What is the difference between contentment and happiness?
It is rather simple: happiness is a response to circumstances outside myself and contentment is a growing or enduring sense of wellbeing and joy within.
I experience happiness when I receive a call from a friend I haven’t spoken with in years or when one of my children or grandchildren gives me a hug or makes me laugh.
I have been growing in contentment for 45 years. Contentment is that state of being I find in the very core of my being. Life can be raging all around me but when I stop for just a moment and turn my awareness within I find peace and tranquility.
Where does it come from? I believe it simply is; it is my natural state of being. The process of “finding” it is really trusting that it is my true nature, learning to experience it, and living from that inner peace rather than letting life bounce me off the walls.
I am retired now so I don’t think much about “going on vacation” because my life feels like a vacation. This week I arranged to see friends out of town, knowing that this heart of mine needed time with “my girls.”
These are women I know well, two of them since we were children. It is a joy to have friendships that endure and come to feel more like family than friends.
These few days have been exactly what I had hoped. Love and laughter has been flowing like the waters of a beautiful fountain. No need to throw coins in and make wishes on this trip! All my wishes have been fulfilled simply by giving myself the gift of being with people who love me unconditionally and who let me love them back.
Each of us is unique, quite different from one another. In my mind and heart we are like a fragrant bouquet of my favorite flowers….and we are so funny! Just ask us and we will gladly tell you what a kick we get out of ourselves!
Yep, nothing like spending time with sister-friends! 😍 May each of you be so abundantly blessed.
Yesterday I spent several hours with my great-niece. She turned one recently and is one of the happiest babies I have ever known. She is walking now and quite proud and delighted with herself. She must have walked me around her grandmother’s house five times. The feel if her little hand in mine was a touch of heaven. We played with toys, read books, and spent a little time outside. At some point, she began to say my name – not “correctly” of course but it was my name.
My name is Catherine, as you know. My niece and nephew (her mother and uncle, twins) call me Aunt Cathie. This sweet girl’s version was closer to the Hawaiian name Kaki. The details don’t matter…she said my name. One of the joys of life is hearing a child say your name for the first time. Too sweet for words!
May you be blessed today with an experience of one of the true joys of life. May love and peace be yours today.
Without the opportunity of silence, stillness and peace remain elusive. Do you allow time for silence or is the tv on the moment you awake? When you walk, do you hear the sounds of life or are you tethered to your phone for music or conversation?
Jack Fowler recorded a song titled “In The Silence,” that reminds me of the importance of creating space in my life for silence. The title of the album is “Picture This.” Here are a few of the lines from that song:
In the silence there is peace.
In the silence there is unspoken joy.
In the silence there’s release
From a world full of chaos and noise
So I wait…
I invite you to find and listen to this song. It is a sweet invitation to gift yourself with moments that can deeply enhance the quality of your life.
When all your desires are distilled you will cast just two votes: To love more, And to be happy. -Hafiz
Deepak Chopra recommends “Peaceful Journaling” at bedtime to support your body and mind in moving into a more restful sleep. He recommends using one or more of these questions to guide you, giving thought to your answers and being willing to journal in detail rather than making lists.
What moments gave me a sense of peace today?
When did I feel joy today?
How did I show love today?
How was love shown to me today?
What inspired me today?
(from the meditation program “7 Days to More Restful Sleep”
I see the questions as a tool to distill what you are caring about, what you are desiring. What we focus on definitely determines our level of contentment, joy, and happiness. It also affects our ability to live peacefully from a place of love and compassion for ourselves and others. I find them coming to mind throughout the day in the form of guidance. For example, what can I do in this moment to give me a sense of peace? What brings me joy? How can I show love in this situation?
As a young woman I regularly attended, and often led, bible study groups and prayer groups. We often used taped teachings from Christian leaders around the country. I remember one of the teachers explaining the difference between happiness and joy. It made sense to me then so I embraced the explanation as my own. It remains with me now, forty years later.
In my words: Joy is a state of being; Happiness is a response to current experience.
This morning it comes to mind that, since happiness is a response, I can create experiences that make me happy. I can do this with others by creating opportunities to have fun with people I love. When others are not available, I find happiness by myself in many ways. Walking to the library and taking the time to discover new authors makes me happy; I walk home with a smile on my face and anticipation of a new literary adventure. Stopping during a walk to watch squirrels or admire an owl sitting on a low branch sends me on my way grinning. I am happy in those moments.
As I thought about all of this it occurred to me that stringing as many happy moments together as possible is one of the paths that leads me to living in a state of joy. True Joy results from knowing mySelf and living from the Truth of my Soul. Knowing that I Know puts me in a very quiet, peaceful state of body, mind, and heart. It settles me into the Truth of Being and, for me, that is a place of pure joy that cannot be taken from me. I can forget my Truth for a moment but the instant I return to it I discover that sweet space within that is Joy Itself. At a time of deep emotional grief and pain, I found myself in tears, overwhelmed, screaming in agony. As I crumpled down to the floor I became aware of this deeply quiet pool within. I knew that, as I surrendered to the grief and pain and let it be expressed, it would begin to dissipate and I would once again rest in that place within where I know mySelf and where I abide in peace and joy.
May your journey be filled with happy times that lead you into the state of be-ing we call Joy and may you reside there. Namaste.