Secrets to Contentment

28 May

I went to a fancy dinner the other night – the kind with set table spaces so you end up sitting next to someone you don’t know.

I’d come to this dinner with my parents and had assumed I’d sit next to them but I’m so glad I ended up next to the man I did. The conversation was enlightening.

You can travel the world, seeking answers, but there’s always going to be some guy who has never left Australia who understands life, love and the universe better than you do.

He practices love and acceptance in a way you strive to, but don’t succeed.

happy pic

He quit his Fly-In, Fly-Out job because he saw his colleague’s toddler fail to recognise his father when they all arrived back home, and push his father away in fear. He swore he would never let that happen to him and his boys.

He dreams of travelling the world, sure. But he dreams of doing it with his family. The family he adores and devotes his time and life to. He lives in a cul de sac and loves the fact the kids can play in the street. He reads books that inspire his dreams of adventure and talks about his wife with such love and respect.

The conversation stood out for a couple of reasons. Firstly, don’t be so arrogant as to assume your experiences make you better equipped for life or happiness than someone else’s. I’m really talking to myself here. You might be chasing truths across the planet, but this guy right here? He gets it. And he’s happy.

Dale Keys Dancing Pants

Secondly, it made me notice how people often talk about their lives. How negatively they talk about their partners and kids and jobs. We all vent, of course, but strangers have even become angry with me about my life circumstances, all the while trashing the life they’ve built.

So often I talk to people who feel trapped in their lives – by their circumstances, by choices they’ve made.

How does that Sheryl Crowe lyric go?

“It’s not having what you want; It’s wanting what you’ve got”

In yoga, we call that “santosha” – contentment.

There are so many interpretations of this niyama (or yogic observance) but I like the view that happiness can be present no matter what your circumstances. That you don’t require more than you have to achieve contentment.

“The renunciation of the need to acquire and thereby the elimination of want.”
– Patanjali

My new friend at the dinner table  reminded me of what’s important and that it’s often sitting right next to you at the table: family, love, connection, dreams you build with other people.
Amazing who you meet when you least expect it.

Be as Happy as Possible


One Response to “Secrets to Contentment”

  1. lucy james May 28, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    Beautiful words Megan! I had a similar experience recently and your timing for this post is pretty on the money – how wonderful to have things put into perspective, thank you. xxx

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