Feelin’ Alive!

I am feeling alive — feeling great, feeling like the world is a beautiful, sparkling place and I am so ecstatic to be here, enjoying it.

Sound a bit over-exuberant?  Well, let me explain…

Two weeks ago, the NASTIEST flu virus flattened my household! Out of the blue, my husband got hit by a vile virus. He spent a couple of days huddled in the bathroom, staggering out for a three or four minutes every few hours, stating (unconvincingly) that he was better before turning a weird shade of green and collapsing in a moaning heap on the bed. At first, I insisted that, in all likelihood, he was suffering a bout of food poisoning — we had all eaten at our favourite chicken place on the weekend, he was the only who had a different dish AND he was the only one who was ill. Dr. Johnston renders her diagnosis, but … three days later, I woke up miserable, achy and sick. It’s good thing that we have two bathrooms in our house, because our daughter was also stricken with the bug — HARD!

After a long, achy, smelly, yucky, fatiguing, and clear -liquids-only filled week, we all tentatively decided we had survived what was definitely one of the most horrible flues we have ever shared!

You know that sense of well-being when a really vicious headache finally ebbs and you feel SO good, so grateful to be alive and completely yourself again? That is the feeling I experienced when I woke up and realized that I had finally beaten that nasty bug. A sensation so wonderful, that I was overcome with a sense of gratitude for my life and all my blessings. I also realized that this overwhelming awareness of the goodness of life would soon be replaced by everyday irritations and annoyances. It is so easy to forget the simple gift of life.

This thought reminded me of Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, and I realized that I take my happiness for granted — I spend more time than I should thinking about what I don’t have instead of what I do have. So, I decided to embark upon my own project — maybe not as structured or well-laid out as Ms. Rubin’s, but some sort of awareness campaign that will help me be happier, live more in the moment  — and, well, be more Cathy. Find out about Gretchen Rubin and The Happiness Project  here.

So, as I am contemplating what my “Rules of Happiness” might be and deciding if I want to write my own happiness “Manifesto”, I thought I would jump right in and start doing some small things to “be” happy.

The first small thing that I thought I would try, is to follow the traditional Sufi maxim “The Four Gates of Speech”. This advice is closely aligned to the Buddhist tenet of “Right Speech” (click here for a post on Right Speech and the Eightfold Path) and can be more simply put as “think before you speak”!

The Sufi Four Gates of Speech* are four questions to apply to your words before you say them out loud. The idea is that your “speech” must pass through each gate before you allow them to be heard. If you can answer yes, to all four questions, then it is appropriate for you to speak. The four gates are:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it beneficial (kind)?
  3. Is it necessary?
  4. Is it timely?

By following this advice, I hope to become more aware of what I say and how it affects the people around me. Feeling good about myself and making sure that I do not hurt anyone by speaking carelessly will definitely make me happier!