Contentment Is Not a Crime

Contentment is Not a CrimeWhen you own your own business, you get invited to go to Networking Events (always capitalized), which can be a great way to meet other like-minded people.

It can also be a way for non-like-minded people to remind you that your insurance needs are way greater than you ever imagined and you need to put all of your financial planning in the hands of trained professionals. And grow your business! Bigger! Better! Faster! Let me help you dammit!!!

I’m getting pretty good at sliding away from the most aggressive of these types. It’s a good skill to have.

The last one – the business builder – was the most baffling encounter. Mostly for him. Because I’m actually happy with the way things are going in my life. The bakery is up and running and doing what we want it to do. Which means that I can step away a bit and build my Reiki practice. Slowly.

Which is exactly what’s happening at the moment. I’m seeing one or two clients a week. I’m catching my breath in between one huge commitment and a whole new adventure. I don’t actually want or need to take Massive Action (again – always capitalized) at the moment, thank you very much. This is not what the business builder wanted to hear.

I think it’s time to revisit contentment.

It’s a feeling that brings out so much insecurity and downright anger in others, isn’t it?

Marketers hate it. What do you mean you’re happy with your not perfectly toned, continually aging, non-photoshopped body? How can you be when we have stuff to sell that can fix you???

We bloggers are constantly exhorted to make some money at this gig by offering up info products (no, that’s what they call them) for sale to our readers. Find out what causes your readers pain, we’re told, and offer to fix that. Riches will be yours.

Religion? Sure, you are loved, right down to your toes. But every Sunday you’ll be told what’s wrong with you and why you need to keep attending.

Come election time, you’ll get really confused if you feel that things are ticking along fairly well. There’ll be nobody to vote for if that’s how you feel. Everybody runs on the Massive Change ticket.

Contented people are a danger to that entire segment of society and must be made to feel guilty about their contentment. We are told we’re not contributing enough, we’re not informed enough, not worried, not frightened, not shopping enough. We are, dammit, just wrong.

I say no.

It’s the lack of contentment that’s brought about environmental catastrophe, wars, misery. Constant comparison makes us feel less than, not quite enough, just downright yucky.

Why? Why does the quiet enjoyment of life raise so many hackles?

OK, sure, those with an economic/political/religious agenda will want to recruit wherever and whenever they can. Those of us who sit contentedly will be seen as a target.

But our loved ones, too, can take our contentment as an insult, something to be changed in us.

I can remember many occasions when my Dad was sitting in his favourite chair, enjoying a book. My Mother would walk into the living room, look at him at shout, “Are you just going to SIT there?”

Um. Yes.

And she passed that on to me. Alan can be enjoying a well-earned morning of down time, and if I’m not doing the same, not happily settled to something (and sometimes even when I am), I will feel that feeling of frustration, too. How dare he enjoy himself when he can see that things need fixing, I’ll think. How can I enjoy myself? When, actually, nothing does need fixing, except maybe my attitude in that moment. So I fix myself a cup of tea and calm the heck down.

You would think that getting together with friends would lead to lots and lots of contentment, but, no. Come in we say. Sorry about the couch. I’ve been meaning to fix the place up. The roast is a little overdone.  And then we sit down to eat and moan about our weight, lack of forward progress in our careers and the way the city is falling to pieces.

I’m overstating, but only a little.

Maybe it comes down to our feelings of security. We just don’t trust those quietly happy moments. Think of the phrase ‘the calm before the storm’. It’s as though we think it’s the calm that causes the storm.

It doesn’t. Contentment is not a danger to anybody. In fact, I think it’s of benefit to everyone. That feeling of contentment is a soothing balm on an irritated world and the more of us who allow ourselves to feel it, the less irritation there will be causing wars and strife and grief.

So, enjoy that ratty old sweater that your mother says you should get rid of. Refuse to apologize for that sofa from the eighties that may not be cutting edge, but is comfy and paid for. Sit on your porch and watch the world go by. Say a friendly hello to each new wrinkle that appears. You’re doing good in the world.

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4 Responses to Contentment Is Not a Crime

  1. John says:

    Brilliant !

    And so true. I love “The calm doesn’t cause the storm”.

    I have an album by .. someone, called “Contentment is Wealth”. As I recall, the title track is an instrumental. Appropriately – no lyrics.

    Cheers !

  2. Sue Hilborn says:

    I totally agree. As always well said.

  3. Mary Ann Rosenbloom says:

    Ahhhhh…yes….to simply “be”! Very tempted to send this to my multi level nutrition product marketer, have to walk 5000 steps a day, do kettle ball, newly minted life coach freind!

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