I have always been on a search of sorts. A search for something more, something intangible, a feeling that seemed elusive and often just out of reach. Happiness. I used to wonder if I was happy? Was I happy enough? How happy was everyone else? Life plugged along, but I often found myself trying to reach a different state that was slightly beyond me.
When I first became a mother, my own Mom gave me a picture. It wasn’t the prettiest of pictures. It was quite plain. The picture itself was kind of cheesy. I can’t remember what it looked like exactly, but it was more the words that struck me. All it said was “Today I wish for you moments of contentment and peace”. I remember reading it for the first time and thinking WTF?? I aim for way more than that. I don’t want ‘moments’ of it, I am shooting for widespread contentment and peace! How strange that my own Mom would wish for me only ‘moments’. And contentment? Weren’t we aiming for something more than just contentment? Wasn’t “happiness” a better goal?
I was puzzled by this gift, I hung it in my bedroom for years, but kind of chuckled inside whenever I looked at it. I was aiming much higher, I had no real use for ‘moments’. As the years went by, and several house moves, I eventually got rid of this picture. It did not mean a whole lot to me and it wasn’t really visually appealing either. It didn’t really ‘speak’ to me.
Years went by, my kids were growing up, life was happening. Those words from the picture always hung somewhere in my subconscious and they very slowly began to take on more meaning for me. Some lessons we can only learn with time.
I have come to understand there is nothing quite as sweet as taking a moment to stop, appreciate, soak in and give thanks for everything that is… in that exact moment. It is an awareness, a slowing of the hectic pace, a marker where I stop and realize that this moment is truly amazing. There is beauty all around us. I have children that I always knew I wanted. I live in a spectacular place, surrounded by trees and lakes. I am strong, I am healthy, I am alive. Soak it all in. Take the moment to do that. Really SEE your children. That is all it takes, and then resume whatever is calling your attention at that time.
This is a skill. As I got older, I learned to take more and more moments in my day to soak it all in. Don’t miss out on the laughter, the smiles, the music, the quiet. All of it. When you take a moment to appreciate your contentment and peace, it is a grounding, fulfilling, joyful practice. It is not searching for some elusive feeling called “happiness” which can seem
like a high bar we are trying to reach. It is acknowledging something that already is. Right here, right now. Just feel it. It is inside of us. And it is like gold. If we remember to pay attention. I would say now that if we pause to have moments of contentment and peace in our day, then the rest is gravy.
It took me a long time to learn what that phrase meant. And now the picture is gone, and so is my Mom. But I do feel like she was on to something there. I just wasn’t ready to learn it at that time. It seemed too simple for me. I prefer to complicate things. Nowadays, if I have some moments of contentment and peace in my day, I call that a win.
Here is my wish for you. Take pause in your life as often as you remember to, and appreciate what ‘is’ in that moment. Let it sink in deeply. The next moment may return to the normal pace, but taking this moment does wonders for our mind, body and heart. And it helps to balance out and manage the more challenging moments in life. Thank you for that Mom.