Contentment

Dr Amy Chadwick

In pondering what to write about this season, I kept returning to the concept of contentment. However, I also found myself deeply blocked in my writing. I attempted to find quotations to inspire me, and instead found an astonishing number of quotations that discussed contentment as a means of apathy, as an excuse for poor productivity, synonymous with laziness. In our productivity-driven world, it has somehow been determined that a content soul is one not useful to society; that only in discontent are we driven to succeed. My heart screams that this is not true.

My experience of contentment is vastly different than these commonly held beliefs and yet, I struggle deeply with finding and maintaining true contentment in my life. The Holiday season makes this only more apparent, as our culture goes into hyperdrive to ease our discontent through food, alcohol, purchasing, entertaining, even giving. None of these are inherently the problem. The issue is the motivation behind the action. Are we driven by a deep seated discontent, are we able to love, serve, play, laugh and revel in our world because we are content?

With true contentment, we are filled with wonder, abundant with gratitude and from this overflowing cup, we give, we serve, we play, we enjoy life, friends and family without agenda or attachment. Contentment allows us to take pleasure in what we have and what we are, even life’s simplest offerings. It frees us from envy and longing and so makes us generous.

Through my own struggle with discontent, I enter this season contemplating and pondering the concept of contentment, what it truly means in my life, and how I go about cultivating it each day. I will be writing more on what daily practices cultivate contentment, gratitude and wonder and will share on our blog from time to time through this year. I invite you to join this conversation and this journey.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. – Thornton Wilder