"The flow of creativity feels like an avalanche of joy and wonder. Being open to that possibility creates connections with everything." - Feline Dreamers

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Baseline: Contentment

It's time for another writing exercise from the blog A Journey of Joy. Here's this week's prompt: "We thought it would be fun and interesting to write about contentment. I'm interested to learn what you think of contentment. Does this word have a positive or negative connotation to you?"

I have mixed feelings about contentment. My first internal response was that contentment is positive, because it brings to mind curling up with a book and and a purring cat on a cold winter evening. It feels a bit like equanimity, of being content with your life despite the external conditions, of sitting like the Buddha under a tree, peacefully content. But on the other hand, contentment can imply that we are just...settling. It can mean we're okay with the status quo, that we don't bother to create change or follow our passions or get really enthusiastic about something. Contentment can feel like sitting comfortably in the suburbs, taking things for granted, while the world goes on elsewhere.

I'm the type of person who appreciates contentment and keeping things on an even keel, emotionally speaking. But I also know the value of stimulus and change and progress. I have many friends who live more vibrantly, and can get more passionate, laugh louder and live bigger than I tend to do. But those highs can often bring with them deeper lows. That kind of radical up-and-down can make my stomach hurt - literally. I can't keep up that pace, or I get really stressed out, and that doesn't help me live a fulfilling life and contribute to the world.

What I came down to is that I enjoy contentment as an ongoing baseline emotion. It's where I like to reside. From there, I can soar upward into passion and excitement, and of course sometimes dip down into doubt, worry, or fear (it happens to all of us now and then). I think having a more secure foundation works best for me. From there, I allow myself to be inspired to stretch and grow when it feels right. I ask questions within the privacy of my own mind, and then go out and act on the answers, and discover more questions to ponder. Rather than reacting immediately, I prefer to contemplate first, and I'm content in the knowledge that my path will unfold in good time.

[P.S. For some reason I can't seem to post a comment on A Journey of Joy. I wanted to share with the author that I'm loving these prompts, and send her some links to my responses. If anyone knows Galavanter personally, could you please show her this post? Thanks!]

3 comments:

wild zen mama said...

Ooooh, contentment. I have a history with that word. It was a part of a screenname that I used for a very long time, and then when I was in college and learning about the depths and breadths of social inequality I found myself very discontent. I was discontent for several years, but have recently found a way to still be content while shooting out rockets of positivity all over the world. For me now, I have decided that content is so very important to me -- it's what helps my life be anxiety-free. If I'm content, that's the end result for everything I do (to find contentment and be content), so if I'm content, I've found peace :) I love how you explained it being a baseline! Good stuff -- I agree :)) It kind of reminds me of the beginning of my post about "question everything" :))

Joyful Wise One said...

Great stuff! Thanks for playing along, and thank you for being so persistent in finding me so I knew to check my comments. I just thought people weren't commenting and didn't realize that I wasn't getting notification. Hopefully I've fixed that.

I also love the idea of contentment being a baseline, very helpful.

-Joni

Starcat said...

Yay, I found you! I was just so excited about these prompts that I couldn't *not* pursue it. Thanks again, so much, for the wonderful inspiration!