I have a secret. I have a secret love of all things Mary Engelbreit. Yes. I said it. You would never find her kitchy folk-art pieces in my home, but I love looking at them and follow her work on social channels and have even been known to buy bookmarks or planners with her art. It was through something of hers that the idea of "bloom where you are planted" first came to my attention. It's something I frequently forget, but when I remember it, it's like a cosmic slap on the head. It's also something I've never quite conquered.
Always ready to move onto the next thing to find contentment, escapism into a good book, looking ahead to the future, I rarely give myself time to Be. Here. Now. I came close to this BK (before kids). This was in the days when I had time for a yoga class and meditation. I was able to sit in stillness on a regular basis and clear my mind and find myself present. Why can't I have this as a wife, mom and business owner? Where did that go?
Out the window, it would seem! What else has gone out the window? My daily practice of gratitude. Daily meditation. Daily exercise. Healthy diet. Creating a beautiful home. In my pursuit of happiness or finding contentment externally, I threw out all of the things that make me content.
Essentially, I gradually threw out a lot of great habits for some really bad ones as I sank deep into survival mode. Mommyhood, caring for elder parents, our adoption, plus saying yes to a lot of things stealing my time and energy when I should have said no brought me to this place. I have been reaching out to clients the last week letting them know I'll be taking a small sabbatical. Nothing lengthy. Just a few weeks. I'll be saying no a lot during those weeks and saying yes to only me and our home and give occasional yeses to the kids and the hubby. Otherwise, the answer is no. (I DO have one meeting the first week of March, but that's okay.) This week I am wrapping up a couple of projects and since making this decision a couple of weeks ago to take a break, I have been sinking into some things I don't normally allow myself to do in preparation of finding and living contentment.
I've binge watched TV and taken cat naps and read great fiction. I've given myself permission to buy frozen pizzas for the kids and even told my husband no I wouldn't cook dinner for his grandparents (whom I adore). We can stop and pick up pizzas as my energy is in doing something I (with a CAPITAL "I") want to do, which is starting the kitchen remodel. I'm giving myself permission to do that. For the second time in 7 days I've exercised. You have no idea what a big deal that one is!
How do YOU harness contentment? I would love to give you a 5 step approach to finding this elusive feeling, but the reality is, we all find it in our own way. My way is through creating a beautiful home, cooking delicious meals for my family, blogging, meditating and napping, spending time with friends/family, gardening and yes, even through exericse (I don't love to exercise, but am immensely happy when I do). Despite knowing I cannot define contentment for you, I can give you a few daily practices that may help you on this road.
1. Find gratitude. Start your day with something you are grateful for. End your day with something you are grateful for. When great moments happen, whether it's avoiding a wreck or getting the last of some special ingredient off the shelf at the grocery, say thank you to (fill in the blank). Write down your gratitudes, post them on FB or IG. Whatever your methodology is, find gratitude.
2. Walk or exercise. 5 minutes or 50 minutes. Just DO It!
3. Pray or Meditate. These are similar, can act separately or in unison. You may be averse to prayer. That's fine. Meditate. Find stillness. If you need to do it through a You Tube meditation video or app, it doesn't matter. Just do it.
4. Eat healthy and avoid sugar. I don't know what else to say about this. Stop the afternoon sugar crashes by not having sugar beyond your 2nd cup of coffee. You will thank yourself for for this change.
My wish for you today is contentment. It's my wish for me as well.
Let me hear below your thoughts on contentment and what you do to find that space inside of yourself.