I’m inspired to write this today after reading an Instagram post from a beautiful, young, intelligent woman that I know.
Her post begins with the simple question, ‘Are you happy?’ and then goes on to point out that we are under so much pressure at this time of year to be happy, not just content. To give more, eat more and party harder. She points out that as a recent graduand with no job or money she has felt under a lot of stress and has had to pretend to be merry and bright as her true situation is hopeless.
She is not alone.
Someone I know lost his wife on Christmas day, leaving him with a newborn son. In the town centre an old man sleeps rough beside his dog. In the hospital a young man is fighting cancer, trying to smile through the pain. A neighbour suffers from depression and refuses all invitations to join anyone for Christmas day. For them, Christmas magnifies their situation.
We’ve all seen the images of a perfect Christmas and that is what many people strive to attain, exhausting themselves and their wallets in the process.
Can we simply be content instead of ecstatically happy? And what does that even look like? And what has mindfulness got to do with it?
Living mindfully means paying attention to what is around us in the present moment. By being aware of what is going on now, rather than being stuck inside our heads, we may find it easier to find pleasure in our present moment experience. As the mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat Zinn says:
“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.”
If we can find pleasure in the little things, the little moments, we can begin to experience an inner peace that we will not find when mindlessly striving to achieve so-called perfection. And the slow glow of contentment will last longer than the bright flame of an ecstatic moment of happiness.
I invite you to share the things that make you feel content. I’ll begin the list and would love you to add more:
-The warmth of the fire lit with pine cones from the forest
-My children’s smiles
-Reading a good book
-A warm bath
-The smell of oranges
-My dogs snuggling next to me
So, what makes you content?
Jacqueline x 🎄