What is Real Contentment? Can You Buy It?

What is Real Contentment? Can You Buy It?

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.

Make mindfulness your mantra and CLICK here to take the FREE 7-day challenge! 

21 Days to Mindfulness Challenge Day 5: Remove the Excuses– What’s Holding You Back?

21 Days to Mindfulness Challenge Day 5: Remove the Excuses– What’s Holding You Back?

Refection Topic– Remove the Excuses!

Isn’t it amazing how we hold ourselves back from reaching our fullest potential by telling ourselves limiting stories. What comes to mind is starting a meditation practice. It’s so easy to  make excuses by telling yourself that you don’t have the time. But honestly, what is the truth? Come on, be brutal– is it because you get bored? You don’t see results as quickly as you’d like? These are some of the most common reasons and I’m guilty of these myself.

How Exactly are You Using Your Time?

Aside from the necessary tasks of going to work each day, are there things that can be eliminated? This can be a tough to determine, yet very revealing if you willing to accept it the truth of how you are using your time. Maybe it’s not activities themselves, but rather self-limiting thoughts?

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Just Start–Tips for Planning Your Day

Just Start- Tips for Planning Your Day

I was recently given a big project. I really want to make things happen and I have so many ideas, but the hard part is figuring out which task is the biggest priority. If you can identify first things first, then you’re that much closer to success. (A little deep breathing and yoga helps too!)

It’s great to take those notes, but there comes a time when you need to put them into some sort of cohesive order that allows you to start taking action, and “ship it” as author and marketing expert Seth Godin suggests. Make it a plan to take action on something every day. If you keep the pipeline full, you’ll always see results.

From Analysis Comes Paralysis

Yes, I know there’s so much to do; you’re excited and have so many ideas and you take a multitude of notes, but too much organizing can have the opposite effect–you don’t take action. Here’s my example–this blog. I’ve been caught up with planning pages, fancy graphics and sidebars and wanting everything to be perfect, but here’s the plain truth– “from too much analysis comes paralysis.” Some blog authors have been known to challenge the perfection principle by adding in a typo or two into a blog post on purpose. Now that’s pretty daring, but seriously– someday we’re all going to pass from this world and no one will give a heap about a silly typo. This practice certainly can put things into perspective. I just might give it a try. (someday)

Create the Roadmap

  1. Write down the most important things that you need to accomplish today.
  2. Number tasks in order of importance— use something that business guru Brian Tracy calls the “ABC Method” in his book Eat that Frog.
  3. Identify the biggest tasks— The “A” items are the biggest “frogs” and those must be “eaten” first. If you get those big tasks out of the way first, the rest of your day will be much easier. I try very hard to ask myself the question– what is the most important thing that if I started now would have the biggest impact on my day? That’s the task to begin with.
  4. Set the stage for the tomorrow–At the end of the day, move the remaining times to the next day and spend 10-15 minutes determining what your biggest tasks are, and repeat these steps.

Try to avoid the “busy work” syndrome. Indulging in frivolous email or low-level tasks can make us think we are accomplishing things, when in fact this is not the case. Start with the big tasks at the time of day when you have the most focus, and save the low-level tasks for the time of day when you’re not as focused.

If you can manage to figure out your priority items, you’ll be so much more focused and centered throughout the day. The feeling of spinning your wheels only to find you’ve accomplished nothing of importance is frustrating and creates even more stress. If you plan ahead, you’ll never have any emergencies and missed deadlines! Also, you’ll find that you’ll be able to accomplish so much more in one given day just for taking those 10 to 15 minutes at the end of each work day to plan for the  next.
Plan for Tomorrow Now
  1. Create an “idea bucket” or journal to dump all of your ideas. This helps free your mind because this is a place that you can relieve yourself of all those ideas that pop into your head. You can revisit them later when you plan your next day or week.
  2. Write out two major goals that you wish to complete in the coming week.
  3. Plan your week- add priority items, then sprinkle in items from your “idea bucket.”
  4. Identify low-level, administrative tasks– this is where an assistant is crucial. Do not spend any time on low-priority items!