"I came to the city when I was twenty and became a fruit seller. It's allowed me to build a house in my village. I feel healthy. I get to eat on time. So I've gotten everything I wanted. The minute you think: " I have a lot" - that's the moment your spirit is at rest. My spirit is at rest." - @humansofny (Jaipur, India)
This Instagram post reminded me of my visit to Jaipur, India in 2014. I was volunteering at the school for street kids with the Sankalp volunteer group. It was the most fulfilling ten days I can remember. Midway through our stay, my friend/fellow volunteer and I got piercings from a guru at the market place. He pierced my nose and my friend's ear. He offered to tell our fortune as well and give advice. He did so for my friend and his predictions seemed on point, based on where she was in her life with school and career choice. Before I could part my lips to say I did not want my fortune told, he said to me - "You don't need anything. I can tell you already have everything you need." I smiled...really big.
I believe what he was getting at was contentment. Contentment, in my opinion, is the gateway to health, wealth, and peace of mind. Not to be confused with complacency. Complacency lacks awareness which leads to settling. Contentment is the opposite - an awareness, which leads to awakening.
I've noticed lately, when I have visitors in my home, they will always make a similar statement - "you have just enough". My space and the items in my home are just enough. In honesty, that's how I feel about my life. I'm aware of being blessed with all I could possibly need.
I'm also aware when I get a windfall that gives me more than I need personally. I share with gratitude or I save with intention.
However, I'm not perfect. I've written about comparison and how it can be a thief of joy.
You see in the past, I had another blog called "Chels on the Verge". From the very beginning, I would catch myself comparing my blog to other blogs that I admire. Not enjoying the moment, but constantly wondering if I'm getting it right or not based on someone else's pace. Basically using someone's else's blueprint as a barometer for my success; be it personally or professionally. I'm pretty sure that's the reason why I quit the blog in less than a year. I have a different mindset with this blog of course. I write because it gives me joy. I publish to share my perspective as a service to others.
These are some of the ways I try to focus on a life built on contentment:
Count your blessings -
Take stock of all the good things. Open your eyes to see all the good around you - in people, in things, in nature, in lifestyle, in memories, and in dreams that have come true. Be in the present as much as you possibly can. Therein lies your gift.
Focus more on thankful prayers and actions of gratitude. Thank God often for every blessing and lesson. Gratitude is also a subtle reminder of just how well taken care of you and your loved ones are. As you have that conversation of gratitude with God, feel the lightness and calmness that comes from knowing you've lived well.
Live To Serve
It is a beautiful thing to be taken care of. Nothing beats that feeling of security and knowing you are loved selflessly. At the same time, you should allow yourself to awaken in maturity and pay it forward. Learn from those who have served you, how to serve others well. Learn from those who love you, how to love others well. Learn from those who pray for you, how to pray for others as well.
I'm glad to say I got a great message from Pastor Kevin Myers at 12stone today in regards to Living to Serve as opposed to Living for Self. I was sitting straight up in my seat, he had my full attention. I know what needs to be done
Once you realize you are not living for yourself alone, all your actions and reactions towards life begin to take a totally different urgency. The simple things you used to worry about, don't seem so overwhelming after all.