Contentment, Gratitude, And Mindfulness

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” Thich Nhat Hanh

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”  Maya Angelou

“Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Contentment:
Life is not like the typical interstate highway, smooth, straight and wide-open.
Life is more like a thrill ride at an amusement park, up-down, slow-fast, left-right, relaxed-to-fearful.
Growing up, we have expectations of what life should offer us, instead, it’s better to accept what life is there at the moment.
Our lives are lived in an up-and-down manner, the constancy we desire is not always present, not always possible.
Contentment with your life is possible; take stock of what you already have and not what you need (or don’t have).
Contentment is the missing equation that stabilizes your rapidly-lived life.
And always remember the wisdom of Winnie-the-Pooh (A.A. Milne): “What day is it? asked Pooh.  It’s today squeaked Piglet. My favorite day said Pooh.”

Gratitude:
The emotion of gratitude can fill your sails on a windless day on the lake.
Be thankful for what you have today, many others are far less fortunate.
Go climb Mt Occoneechee (our local mountain) and shout out your gratitude.
Be thankful for your career, especially when others might need your advice and mentoring.
Gratitude is a potent potion, a drink powerful enough to quench the biggest thirst.
Express your gratitude to family/friends/loved-ones, because everyone will soak-up your thankful manner and they’ll themselves will be grateful for you.
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you’, it will be enough.” Medieval German Theologian Meister Eckhart

Mindfulness:
This spring be mindful of birds singing and the bull frogs croaking as the sun sets.
Stop. Breathe deep. Smell the flowers. Live only that moment without changing any of it.
As the summer heat arrives, feel the sweat streaking down your brow, absorb the warmth.
Be aware of the steam leaving your cup of coffee, then sip, focus and savor this moment.
Mindfulness means you stay within your breath, and focus within yourself, with no remembrance of the past minute and no planning for the future moment.
Life is ever-changing, moments of bliss balanced by instances of hurt.
Mindfulness cares not of happy/sad, past/present, right/wrong, but it demands you seek out the present moment without worry of what’s ahead and without guilt of what has passed.
“We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Contentment, Gratitude, and Mindfulness:
The simplest view of mindfulness is to be aware of what is happening right now, unable to change this time but to embrace the current moment. Much of our lives are led at a pace where we fret for the future, remorseful of the past, and frequently, we are oblivious to the current moment. Contentment simply means to cherish all you already have (possessions, health, job, etc.). In my thinking, however, this doesn’t prohibit either professional or personal advancements in life’s goal. We all should be thankful, and gratitude leads to a better awareness of what you achieved with the help of others.  Acknowledging this gratitude is always the path to follow. Embracing mindfulness helps you stay centered on the current moment, contentment allows you to be less worried about what’s missing, and it’s always important to remind yourself to be grateful.

Mindfulness will provide you a reward each and every time you seek this solace-solitude-calmness. If you are like me, you have ready access to all aspects of your life on your cell phone.  By all means, meet your deadlines, but make moments for meditation, remind yourself to focus on your breathing, still your mind, be thankful for this opportunity, and remember, more moments will follow. Focus on contentment, bring gratitude and practice mindfulness more often.  Little by little, collectively this mindset will help provide better health, more joyful feelings and the realization that life’s better than just okay.

Contentment, Gratitude, and Mindfulness in Parkinson’s:
Okay, yes, having Parkinson’s sucks. Yet there so many worse (and somewhat related) disorders that are fatal (ALS and Huntington’s). Parkinson’s therapies have allowed us to live mostly normal lives.  I offer much gratitude to the scientists and physicians that have worked so hard to give us effective treatment options (and there are many). My gratitude extends to all the organizations that support Parkinson’s research, outreach and education.  So many others with Parkinson’s are blogging and providing hope for all; I am most thankful for them sharing their journey.

Contentment says I must accept and acknowledge that I’m living with Parkinson’s.  However, it doesn’t mean I am defined by Parkinson’s, it means I am doing all I can to manage its progression.  Contentment allows the rheostat of my life to remain constant, it helps me focus on work and fun, and it gives me balance.

Mindfulness has brought much to my world, and I need to be even more mindful.  I can’t give my Parkinson’s back, but being in the moment alters the lens-of-life for that moment, my mind is focused on the event.  The calming and cleansing effect of mindfulness is a feeling of holism (complete and healthy self).

A sense of contentment, balanced by gratitude, and unified by mindfulness is good for everyone.  However, reading these words and living them takes awareness, acceptance and practice. For me, living with Parkinson’s has enhanced my recognition of contentment, gratitude and mindfulness. A simple life-changing goal is to continue to embrace them, and to more effectively use them for their positive effect on the rest of my days. Namaste.

Cover picture credit: http://www.wallpapers13.com/sea-coast-rocks-sea-red-clouds-hd-wallpaper-08654/

IMG_3637IMG_3639johnfkennedy105511 Lao-Tzu-Contentment-Quotes

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