“If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need” ~Cicero
How many of you are content? This seems to be a perfect time to reflect on your degree of contentment as you are forced to hibernate within the walls of your homes due to COVID-19.
I asked myself this question last evening as I stood over the stove mincing fresh garlic into the pasta sauce. As I began to stir the sauce I glanced up at my Ultimate Concierge staring at me. He was sitting at the kitchen table and smiling. Soft music flowed through our home which has become ‘the norm’ over the past two weeks. I asked, “What are you thinking?”
He answered, “I am just thinking how content I am watching you make dinner.” I felt a wave of physical and emotional contentment sweep over me because he was content and after two weeks of cooking I was once again in rhythm with everything in my kitchen and enjoying the experience.
A Number of Factors
I decided that being happy is influenced by a number of factors, including contentedness. It means you are satisfied and so I quickly noted that I would write a story on how to live a lifestyle of contentment especially in these trying times when it is hard to feel content.
It is now 5:29 a.m. the next morning. I am sitting in the dark with my laptop open deep in thought as I focus on what defines contentment. Naturally, I think of myself and people I know and conclude there is a difference between happiness and contentment. Happiness is a frequent state of mind when a person feels joyful over an incident. Contentment is a long-lasting state of mind when a person is satisfied with their accomplishment(s) and their life and not always wishing for more.
I believe we choose whether we want to be contented or discounted.
Thinking Back on Old Memories
I leaned back into my chair and thought further about the word and remembered a time in my life when my situation could have put me in the depths of despair. Darlings, I had every reason to be genuinely unhappy and should have been very discontent with my life. But… I wasn’t!
When I was a young married woman I was faced with a very long-lasting and difficult time in my life. So, I decided, at my young age, that the way to combat the problem was to be grateful and content with what I had and not let the situation stop me from living a personal and fruitful life of contentment. And, I made a conscious decision.
I was wise beyond my years. I suppose it was part wisdom and part of my inherited gene pool of positivity. Whatever it was I knew I would make lemonade out of lemons and not let anything stop me from being content.
I made a conscious choice to join a specific group of women who had the same calling I had and eventually I became the Chairman of the group for four years. My effort gave me lasting contentment because I derived self-satisfaction, gladness, gratification, serenity and a feeling of pride and a spurt in intellectual and spiritual growth. When my life normalized I was the Queen of Gratitude and am to this day. It does not take much for me to a content woman.
I Am Loved and I Love
Back to my story…
I never discussed the problem and focused on enjoying the group. And because I made a choice to find contentment, I was happy.
Am I always happy? Of course not. Am I always content? No. But on a scale of 1-10 in this difficult period of life, I have to give myself a 9.
Why? Because I am loved and I love. Because one of my favorite words is simplicity and though I lead an extraordinary life, my mind thinks simplicity. Little things make me feel happy and content.
I know many women are not happy with their life ‘situation’ and for good reason. There are family matters, financial situations, health worries, loneliness for an abundance of different reasons, adult children stressing you out big time and the feeling of invisibility after a certain age.
It is not unhappy situations that steal away contentment but rather the choice on how to meet the challenges. It is about your attitude.
Self-isolation is the perfect time to sit alone with your thoughts in your library, your garden, your kitchen or bedroom and reflect on how you are living your life. Remember, no one is going to create a Utopia for you. It is up to you to create one for yourself. Everyone has the ability to harness personal contentment.
As Gandi said, “Man’s happiness really lies in contentment” and “Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.”
See, Darlings, healthy discontent can be turned into contentment. So, think about your gifts; your family, your relationships, your friends and the roof over your head and the food on your table and just let yourself breathe and feel content.
I know a woman who wears a tattoo on the inside of her wrist. It says, ‘Simply Be.’ Without a doubt, this is a good place to start on your journey, to find what triggers contentment from within. Simply be, my Darlings. Simply be.