Research has shown that cultivating gratitude and living mindfully can have a host of benefits for our well-being—from fostering compassion and generosity to reducing stress, increasing happiness, and boosting immune function. But sometimes, it can be hard to take time out from daily busyness and truly appreciate the blessings that are staring us right in the face, including the animals in our lives. Enter Darling, I Love You: Poems From the Hearts of Our Glorious Mutts and All Our Animal Friends, a charming collection of illustrated verse by poet Daniel Ladinsky and MUTTS creator (and PETA friend) Patrick McDonnell.
As McDonnell writes in the collection’s preface, “The cartoonist and the poet both chip away at their work in order to reveal its essence. As you continue to refine and ‘let go,’ you ultimately discover that the only thing left standing is love.” Ladinsky’s simple but poignant poems, accompanied by illustrations of the beloved MUTTS characters, invite readers to slow down and see the goodness and grace that are all around us—and to give thanks. For example, the poem “One Regret,” illustrated by a drawing of Millie kissing her cat, Mooch, as he sleeps, reads:
one regret that
i am determined not
is that I did
not kiss you
“Have a Heart” reminds us that other animals are us, only different:
all creatures say,
i have a heart, i can know
happiness like you.
And in “In the Moment,” Earl the dog shows us what living mindfully and paying attention to the present are all about:
you should try
being in the moment,
want to catch
Darling, I Love You is a slim but insightful book and one that you’ll likely turn to again and again for its gentle humor and playful reminders of the things that truly matter.
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