Happiness: Lessons from my Cats

I woke up before sunrise this morning. It was cool and there was a nice breeze so I opened all our windows wide to allow air to circulate through the apartment.

There we sat, I, sipping my tea and K, his coffee. The cats joined us, settling down on the window sill behind. Kaiserin’s eyes darted this way and that in excitement as she lusted after the birds on the other side of the screen beyond her reach. Fluff-ball Baxter sat with his front paws extended, face facing the cool air. He blinked slowly as the breeze blew into his face. I put my ear against his belly and heard the steady, low rumble of him purring.

How content the cats looked. How little it took to make them happy: a breeze, some birds, a place to sit, their people nearby. Sometimes I feel everything I need to know about leading a happy, contented life I can learn from my cats.

I have so much more than the cats do, and yet, how often am I not happy. It is so easy to forget all the things we have and fixate only on those we don’t. And how many times have I told myself about something I wanted but didn’t have that “If I have this, then I will be happy”? I own many such things that I said this same sentence about. Those things have come, have been doted on, and now lie forgotten somewhere in the apartment. And still I am not always happy. My fickle mind moves on to something else…the next thing to want.

Gratitude and Perspective…I need more of each in my life. Gratitude for the gifts I take for granted: health, a loving husband, shelter, a safe environment in which to move about in, running water, abundant food, caring family, pets, a happy childhood, a good education, a stable job, a steady income. Come to think of it, I will need many pages if I were to list all the gifts I do have. Perspective because it is easy to forget how much better off my life is than for most of the world. There are people in Gaza dying as I drink my premium Darjeeling tea that my parents shipped to me all the way from India. And, in rural India, two girls were raped and killed because they had no bathroom and had to go out to the field at night to relieve themselves.

How small, how insignificant all my problems are in comparison.

This morning I was happy and at peace. I will strive to carry that feeling throughout the day with me. And every other day.

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Happiness: Lessons from my Cats

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