"We come equipped with everything we need to experience a powerful life full of joy, incredible passion, and profound peace. The difficult part is giving ourselves permission to live it." Deborah Rosado Shaw
Summer is a great time to practice slowing down and re-connecting with what you enjoy most in life -- spending time appreciating nature, barbequing with old friends, or expressing yourself through a creative hobby such as painting or gardening. These are what I call the "humble riches" of life. They don't necessarily cost a lot of money but their "bang for your buck" in terms of your quality of life is huge.
Often when we think of taking steps to improve our quality of life we think about big steps --quitting a job, getting physically fit or moving house. Today I would like to introduce you to another approach. I call it Momentary Contentment. This means not necessarily waiting for one of those perfect times when everything feels completely in alignment and you wouldn't change a thing, but rather, it is recognizing when you feel mostly content. You may have a few worries about your life but nothing so pressing that it stops you from enjoying the humble riches that are available to you here and now.
Recognizing any moments of contentment, be they Momentary or perfect, pulls you back in touch with what is good about your day and your life. It lifts your spirits and naturally shifts your mental state from your anxieties, worries, and concerns to possibilities, appreciation, and gratitude.
Recently I was traveling on a morning commuter bus to Boston. As I was riding along I was worrying about all the to-do's ahead of me that day. Just then something caught my eye and I looked out the window next to me. What a sight! Beautiful wispy clouds were strewn across the blue summer sky. The silver glint of a jet was flying across and leaving behind two streams of ethereal white vapor. The tops of the nearby trees were bursting with full, summery green leaves. The vibrant mix of colors looked like a painting.
I thought to myself, "Ah ha! This is as close to a quiet, contemplative moment as I'm likely to get all day. I feel mostly content -- I have a few worries about my work day but nothing so demanding as to stop me from taking this moment to enjoy the view nature is offering to me."
I continued watching as the bright sunlight caught the edges of some of the clouds and not others. The scene changed from moment to moment in front of my eyes, never to be repeated in exactly the same way again. White, Blue, Green. White feathery clouds, blue skies and green trees. It was beautiful.
While gazing at this scene, my thoughts shifted to what a warm and sunny day it was and how lucky I was to have such good weather for my trip into the city. I couldn't have asked for a better day for walking between bus stations and T stops and my various meetings. Starting to feel gratitude for the good things in the day, I effortlessly let go of the tension I had been holding about the schedule of obligations laid out before me. I was able to sit back and literally, enjoy the ride. I felt blessed by lifes humble riches.
Think of this newsletter as permission to give your self a few much deserved breaks of Momentary Contentment this month. Why not notice the world around you and revel in its wonders, call an old friend you haven't talked to in a while, or take a half an hour to do something you love?
Lucky you, these riches are yours for the taking. Enjoy!