Cindy places her right paw gently on my left leg as I sit at my computer, working on this article. I rub her floppy black ears, observing the white feathering amidst her black muzzle of fur, more prominent each day. She gazes at me with a tenderhearted focus, and settles down, curling up near my feet and drifts off into predictable slumber. Last July, when we adopted this newest four-legged treasure, who would know she could bring such joy and serenity to our lives? Throughout each day, our 13-year old black lab epitomizes an essential aspect of health and wellbeing that can benefit us all, as we cross the threshold into 2018 ~ CONTENTMENT.
We live in a culture that much of the time finds ways to defeat our sense of true gratification, inundating us with ads and shows that bring out inadequacies we may feel, breeding a sense of gloominess and restlessness, a displeasure with our “state” in life, as opposed to lifting us up in ways that enhance our self-confidence.
On the contrary, contentment is a natural human characteristic, an emotional state that embodies both happiness and satisfaction through peaceful ease of mind. It is typically a milder, more convincing form of fulfillment that embodies serenity, comfort, reconciliation, and acknowledgement. Contentment provides the power to step into reality with unquestionable joy.
Definitively, contentment is a mental choice, one by which we can develop sufficient emotional maturity to be capable of purposefully committing to self-care as essential to optimal wellbeing, no matter life’s circumstances. Contentment actually can be nurtured by embracing life’s ups-and-downs, accepting each as a learning experience. My most challenging encounters have been my “best teachers” in the long run. It is our attitude, how we approach each experience, which allows us to embolden this natural human attribute, this “peace of mind”. Correspondingly, enhancing contentment fosters loving kindness, creativity, and hope ~ all admirable aspects of this special place of peace and quietude.
What are the best ways to cultivate contentment in our lives? Here are just a few ways to keep serenity in your life:
Practice body-friendly, stress-relieving yoga postures: movement is basic to nourishing the body-mind-spirit aspect, so a “flowing” class can really be uplifting;
Learn which breath practices calm body and mind, and which ignite the energetic spirit within: essentially, both are crucial, so understanding each is critical to life satisfaction;
Meditate daily, purposefully taking small breaks throughout your “busyness” to attune to your breath, asking yourself: “What is it I need right here, right now? Calming or energizing?” Listen to what your being is ‘saying’ … then act.
Cindy is nudging my arm ~ it’s now her turn for attention! She’s ready for a run in the chilly, winter air, eager to chase squirrels and rabbits. Life is good ~ it can be just right, if we let it be so. Cindy gives us a perfect lesson of living moment-to-moment, satisfied with whatever happens...
Let’s move into 2018, finding that contentment in our own lives, too!