Thursday, 29 November 2012

Contentment

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"Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed" - Mary Oliver

Contentment is a funny thing to chase. It glimmers like sunlight amongst leaves and scatters when we least expect it. It dances across our eyelids, making us sigh and lift our faces to the sky, then it disappears quite suddenly behind a cloud and the more we try to seek it, the less it can be found.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about contentment, and the way it's lost and found.

All summer long I stared steadily at the things that I had no power to change, and felt discontent settle on my soul. I longed for joyfulness in the present and yet my mind was too mixed up in the future to truly see the goodness all around me.

And so, in an attempt to grasp happiness and clutch contentment, I spent September recording three beautiful things each day, just as I did in Lent.

Sometimes it was a struggle. Sometimes it was a chore. Sometimes I had to sit quietly with my eyes closed to pick out the beauty amongst all the busyness. But most days, when I sat to review my day, a flood of good things sprung into my heart and I had to squeeze my mind and force my hand to limit my list to three.

Since September, I've not recorded three beautiful things each day, but instead something unexpected has happened. I've stopped dwelling on the future or seeking happiness in a desperate sort of way. I've stopped tormenting myself with the things that I can't change and the decisions I can't yet make, and I've found a quiet peace in the present. The days pass in an easy roll. Beauty flashes in and out of focus before my eyes and sunlight dapples my days with random blessings, just as it ought.

It's a fragile and precious gift, this contentment, and so I hold it lightly, gently, unsure how I've happened across it and unsure how long it will last, but knowing that I must savour its sweetness for every second that it stays and understanding with a humble heart, that I need only stand where I am to be blessed.

6 comments:

  1. Very profound. I think it is to do with letting go of your expectations. I've had fertility issues this year, which involved letting go of mine. In doing so I've also found a new "sort of" peace. A sometimes flow.

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  2. That being in the moment is so hard - very glad that you are there right now - long may it last! x

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  3. I'm glad you are back, Helen.

    Stephanie

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  4. Fear not Helen, once you have discovered the knack of contentment, it never leaves you. Yes, you still go through the sad, bad, mad times but their pain is lessened as you have learnt how to find some inner peace.
    God bless.
    L.x.

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  5. Once you know what contentment feels like and how to find it you are always within reach although there will be some times when life makes you face in another direction.

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  6. So pleased to see you back, Helen. Loved your September diary too. Bobby x

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