Sunday, November 17, 2013

On Contentment.

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.

- Lao Tzu

Happiness is not a's a by-product of a life well lived.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.
- Socrates

Our day old fresh batch of chicks.
 I've been thinking a lot about life purpose lately. I think it's probably because of one of my units at uni - getting the mind ticking about all kinds of deep things! In one of my lectures it was said that in modern, secular life, people tend to engage in the pursuit of happiness as their ultimate life purpose. I wasn't sure if that resonated with me. Happiness seems so fickle, you think you have it and it slips through your fingers. The pursuit of happiness seems to me to be akin to chasing echoes. You know they are there, but you just can't seem to grasp them. Happiness is fleeting, and dependent on influences outside of ourselves. Things make us happy. Things make us happy.

Lazy summery days in the hammock.
What I seek is contentment. Contentment begins inside of me, it's not a fast, rolling boil of emotions, it is rather like a simmering pot, always warm and ready for a pot of tea. Contentment isn't about what we have, or haven't, it's about enjoying what's there, without feeling we need more. Contentment is about being in tune with our values and beliefs and living accordingly. Contentment is not restless, or dissatisfied, it's calm and strong enough to ride out the harder days secure in the belief that our lives are just as they should be.

Labneh in chilli and herb olive oil.
Lately, I have been feeling so thankful for the life we lead. We don't have much money. We make sacrifices accordingly. But we live well, so well. We love our home, our little family, our community. We love the land that surrounds us, the Earth that sustains us. We love the animals and the gardens that feed us. We love making do, repurposing, breathing new life into old things. We eat like kings and queens, and appreciate the skills we are learning to help support ourselves in the life choices we have made. We live simply, we don't need much, we run out of money nearly every fortnight. But it's fine. We go without. We thrive without.

When Nath finished work, the money question was the one we were asked most often - how will you survive? I will admit, it was the thing we were most nervous about, too. Four months in, though, and I can honestly say that not only are we surviving, we are thriving. We want for nothing. Sure, our holidays are shorter and more local than they have been in the past. Dinners out are fewer, and we tend not to pay for convenience anymore (Can I make it myself?). Do I miss these things? Not really. This life we lead, is the right life for us.

Probably for the first time in my life, I am truly content. It's wonderful, and even bad days are made better with the knowledge that life is just as it is meant to be.  

1 comment:

  1. The moment when you can say you are content, truly content, is a magical moment. It's satisfying, strengthening, oh-so-right and deeply soul warming. :)


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