Thriving Women: Contentment...
Posted on March 20, 2005 at 10:16 a.m.
Dearest Thriving Women,
We had a lunch meeting with Nii Armah Solwah (our wonderful African singing inspiration for iTHRiVE) last Saturday in Boulder. It was a brisk day with blue, blue skies juxtaposed with the remaining golds and reds of the trees lining the sidewalk. People around us were hustling along, heads down into the wind, and the three of us were deep in conversation about the complexity of sustaining happiness in life. We talked about iTHRiVE and what we are hoping that women are discovering in themselves and in building a community of and for women. Nii Armah was adding his views and expounding on some of his recent experiences in Africa when he said something that I have been pondering ever since. He was talking about contentment. Nii Armah posed that if one is not content in his/her one bedroom house, it is quite unlikely that he/she will be content in a new four bedroom house. That statement really resonated with me.
We have talked a bit about gratitude and its healing properties, but we have not explored the concept of contentment. We are an acquisition oriented culture. Media and cultural norms seem to be about more…bigger…higher….longer….younger. This emphasis would seem to be an oxymoron to the sense of contentment.
What does this mean to you? I had some immediate images of choosing to stay home on a weekend night instead of going out, so content to be in my cozy home in quiet and peace. Or the sense of a full belly after being ravenously hungry and lingering at the table to savor the feeling and relaxation. Of nursing a baby in the silence of an otherwise sleeping household, feeling the magic and fleetingness of that precious moment. The gathering of beloved friends or family around the table and glancing up to take in the delight of sharing food and community with those we love. I think it would be almost impossible to experience contentment without also feeling happiness. It is a deepening, a ripening, an exquisite awareness that comes in a quiet form. There is a grace and almost a stillness that comes with contentment…..it permeates to the heart and soul of us.
Over lunch we went on with the discussion to differentiate between contentment and complacency. This is an important distinction. Complacency does not move us forward while contentment can travel in any direction. We can experience contentment and still have the desire and drive to achieve and accomplish more, and the outcome of the achievements and accomplishments will have a different feel of celebration if one already has contentment in life! It would be for the sheer joy of the inward experience rather than the outward manifestation….WOW, what a concept!!
As we enter this holiday season, it may be a balancing and calming remedy to focus on our contentment. If we are already content in our lives, in our homes, with our possessions, then how might we direct our energies during this time? If we can already feel our fullness and the riches we have, how might the holidays look this year?
Contentment…..our wish for each of you in yourselves and in your lives.
Much love and light,
Randi and Daniela