When we first rescued the kittens last year, I had just been diagnosed with cancer and was already overwhelmed. Taking in the two little street urchins–they had been abandoned in one of the parks here in our city–seemed too much at the time. But take them in we did, and they took over our hearts in the process.
We knew they would impact the already existing cat “culture” of our house, and it was certainly a long, extended introduction. There were many hissing fits at first, but with patience and time, those have lessened, with general acceptance and peace in the household.
One thing that was pleasantly surprising was the friendship between Grant and Ampere. Both are lovable and amiable, laid back in their approach to life. They just want to love and be loved.
And with each other they’ve found a kindred spirit of sorts, a haven from the bullying that they both receive from Ampere’s brother, Volta. (He has become the dominant cat even though he is the smallest of them all; he’s quite a force to be reckoned with.)
Even more happily, Ampere has brought out the kitten in Grant, who is about 5 years his senior. Grant and Ampere love to run and play together, creating quite a ruckus. Before Ampere, Grant had rarely played since his first year in our home, but now it’s a daily occurrence.
Both rescue kitties, Grant and Ampere have become fast friends, two kitties who have found happiness with each other.
Reading The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee has been an interesting and often revelatory experience.
Did I just say that? Indeed I did! For a duty-driven and responsible person like myself, learning about happiness can be quite new. Putting that learning into action, though, makes all the difference in this case.
So far, I’ve discovered two really important concepts that have made an impact on my own day-to-day life.
The first is that I can resist “happiness shaming.” For much of my life, I’ve heard folks suggest that I “get out more” or perhaps even lead a local committee. I’ve often felt guilty that these things bring me no happiness.
By taking the Happiness Style Assessment and reading The Happiness Dare, I’ve learned more about the five happiness styles and have come to understand that I’m a Thinker and a Doer. What makes me happy? Reading a good book, crafts, watching a great movie, studying a new topic, completing tasks, etc. And I can give myself permission to enjoy these activities.
The second is that I can spend as little as 5 minutes a day devoted to my own happiness, and it will make a change in my life. Five minutes? Yes! For those of us who may feel that focusing on our own happiness is indulgent, this is big news. An hour might be a bit overwhelming, but I can do 5 minutes.
I haven’t even finished The Happiness Dare, but it’s already prompting me to make small moves toward a happier life. Bit by bit, I’ll get there.