I Am Content
My personal definition of contentment is internal peacefulness that includes happiness and joy.
Writing a blog post about living a content life is a challenging assignment because there are very few people who can say they are content with their life. My own level of contentment ebbs and flows according to the quality of my spiritual practice. My goal is to be content every day, all day-long, for no other reason than I like the internal feeling of joy.
I’ve learned to see life as an educational process. Therefore, everything that comes to me, positive or negative, arrives for a reason. Every experience brings a lesson, and lessons learned create new levels of consciousness. What I’ve learned is just a drop in the cosmic bucket, but I am grateful my cosmic drops are accumulating into a tiny puddle!
Most of us can look back on our life and re-experience times of happiness – times when we were more peaceful and content than usual. While these times might not represent the achievement of contentment, they do offer us a glimpses of other emotional states that are healthier, happier, and more productive than our current state. For example, my uncle taught me unconditional love and, with him, I felt worthy and worthwhile. My 9th grade civics teacher taught me the importance of personal responsibility, and through experience taught me how good it felt to achieve. Without these two experiences and a few others like them, I would not have found my pathways to wholeness. We can’t achieve that which we don’t know exists.
After a healing or emotional growth experience I always ask my clients, “What has changed for you today?” It is very important to recognize and embrace positive change, even when the changes are baby steps.
Here is my list of what has hanged for me along my spiritual journey to contentment:
- Increased confidence
- Increased self-worth
- The ability to allow my authentic self out to play
- Acceptance of my personal responsibility for my own mental-emotional-spiritual well-being
- I am rarely critical or judgmental of myself or anyone else
- I am more trusting in myself and others
- I know how to find my way back if I allow stress or negativity.
I can no longer say I live a mindful life-style and practice energy medicine techniques. I now can say this is who I am. I focus on happiness and joy and I trust that my needs will be met. This trust, this certainty that I am a spiritual being in a human body, has changed my life. I am free.
Here are some of the ways you can evaluate where you are along your contentment journey. If you have moments of peace and contentment in your life, you are on the right path. If you’ve let go of the past, forgiven yourself and others, you are on the right path. If you can catch your negative thoughts and rephrase and restate them in a positive manner, you are on the right path. If you know that your peace, joy, and contentment come from your heart and soul, you are on the right path. If you are letting go of criticism and judgment, you are on the right path. If your sense of humor is alive and well, and you can laugh and be silly, you are on the right path. If you can speak your truth and put your truth into action, you are being guided by Spirit and you are becoming the person you were born to become. You are becoming your authentic self.
I wish you a contented life.
I get a lot of messages and don’t read them all. But title of today’s message grabbed me. It is also the title of an article I had written about my Dad. I remember observing a small group session and one of the participants said they were content, the leader said they should be better than just content. I didn’t agree. Here is the story:
“I am content”
They say that people die as they live. Such was the case in my father’s life and death. Both were gentle, peaceful, dignified and with grace. He had a rough last two years, open heart surgery, diagnosis of diabetes and then prostate cancer that was found already metastasized to his bones.
I remember when he had a section of back removed and replaced with metal rods because of the growth of the tumor and the severe pain and prognosis of paralysis and incontinence. He then valiantly attempted to regain all his pre-op activities. He was 6’4″ and around 220 pounds most of his life. He began his decline in the spring needing a walker, then using a chair to get around, then sitting up, then resting in bed. He weighed less than 100 pounds while he was still able to stand and lost even more. It is painful to watch someone so well loved prepare to leave you behind. I believe in miracles so prayer for a cure is where my energy went. But there are all kinds of miracles.
He was wise to the end, even when his physical strength did not serve him to sit up. I remember my niece going to the funeral of a family member of one of her high school friends. Grandpa told her how proud he was of her, that it was important when someone is sorrowing to go to them and share in their sorrow. He also told her if she knew someone who was celebrating to go to them and share their joy.
Even not eating and in constant pain he was always “fantastic.” I can still see his face light up when a couple came and shared the news that they were expecting a baby. Days before he died, he was genuinely so “glad to hear.”
Shortly before he died he said some words that we had to ask him to repeat, it was barely audible through lack of strength. I put my ear close to his lips and heard “I am content.” My cousin was there and explained that it is the title of a Lutheran hymn (Dad was Lutheran, I am Catholic). We later used that hymn at the funeral.
But as I have reconsidered those events, I don’t believe it had anything to do with that hymn. He had shared with us that the two most important things in life were your faith and your family. He was strong in his faith. He had told my mother she was a wonderful wife and they had had wonderful children. He had told us that he loved us. I feel it was an attesting to the all rightness of all, as Julian of Norwich had said,
“All will be well,
And all will be well,
And all manner of things will be well.”
I believe in the anonymous quote I saw: “Death is not putting out the light, it is extinguishing the candle because the dawn has come.” And it gives me peace.
In your life, what thoughts do you hold onto? It is easy to have faith when everything seems right in your world. When the crisis or challenges come along, it is then more obviously the journey of your soul. That is the time to go deeper, praying for spiritual knowledge.
I too am content.
Lynn Durham, RN, author of From Frazzled to Fantastic! You’re One Thought Away From Feeling Better, and Dancing Gracefully With Life, speaker, well being coach. 603-926-9700 http://www.lynndurham.com
Oh my! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful article about your father and his passing. What a gift he gave when he whispered “I am content”. He left in peace and offered you peace in his going. His was a great love. If you’ll send me the link to the original article, I’ll share it on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/janetgnestor