I love the word contentment, it signifies a deep peace, an easy grace, a comfortable state of being. Happiness is fickle. Contentment lasts through the long haul. Happiness is fleeting. Contentment is stable. And I imagine the one thing you want right now is stability, it's what I needed when the shit hit the fan and the rug was yanked out from under me. My wounded self wouldn't believe I could ever be happy again. Happy. What a word! People pay a lot for happiness. We seek it.....no, we doggedly pursue it, and when we grasp it for a fleeting moment in our hot little hand, we squeeze the very life out of it. Then it flees, bolting on its merry way, laughing back at us as we stand there in its wake....broken, desperate, sad....all because we wanted to be "happy". Happy was a dwarf in a Disney cartoon, and that's where it belongs in my book. "I'm so happy"! Yeah, but I'll bet you anything it's was some external thing that happened to trigger your response. You got a new job, a new car, you won the lottery, you have a new lover, you bought a killer dress....a red one, slit up the side, sleek and daring....and you got it for a fraction of it's original cost because you are one smart, savvy shopper. Then what? The job begins to suck, your boss becomes an ass, you wreck the car....or it gets a dent in it's shiny new paint, the money gets spent....or every relative you never knew you had shows up with their hand out. The lover loves you...then leaves you. The dress, after you wore it and knocked 'em dead with your gloriously toned body beneath, suddenly is a little tight and in your mind you see yourself as fat. Oh God, then what? Happiness is the temperamental, changeable twin sister of Contentment. She's the Hussy in the fish nets, Contentment is the beauty in the flannel pajamas. One torments, the other nurtures. Which do we really want? You know what it is, we all hunger for it. A deep, easy sigh of relief is what we want. We want Wellness, Balance, Stability. For me, these equal the kind of Contentment nothing on the outside can provide.
Contentment lies in the sweetest of places. She hangs behind after the party is over and hopes you notice her looking at the the moon and stars. She awaits your deep breath, the one that says, "This is what it's all about". It's not the people, or the stuff of our lives that gives us the contentment we seek. It's the feeling that you are enough, as you are, that you will not allow your joy to be robbed by those you never should have entrusted your tender heart to. It comes from loving yourself first.
Contentment my friends, is the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, and all-wise being that resides inside you. Court her, it's what she wants. A little attention to the quiet sister and she will take your hand down the road to lasting joy. Here's how:
For starters, try living on less, downsize if need be. A divorce is very good at causing you to downsize, in fact, I believe it's a necessity to cut out the things we no longer need, and to review and repeat periodically. Cut the stranglehold you have on other people. Let them be who they are. Do you find that tough? Not surprising, since letting others be who they are without trying to change them puts the spotlight back on you, yeah, that uncomfortable light that forces you to focus on yourself for once. What a joy to embrace a certain self-centeredness though! It's the kind of focus that asks, "What makes your heart sing"? What has brought you a deep feeling of joy before in your life? What are the things that make you feel good? Find out what they are. In this season of "too much" and overwhelming to-do lists, stop for an afternoon and give yourself the gift of remembering what it is you truly love. Bet you it's something that doesn't cost a cent! Then go ahead and give it to yourself. It's time babe, to rediscover what you have neglected.
Your quiet center awaits your loving touch. Pause, ask, listen....then give yourself that special something that will make you smile inside. Be careful though, you just might start to feel a contentment that will overtake your need for the trivial. You just might find you are falling in love with yourself.....maybe for the first time. Just a little attention will put kindness to yourself back in your life. Contentment will surely follow....but then she'll lead you home. Your heart's home.
Until next time....blessings upon your heart