'There is enough in this world for everyone's need, but not for anyone's greed.' - Mahatma Gandhi, India
'Aspire not to have more, but to be more' - Archibishop Oscar Romera, El Salvador
After randomly picking 'Contentment' as the 16 Guidelines focus for March, I found myself having to dig deep. However, in my experience, I have always found that picking a card that makes me step back or feel resistance, is when I will learn the most about myself, so stay with me and let's find out how we can use the filter of Contentment to support us, as we witness the horror of what is happening in the Ukraine.
'Contentment is a state of mind that has nothing to do with money, objects, or other people. Nor does it concern itself with how much we have, or how little. Instead, it's about finding a point of stillness within ourselves which allows us to be quietly happy whatever our situation might be, and to be at peace with who we are.
Unless we learn to live in the moment, and to accept it as it is, we may never function well or feel fully alive. Contentment releases us from the restless desires that drive us blindly forward, and which prevent us from being open to the needs and gifts of others. It frees us up to direct our energy in fresh and more conscious ways. Can we discover how to enjoy contentment despite the hurry and worry of our contemporary existence?'
16 Guidelines Handbook
For me, after reading the above quotes, I feel that focusing on contentment is helping to put any of my own worries or concerns into perspective. It is helping me to be grateful for what I have and gives me a greater desire to do something to help. Most of all, it has given me a lot to mull over.
'To let go does not mean to get rid of. To let go means to let be. When we let be with compassion, things come and go on their own.' Jack Kornfeld.
I fully appreciate that the title of this blog might meet with resistance from some but I gently invite you to stay with me and follow through. Over the years, I have experienced what I might have described as 'good' years and 'bad' (even horrendous?!) years. However, looking back, I can see that not of all of any year was completely good or completely bad and I would go even further to say that in my very worst years, there were golden moments when I realised that good will always shine through.
In recent months I know several people who have lost a partner, parent or a four legged friend. It is only natural that they will be experiencing the pain and grief of what they have lost but I have also been aware of how their individual communities have come together to support them. This has been in practical ways like providing food (copious amounts often!), offering to sit and be, reminiscing over old photos, going out for long walks, sending cards or messages and hugs - thank goodness we can do that now with those who are close to us. My hope for them is that the positive memories and experiences will begin to gently ease and balance the pain they are experiencing in this moment.
Later this year I celebrate 60 years on this amazing planet of ours. The guideline I randomly chose for this month is 'Aspiration'.
'Aspiration is the profound longing for purpose and fulfilment, joy and happiness, which lies deep - and sometimes buried - in our hearts, and in the heart of every living being. It is the voice inside that urges us to use our life well and to make the best of whatever gifts and passions we possess. The way we choose to respond to that voice will determine all the other choices we make in our lives.' 16G Handbook
This defininition of aspiration resonated very strongly with me. I do believe that I am now 'using my life well and making the best of whatever gifts and passions I possess.' I am now open to that voice deep in my heart and follow it to the best of my ability. It was not always possible.
This weekend I attended a monthly Drumming Circle near Tarland, where I was brought up. The site looks onto Morven, a very special hill to me. It is a hill I have walked and run many, many times and it is where my Dad's ashes are scattered. In the circle on Sunday, we drummed on a negative thought, emotion or feeling that we had brought with us that we wanted to let go (or let be?) and mine was 'insecurity'. I hadn't realised that was what I had brought until we began drumming. It felt good to be drumming it away and letting it go - or letting it be! The following round was something we wanted to invite in, to fill the space that had been left and the word that popped in for me was 'courage'. I felt lighter and brighter as I drummed confidence in.
On the drive home, I pondered on what it all meant. I recognise that I have often felt insecure in particular situations but I feel a shift! I am not perfect. Life is not perfect. To be honest, I'm not even sure what perfect is?! However, I do believe that I am 'good enough' and my life is 'good enough' and, for me, that is good enough!
So, I invite you to join me, supporting each other along the way, and celebrate 2022. Let's celebrate the joyful moments but also take time to acknowledge the moments that cause us sadness, because that's how we experience and appreciate the rich tapestry of life. Through it all, I invite you to remember that:
'To let go does not mean to get rid of. To let go means to let be. When we let be with compassion, things come and go on their own.' Jack Kornfeld
Thank you for reading this far! AndBreathe... is a very exciting venture and I am glad you have joined me on the journey!