Friday, July 20, 2012
"Yes, there is a Nirvanah; it is leading your sheep to a green pasture, and in putting your child to sleep and in writing the last line of your poem." -- Kahlil Gibran
Lately I've been finding myself very contented...full of peace, in tune with the world, joy-filled. The moments are ridiculously brief -- sometimes they are mere whispers of a moment -- but I feel it and know it as a truth. Last week, I was talking on the phone to a mother of a classmate of Patrick's. She was telling me that her family was going to be doing Relay4Life soon. She was walking in honor of a friend who is battling (for a second time) colon cancer. It has spread to her liver and the treatment is even more difficult and arduous than the first time around. She is feeling like she is in this battle alone and that the original supporters, while still around, are more of onlookers this time. She told me about her friend's young children; about her faith and her fear. She told me about the difficulty of just watching it all play out. I could feel the cortisol washing over my brain cells and feel the tension begin in my neck. Although I haven't been in that exact situation, I've been close. I hung up the phone and took a deep, long breath of life-giving oxygen. I rounded the corner and headed into the kitchen.
The image that met me is one I'm going to hold close for a long, long time: Jack was at the kitchen table on his computer -- no doubt looking at something on Reddit, the hip-undergraduate's preferred place on the internet; Patrick was next to him plowing through writing thank you notes; Mary Kate was at the kitchen counter with both Caroline and my six year old niece, Lizzy, looking over her shoulder making chocolate chip cookies. Absolutely nothing was exciting, innovative, awe-inspiring or energetic. It just was a normal day of the summer...a frozen moment in time...and it was beautiful. Tears sprang to my eyes and I let that kitchen scene just soak right in. I let the feeling of contentment squish its way into my cracked open heart. It lasted for less than a second because as soon as I walked into the vicinity of that group, they could feel my presence and unsurprisingly all sorts of issues suddenly arose. My one and only thought during the split second dousing of contentment that came my way:
"Beth, this really is as good as it gets...enjoy it."
Days later I felt it again as I read a funny book to Caroline just before bed...a micro second later I thought of my grocery list...but it was there.
I found it again as I rode my bike along a bike path filled with grass and shade trees so common in my town.
I tasted it in my new delicious summer treat I discovered on Pinterest (double dare you to try and not get addicted to this amazing spot!): iced tea filled to the brim with ice cubes made of lemonade...so yummy.
Noticed it again as I stared at a large stack of folded laundry just waiting to be put in its place (well, maybe that was more a feeling of satisfaction but contentment slipped in too for a bit).
Contentment is a funny thing. It's elusive and intangible. It's like trying to capture the fluff of a dandelion freshly blown into the breeze. I can feel it within reach...hovering close enough to notice and then as soon as I stop to take note, away it goes. In its place: some automatic list of things that need to get done, chores that need completion or the most pressing items of the moment.
All I know is that I'm getting better at noticing the moments that fill me up.
What fills you up? What brings you contentment and joy? Share here and we'll make a list of things to try. I'm up for gathering together a search party to make our way up to the peak of Mount Contentment. :)