1) Mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are
2) Assenting to or willing to accept circumstances, a proposed course of action, etc.
(World English Dictionary)
“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” ~Helen Keller
I took a lovely walk this morning in the sunshine (yes, the oh-so-elusive Seattle sunshine!) and found myself under a canopy of cherry blossoms. I tasted the sweet, slightly rose-like scent in the air as I watched pink petals fall to the ground, creating pink snowflakes on the concrete. I took photographs with my cell phone camera, documenting this moment of wonder, this moment of utter contentment.
Each year I am clear about my yearning for the spring and summer months. Each year spring arrives too painfully late for my fragile sensibility. Each year, I wonder why I live in Seattle, the city of too much gray.
During moments like this morning, I am reminded of my resiliency–of the resiliency of all of us during times of “dark and silence.” The sunlight reminds me of the gray days and luke-cold temperatures I have endured and I feel tearful. I used to feel this way when I went to my graduate school residencies in Marina del Rey, CA. I always carved out one afternoon to walk to Venice Beach to see the ocean. With no fail, each time I reached the beach and saw that ocean, I cried. I breathed in the salty air much like this morning’s breaths of rosy cherry blossom petals and felt, well, home.
Feeling a sense of home, of self-acceptance, is a way of embodying contentment for me. The lesson I continually try to learn comes from Helen Keller’s quote above: how do I achieve contentment, even when times are rough, when the blue sky is masked by layers of gray, when I miss my father so much I tremble, when there is just not enough light to illuminate my life?
How can I carve out at least a tiny moment of contentment, a feeling of being okay, when the sun isn’t beckoning me out for a walk among the cherry blossoms? I’m sure tomorrow I will find out, when the rain returns. I will remember to breathe. I will remember to hug my cats, I will remember to stretch and light a candle and drink some lovely tea. I will remember to at least bump up against contentment instead of cursing the sky.
What will you do? How do you find contentment even when circumstances don’t feel they warrant contentment? How do you feel at home wherever you are, no matter the weather or the challenges of life?