What makes you feel the most content? Mull it over. It’s a time when your heart and soul are smiling simultaneously with pleasure, along with a calm sense of peaceful satisfaction. Ultimate contentment can come in the form of brief, fleeting moments or it can be a more elongated period of time that offers a sense of tranquility. However, what is paramount is the realization of being aware in the moment or time period that you are truly content rather than realizing it too late …on down the road.
I have experienced the beauty of contentment with its brief pleasures, but I have also had several “life-eras” that have created a sense of all-encompassing contentment. One profound period was the summer of 1980. It was the epitome of the true meaning of carefree natural wealth. I had just graduated from Meredith College and I was living in Raleigh with several of my favorite college friends. Studying days were over and we had jobs that weren’t enormously constraining at that point. It was a time period where there were no family responsibilities, traumas or dramas. The beauty is that we had mastered the art of “goofiness” and the gift of laughing was our art form—the knee-slapping, cheekbone hurting, unable to catch your breath style of laughing. It was all about loving life and draining every moment dry. But the great return was that we KNEW WE WERE HAPPY! I remember my grandmother called me one day and I practically sang to her, “Nana, I am soooo happy!” I was experiencing contentment…and more importantly, I KNEW IT!
I, of course, moved forward to the next phase of contentment that was just as powerful. Holding my newborn sons was an indescribable level of contentment, along with the indelible, content emotion of love through all the natural phases of rearing these precious commodities. My most favorite short-lived period of contentment is sitting on the beach in a dreamy state while listening to the sounds of the ocean waves…..Or watching my favorite TV shows under my electric blanket after giving myself permission to “call it a day.”
To appease my curious mind, I decided to check into the psyches of my friends, male and female of varying ages, to find out what precipitates ultimate contentment for them. Here are the compelling answers:
* a long, rainy Sunday afternoon with my husband curled up beside me….and my house is clean.
* lying under the covers in a semi-conscious state after an exhausting day with oatmeal cookies, chocolate milk and a good book.
* my first massage
* having all my children home while I cook for them and take care of them.
* sitting on my screened porch with a good book and some good noisy outside bugs
* pulling in the driveway safely and knowing everyone home safe and sound
* being at home with my husband and pets watching a movie
* good music and a bubble bath
* the moment I’m casting a lure towards a fish I want to catch
* a drive in the country or mountains with my husband and dog
* a good cup of coffee, sitting on the deck reading a good book
* potting my window boxes and pots
* having my kids home safe from parties, college, etc.
* that rare spot that shows the awesome beauty of nature like a small private beach
* a strong five mile run
* sitting in my favorite chair with my feet up having a glass of wine at the end of a long day when I know I have no other responsibilities
* after the minutia of the day, relaxing with a crossword puzzle, a heating pad and Law and Order
* curled up on the couch with a good book, wrapped in an afghan, and the dog or cat snuggled up beside me.
* watching Seinfeld reruns while eating slice- and- bake chocolate chip cookies with milk
* getting a call from all my children saying they are happy
*the content sounds of my cat’s purring
* taking a walk down a path filled with the colors and fragrances of autumn and look up into a clear, blue sky
*when my entire family gathers in a circle, holding hands to say a blessing before a meal
As you go about your day, stay peacefully poised and aware of the wonderful moments that generate the beauty of contentment. Treasure them and let their “natural wealth” carry you a long, long way on this journey called “life.”
Hunter Darden-you may order personalized copies of my books from this site by scrolling to the top and clicking on the link or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.