I came across a post on facebook today that was titled: Five things to tell yourself today. I liked it so much, I immediately went around the house and wrote it on every white board that was free. In the office, for my partner and I and in each of the kids bedrooms. It went like this.
Five Things To Tell Yourself Today:
1) I matter
2) I can get through this
3) I am a good person
4) I can find peace, happiness and contentment
5) I have the power and will to succeed
My son, immediately took it down. "Yeah, I didn't need that" was what he said with a sheepish grin. Though, what he actually was thinking was: I am trying desperately to think of the right thing to say that keeps you happy with me mom and out of my room so I can go back to playing Magic on the computer. :)
It's still up in my daughter's room, where I hope it stays forever.
For me, i have it on little cheat sheets everywhere and it calls me all day. I keep thinking about contentment. Trying to recall the last time I felt content. Not happy, not joy, not elation, surprise,or lucky, or on a roll. Not any of that. But contentment. There is a feeling of solitude, a hushed peace that envelops me, as I start to think about feeling content. Time slows. It is refreshing. Such a contrast to the day to day hyper-vigilance that rocket-fuels our days.
I keep peeking at the list and wondering how I can have #'s 4 and 5. I want the power and will to succeed, but not at the cost of peace, happiness and contentment. And I don't want to shy away from my challenges, afraid that "settling for contentment" is a cop out for success.
I think it may be that each of us has to find our own mix, our own recipe. It's not either/or, or even additive/diminutive. It's nonsummative. Finding time for contentment, peace and happiness creates more time, more capacity more quality of engagement in the frenetic set of activities we face every day - from the impossible meeting schedule today to getting the kids to soccer practice only reasonably late this time. Moments of contentment, are our new sustainable alternative fuel that we can be investing in.