In the mud, grows a lotus.

When I woke up this morning at 4:30am, the first thought that came through my mind was this feeling of contentment and where it really comes from. I know it comes from not trying too hard at anything. It comes from resting in the moment and not labeling anything good, bad or indifferent.

 I can create grand plans, but there are always tasks that do not get a nice big black line through them.

No need to label good or bad. What’s good or bad for me, may not be perceived this way by someone else. This proves that everything is subjective and up to perception, but we believe with conviction that what we see and think is the ultimate truth, when in fact we are the actor in our own movie and our mind is running this tape over and over all day and night.

Seeing the lotus in all that is banal and sometimes downright ugly can be difficult. However, seeing the beauty in everything is right around the corner, right behind the wall, or veil that is covering our eyes. Today, I’m opening the shutters of my mind and heart to let in what is happening right now.

The clock is ticking on my morning schedule. Upon writing this post, it’s 5:54am, with the primary goal to simply write for the sake of writing. I was hoping to press publish within a half hour. The words didn’t come as effortlessly today. It’s raining and I was hoping for a run at 6:30. My guess is, that won’t happen unless I’m willing to get drenched. A nice misty Paris rain would be OK, but it’s a crazy thunder and lightening downpour and I’m not a “rain or shine” kind of runner.

Then there’s my written “morning agenda” thingy– I love the idea of a plan, but over planning and analysis leads to paralysis. This week, I’m trying the “practice of imperfection” by putting something out there each morning no matter what…typos and all.

That agenda thingy...

That agenda thingy…

Magical mystery of what comes next.

On a recent episode of On Being with Krista Tippet, she interviews Paulo Coelho, author of the amazing book, and one of my all-time favorites, The Alchemist.  At the beginning of the interview, Paolo mentions how he likes to allow his day to unfold without any plan in mind and there’s something magical about the mystery of what comes next. The idea of letting go in this way scares me because it means the ground is falling away from under me. It means that I have no control. This is what my mind thinks, but this is not reality. The truth is– I never really had control at all. The only thing I have real control over is my mind, my thoughts and reaction to the world around me and what it serves up each day.

Life is not a 24/7 party. Pleasures are fleeting and we get more of what we don’t want most of the time, but we fight and fight subconsciously for the pleasure. It’s just a habit and part of the human condition, but recognizing and accepting this is the beginning of the breakthrough, then you’ve got to buy into it and believe it with all your heart.

I’m not trying to be a downer here, because this is actually something you know. Constantly focusing on our own agendas can be disappointing. Placing focus strictly on satisfying our own desires, gives us more of what we don’t want.

Forget your pleasures and focus on how you can make others happy. This will work wonders for your own happiness.

Do you know how it feels to be content? It’s amazing when it happens, because for me, it’s never from a groundbreaking experience. Usually, it’s something like driving and looking up at the clear blue sky and thinking about how perfect that is. Or, it could be from just sitting in silence and doing something that sets me on fire like writing this very post.

Studies have shown that there’s no increase in a person’s happiness after they make $75,000 a year.  In fact, after this number is reached, happiness could possibly even decrease. What does this say about all that we strive for in life? I’m not saying making more that 75k is bad, it’s just how do we view that money we make. Once we make enough to cover the necessities and the bottom line, the question becomes: What is the true meaning of happiness and contentment? Where does it really come from if it’s not from outside?

Contentment is something money can’t buy, and from contentment comes wealth. Not material wealth, but the promise of something WAY better…inner riches.

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