Last week I received a package from America. Inside it was a little box with a beautiful keyring engraved with my favourite quote – contentment is key. My 3 year old instantly took a liking to it, especially when I explained that the wonderful designer had very thoughtfully added the birthstones of her and her baby brother on it. She continued to call it her ‘precious gift’ and attempted to hide it in various places. As much as my little lady gave me her puppy dog eyes and said ‘Mummy please can I put this in my special treasure box’ this keyring is definitely a gift I want to keep for myself. Each time I lock the door and unlock it I want reminded of how important contentment is.
So where did my obsession with contentment begin? I was doing a bit of soul searching when I took a backpack and set off around the world in 2006. I wasn’t convinced with the direction my life was going in. I had a lot of time to think on the year away. I also had a lot of time to party and enjoy life – perhaps a bit too much at times. Part of my trip involved a few weeks in Byron Bay, on the East Coast of Australia. My friend and I were collecting lots of pictures of various bearded men across the globe and as a result I got chatting to a wise old man in Nimbin.
It was a deep conversation and it really stuck in my mind. So much so that I wrote a song about him shortly after. My brother wrote some nice guitar chords to the piece and I sometimes sing it to myself. The first verse goes something like this:
The Wise Man
A wise man once told me to live life my way
To respect other people
To be true to my last day
Judging is wrong, negativity it brings
The key to contentment is one of life’s great things
I know many will be a bit sceptical about all this fluffy ’empowering, uplifting, positive thinking’ chat. I get it and I aint for one minute claiming to be the new Dalai Lama. It’s basic common sense – if we focus on the positives we will feel happier. I love surrounding myself with positive people – the eternal optimists. Rather ironic as my husband is more often that not a realist but opposites definitely attract too.
I love people who are interested. I am attracted to people who are open minded. I bounce off people who are content. Am I too easily influenced? Well I have seen Derren Brown live 3 times now and as genius as he is, he was unable to hypnotise me. I am only easily influenced if I want to be .
We often think that the grass is greener. It is human nature. It can be very easy to focus on the negatives. The negatives in people, our work, our house, the way we look, the weather, our need for a holiday, our tiredness. I think it is great to have a desire to better ourselves. Life would get a bit boring if we didn’t have goals. The difference is our attitude to life. I try to remain content by thinking about gratitude and listing all the things I am thankful for. There is always something to be thankful for, some days we just have to dig deeper to find it. Focusing on the good things in people and our lives definitely makes us happier. If there is a day that my husband or the kids are REALLY annoying me I consider how I would feel if they were suddenly taken from me. How devastated would I be? This reminds me to love them unconditionally – faults and all. Granted if it is my ‘time of the month’ then I will probably still be a miserable cow some days no matter how hard I try to be positive.
If I am thinking about how much we still need to do around the house – all those jobs that we still don’t have the time or money to do, I remind myself how lucky we are to have a house. To have a roof over our heads and a fridge full of food (and wine)!! Some days I think if only I was as fit as some of my athlete running pals, it would be awesome to run as fast as they can. It would save me a lot of time on my long run training days. Then I think about how lucky I am to have legs that work. How lucky am I to be able to walk? These thoughts really do help. I am working with so many amazing people to raise awareness about mental health. Some of these people have had serious mental illnesses and through cognitive behavioral therapy and focusing on feelings of gratitude they are doing so much better .
So back to the lovely keyring designer. Jill was inspired after reading one of my blog posts and wanted to make me a special design. I worked with Jill several years ago. She has always been one of those really positive, special people. A girl that leaves a stamp wherever she goes. She found love and moved over to America. She is happily married with a beautiful daughter and is following her dream of teaching dance and running her own successful business – Shimmering Hope. Give her page a like and check out her stuff: it is awesome.
Jill believes contentment is important because it is the only way we can truly, happily live in the present moment; and the present moment is the only time we have control (we can’t control the past or aspects of the future). Jill’s favourite quote, which happens to be her intention for 2016, is ‘find balance’. She strives to achieve this by remembering that each part of her life is important. Some are obviously more important than others (her family and friends, her dancing and Shimmering Hope) but each aspect needs time given to make her happy. Through her warm, geuine nature and her talents she is clearly making many people happy which is a beautiful thing. I am one of those people – thanks lovely Jill x