Monday, January 5, 2009

Contentment


So I have been composing this post in my mind for some time now and decided to do some research and found my thoughts written on the page before me. Hmm....I guess others are thinking about this stuff too. The concept is about contentment; being content.

There is a beautiful tension between desire for more (goals, wishes desires) and experiencing true contentment (happiness, bliss). How do we wrestle with the fact that our situations may be less than desirable yet hold something to be appreciated?

I went to a movie on Friday called Marley and Me. It was a movie about a dog and relationships surrounding the dog. The dog was badly behaved and quite the challenge. However, I was most interested in the relationship between the couple in the movie and intrigued by the internal struggle of the main character. He was a reporter, turned columnist, turned reporter again. In each step of the journey he really wondered whether he was doing what he was called to do and was oft times bordering on discontentment while simultaneously experiencing each step in his life. You know-- wondering if he missed the call to chase after the exciting stories in order to raise his family, wondering if he was selling himself short, stuck in a vision of self that seemed to evade him, while a new (dare I say, even better) self emerged.

It made me wonder how many of us are teetering on the cliff of "what could have been" or traveling in the cave of "maybe I should instead" rather than taking stock of the beauty around us. My experience and observation points to the wasted energy that comes from regret or the worry of what could be-- ultimately imposing judgement on oneself of the most unkind sort.

Does this mean that we shouldn't strive for something better? Should we settle for something that brings our spirit down? No. I think we are meant to purposefully appreciate what we have while discerning next steps toward our potential. And, sometimes our true potential may be among wonderful opportunities right around us that we are not or have not acknowledged. Somewhere we are taught discontentment and angst. Happiness, I believe is not in our circumstances but within ourselves and our ability to see the good in our everyday.

I do not profess to understand these things fully. I know that along the journey I have figured out some things and one is that happiness is not something that happens to you. It is something you claim.

Well, my words are not as eloquent as the ones found here. I like this article because it gives tips on how to get to contentment. Good news is that it is within our power. And given my current state of joblessness and singleness, they are good words to read and absorb.
As for the photo up top, I just thought I looked rather content. However I should confess-- I don't play the guitar.....
Yet.


4 comments:

AndyK said...

"However I should confess-- I don't play the guitar...."

I call bs-- that's clearly an E minor chord! : )

Mars Girl said...

It doesnt matter if you can play or not, as long as you look good. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey Erin. Very nice post. Much food for thought and something I have struggled with also many times in the past few years. You are right though... so many people expect external things to make them happy and it just does not happen. When you spend time with people who have literally nothing, you quickly find that many of them may not have all the "necessities" that we take for granted, yet they seem much more happy and content with themselves, their families, and life in general. I have seen this many times in my travels to Asia. I didn't read the link you posted yet, but I think your words are surely just as eloquent. Chris L.

Erin said...

Well as for the guitar, I think I may play around and see where it takes me.

As for contentment, I am getting a run for my money. I think perspective has a lot to do with where you stand, how you feel and where you ultimately end up.

Uh- oh, I feel another post coming on.

Chris, so glad you stopped by....