldn’t let us out of her sight.

As I prayed for the animals to be healthy and happy, and to be released from all causes of difficulties in life, I realised I was essentially praying for myself.

Towards late afternoon, my friend raised the prayer flags over the entrance to bless everyone.

We learnt that the shelter caregiver’s late mom had been wanting to get a set of prayer flags for their shelter since they moved here. But the daily upkeep of the place and looking after animals left them with little time or energy to go looking for prayer flags.

My friend initiated this shelter visit about 2 weeks ago. The sage leaves were given to me recently. The prayer flags were gifts from years ago. I learnt that today is the feast day of the archangels.

All these seemingly random occurrences have come together to facilitate my intentions to support animals and their caregivers. And it brings me comfort to know that the prayer flags put up today will be fluttering under the light of the mid-autumn full moon in a day’s time.

Newly raised prayer flags for the shelter.

What We Carry

17 August 2020

On my 40th birthday celebration in 2004.

I used to carry pretty handbags. Now I carry dogs and cats, and some kibbles.

These days with the knowledge that anyone can carry virus, we’re also obliged to carry hand sanitizers and face masks whether we like to or not.

In fashion magazines there’s a frequent quote that goes, “Women can never have enough handbags, or shoes,” to justify constant buying and spending.

At 47 in the Winter of 2011 in Kathmandu.

But perhaps this insatiable appetite for bags and shoes is a hidden quest to find out what we really want to carry, and where we would like to be headed during this lifetime.

I recall Ms Jane Goodall having only a small trolley bag and a backpack to hold everything she needs on her cross continental lecture trips to speak for primates. And yet at every event, she manages to look so polished and new. 😊

The Most Important Bag for me now carries relief supplies for street and community animals.

Bit by bit when I learn to carry what really matters, the old baggage of self doubt and “what would people think of me,” steadily dissolves.

I still like beautiful things, as people born under the zodiac sign of the Hare are known for. My heart still burst with affection at the primary school girls holding their glittery magic pony bags.

But the compulsion to own pretty things is losing its grip on me as my understanding of what I’m meant to carry in this lifetime gains clarity.

In my 50s at home in Singapore. (Aug 2020)

No Heart to Delete

16 July 2020

The plumber who came to fix the pipes today was enamored of my cats, Ollie and Hakim.

He spoke affectionately about his own cat and a community cat that he and his family had been feeding before it disappeared.

When his work was done, he showed me the missing cat’s picture on his phone. The man who handles metal parts all day long then muttered to himself in Mandarin, “他失终这么久了,可是我就是不舍得把他的照片给删掉.” (translation: the cat’s been gone for so long, but I can’t bear to delete his photo from my phone).

In that split second, I felt I was watching a very private moment in a man’s life.

The picture that accompanies this post was from a friend who visited the desert during the full moon of 5 July. It was very windy there but she managed to find a spot to light a butter lamp in honour of her dog that recently passed on and a community cat that had not shown up at her home for meals.

May the Heart that grieves and pines be comforted by Light.

New Moon Mandala on the Solar Eclipse and Summer Solstice. 🙏

21 June 2020

May the New Moon renew our zeal for inner alignment like the way the celestial bodies align beautifully with one another season after season.

May we move from shadow into light with effortless feline grace, so that we don’t carry the darkness around and project it on others.

May all Darkness that we encounter be a messenger of Light. 🙏♥️🌈🐾