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Posts Tagged ‘contentment’

Calm Satisfaction

cimg16411Perhaps I misnamed my blog. Or maybe it’s just that my definition of flow is different than I first thought. Or just maybe – I’ve come to a milestone in the journey. During those much-needed days of rest over the long holiday weekend, it finally occurred to me that what I am yearning for right now is contentment. Can a malcontent ever find flow in life? And how did I get here? Why must I always be looking for something different, something to improve about myself or my surroundings? Can it be that discontent drives me to growth that would never occur otherwise? Or is it just perfectionism in disguise? I spent three days with people who not only love me, but like me too. Three glorious days with no pressure to meet anyone’s unrealistic expectations – especially my own. A close encounter with an epiphany showed me that nearly all of the stress and pressure I’ve been feeling is self-inflicted. This is a scary revelation. Now I have to own it.

And so my journey to flow makes a side trip to finding contentment. I like the definition of contentment: a feeling of calm satisfaction. Key word here is calm. And calm goes back to being present. All roads lead to presence. Once there, everything is possible. So how to get there? Let’s start with gratitude. Like everything else in life, when I want to get better at something, I have to practice. When life gets hectic and stressful, it’s too easy for me to focus on the problems and begin to lose sight of everything that is good and lovely in my life. And so the easy step is to acknowledge all of those things and reflect on the blessings already abundant in my life. The challenge then, is finding gratitude with those things that cause me discontent.

I am thankful for my job. Really, I am. It pays the bills and I get to keep my treasured grown-up toy. I can even keep up with the college bills for three daughters. Trouble is, the job has sucked the life straight out of me and my wounded soul cries out for substance. How I would love to embrace mediocrity so that the impossibility of doing my best work was not so draining. Is that my sharp intellect and sparkling creativity fading off into oblivion? I’m scared. Afraid that it is gone forever – that the brain cells are damaged and not just atrophied. I’m exhausted by the daily battle of dealing with stubborn dogma and gargantuan egos. How do I find gratitude in this? Authentic gratitude that resides in the soul and gives birth to contentment? The only way to dig out of this black hole is one small acknowledgment at a time. Here goes:

I am truly grateful for the industrious and competent people on my staff.

I am truly grateful for the one person who keeps their promises.

I am truly grateful for the three team members who take personal responsibility to deliver their parts of the project we work on together.

I am truly grateful for the smile that bubbles up when a colleague answers “marvelous” to the question of how he’s doing.

I am truly grateful for the challenges that make me grow beyond my comfort zone.

I am truly grateful for realizing that most of the stress I feel at work is self-inflicted. I can change that.

I am truly grateful for the endless supply of decaf coffee and tea.

I am truly grateful that I have a place to go outside for lunch and soak up some sunshine.

I am truly grateful for the itty bit of work flexibility I have.

I am truly grateful that I don’t worry about losing my job.

There. I feel more content already.

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