Contentment

 

 

 

 

I recently ran across a statement that set my pondering juices flowing:

Contentment is not the satisfaction of want;

it’s the pursuit of having enough.

                                                             — Lisa Avellan

The words are heavy and serious: contentment, satisfaction, want, pursuit, enough.

If you’ve ever lived with a child (you pick the age) you’ve often experienced their lack of satisfaction with what you’ve given them. Many times they want, or even demand, more. Or they have a temper tantrum in the middle of the store aisle. Some adults are like that as well, often towards their grown children. It’s like we can never do enough to satisfy their desire for our time, our energy, or our love.

The truth is many of us, particularly in our young adult years, spend our time and energy and money in the pursuit of more. We’re trying to get through school, to start our career, to start our family, to purchase a home — to achieve what people 20 years older have already done. We want it now. All of it. We don’t like to wait. We don’t want to save until we can pay cash. We have our own adult temper tantrums when things don’t easily come our way.

A second truth is the more we have, the more we want. When we’re finally able to purchase our first new car, we’re thinking (at least in the deep recesses of our minds) of all the bells and whistles we’d like on our next one. Our wants are never satisfied. And the more we have, the more time and energy and resources that are required to manage our stuff. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a kind of hoarding — the fear of running out or not getting everything we deserve — living from a place of scarcity.

But what if . . . what if . . . we could live out of the belief that

what we have is always more than enough

                                               — Marc and Angel

I’m not advocating that you live a monastic minimalist lifestyle as some advocate. I’m just suggesting that you look around your living space, your tiny corner of the universe, your private attitude, your inner spirit — and notice that you have what you need, perhaps you have more than you need — maybe way more than you need.

This attitude of contentment can gently morph into an attitude of abundance. When we are content and believe we have enough, we can set aside our learned habit of comparing ourselves to others. Our hearts can open to include others, our homes become places of generous hospitality, our ears listen with genuine interest, and our schedules become less frantic and more fluid.

If we take a step beyond the contentment with our physical stuff, perhaps we can work our way to a place of contentment with ourselves — believing that we ourselves, our souls, are everything we need. Again, skip the comparisons with others, and believe that you, yourself, are a work of creative genius, complete, yet always a work in progress.

There is courage within us and fearlessness and joy and creativity and voice and uniqueness.

Come forth, out of your abundance.

Until next Tuesday . . .

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2 thoughts on “Contentment

  1. Joan Wilson

    “I have enough” is something I learned many years ago. It transforms I NEED into That Would be Nice to Have or even into I Don’t Need Anything More — material, intellectual or spiritual, and leads to a very satisfying state of contentment, as you say.

    Reply

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