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“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” —Joseph Campbell
Gold is 19 times heavier than water and three times as heavy as iron. Knowing this basic fact would be helpful if you were actually paning or mining for gold.
Barring that we have taken into account what we fully have control over in our lives and not squandered any opportunity to cultivate a fulfilling and contented life all on our own, there are also simple, yet powerful ways to witness and therefore bolster our levels of contentment, and one such way is what I would like to talk about today: mining for gold in our everyday lives.
Just because we wish we could find gold does not make it materialize. Similarly, just because we wish to feel more contentment, does not magically make it manifest. We must know HOW to be successful at cultivating contentment.
At the foundation, we must tend to what we have control over (check out this post to learn more about a variety of ways), then much like the ganache icing on a cake, the feast of life just becomes all the more delicious when we know where to find additional sources of joy.
It is often when we fall, as Joseph Campbell writes, that we are forced to evaluate what was truly working. Such a time also enables us to realize that contentment can be with us when we fall as well as when times are going well.
For years I have describe life as a treasure hunt. Choosing to live consciously, we can follow our curiosity and give it permission to reveal to us the journey that brings us the most fulfillment. As we make our way along our journey, throughout our daily lives, there are nuggets of gold to be found if only we know where to look to find them. And yes, we must look. Even if they are in plain-sight, if we don’t know what a true treasure is, we can easily dismiss or ignore it, walk right past it or worse yet, complain about it.
As I sit typing today’s post on my front porch, the breeze is gently blowing, my neighbor’s windchime is singing softly, and the boys are napping at my feet in the cool shade of the afternoon. Nugget of gold seen and savored and appreciated.
Because our world was turned on its head in what seemed to be nanoseconds – a strong, thriving economy with a sub 4% unemployment rate to in a matter of six weeks, the highest unemployment seen since the Great Depression (1933 (the peak) – 24.5%; 2020 – 14.7%) – what we may have perceived as ways to find contentment and joy may now also seem impossible to witness. But again, contentment and joy are both feelings that reside completely within us where as happiness and pleasure our outside of us.
If we keep this truth in mind, we are reminded that we can feel contentment no matter what is going on around us – whether that is in our world economically or in our personal household, job, local community, etc.. Of course, when both the outer world and our inner world are humming along well, it makes it far easier to find contentment, but really, you are experiencing happiness, and if you are conscious of what contentment is, then you absolutely could be experiencing contentment too, but this is why happiness is often confused for contentment.
But back to the treasure hunt for gold.
1. Be present.
Be witness to what surrounds you. Listen. Refrain from dwelling on the past and planning or worrying about the future. Explore and spend time engaged in pastimes which require your full attention, preferably tasks you love.
2. Become comfortable with your own company.
Read/Listen to this episode/post – The Power of Solitude, episode #91
3. Become comfortable with silence and just being instead of doing.
Explore the benefits of Silence in this post from TSLL Archives.
4. Refrain from letting the world tell you how you should be feeling.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a skill to learn and master, and the primary fundamental component is understanding what you are feeling, why you are feeling it and allowing yourself to healthily move through the feeling. With that said, it is important to remind that all emotions are evanescent, even though it may not feel that way or you may not want it to be that way in the moment of any positive or negative feeling.
5. Exercise your Joie de Vivre muscle
A keen buoyant enjoyment of life. Much like any other skill as I discuss and share in detail in my 2nd book, there are a multitude of skills we can all learn – none of them are absent from our abilities to utilize in our lives, and understanding and practicing joie de vivre is one such skill. In episode #253, listen/read about the 36 Ways to Welcome Joie de Vivre into Your Everyday Life
6. Become an observer of the details.
From the brilliant blue skies, to the moisture for the garden falling from the skies, to the buckwheat flour that has now returned to the shelves in my local market, to the temporal blanket of French purple-hued flax draping itself throughout my rockery to the ability for my dog groomer to return to work and seeing his face and then talent on my boys, these are all nuggets I have deeply savored this past week. Look and you will find them. Of that, I am confident.
7. Let go of comparing
To yesterday, last year, your neighbor, your mother, your colleague, a celebrity, anybody or anything, let go of comparing and instead savor the unique, once-in-a-lifetime moment. What is working? What thankfully is not happening? What is enabling you to be reading this post right now? There’s your nugget. And there are many more if you keep an open-mind, a broad perspective and a hopeful heart.
As I wrap up today’s post, a young Cassin (small bird with a soft red chest and brown top feathers) has perched itself on a pillar of my front porch just 12 feet from my chair. Beginning to chirp so boisteriously, even my hard-of-hearing Oscar pup has heard the song. Details. Being present. A nugget of gold I am savoring.
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