could this be contentment?
I have a confession to make.
I have been experiencing something. It’s snuck up slowly.
I’ve tried to deny it, rename it, question it.
But friends, I believe it’s called Contentment.
After years of believing that I always have to be moving forward, growing, taking on more and more. I’ve reached a place where I finally trust that no, right now for me; I want to sit and bask in this time. I don’t want to expand the time I put into my business, I don’t want to be involved in large numbers of art shows and networking and online classes. I don’t want to join a bunch of mom groups. I love my life right now.
After years of diligently looking at all my commitments and areas of stress, many which I wrote about in my ebook Finding myself in the Moonlight, I have added in breathing room and space into all areas of my life. I’ve learned to trust myself more than ever before. We’ve busted our asses for years and finally gotten to a financially free place where the only debt we have in the world isour home. It’s truly freeing. After years of having my head down and checking off an endless list of to-do’s I finally feel like I am in that place I prayed for so many times.
I’ll never stop learning (in fact I’m listening to a TED talk right now while typing this) but what I am getting better at is looking at classes and programs and knowing that now is not the time for most of them. I’m still growing and learning and in fact my faith and spirituality is deeper than ever. Prayers and meditations and time in nature have all helped me to feel a contentment that I’ve never felt before.
I share this to offer hope. This may surprise you but I’m rebellous to my core. I’m a rule following rebel I suppose. I love to do good, I love to find good in others… but… the minute society or people tell me that something should be done a certain way.. I question it. It works though; I’m the happiest person I know. I don’t feel like I need to do things the way everyone does them. We all have areas we feel that pressure from. Here are some of the choices I’ve made that work for me (us) that have lead me more towards contentment:
- moving 40 miles from the cities to a property where we can grow food, embrace nature, have a workshop to build and create in. We are tucked into the trees and have privacy and also the rejunating energy of nature. We get a whole floor to ourselves and the kids have their own bathroom, all in our cozy little 1500 sq. foot house.
- getting out of debt. We paid off $48k in just under 2 years (you can read about that here). What that has done to our lives and the peace it has brought since though has blown my mind. We recently were able to take our kids on a week long cruise to Belize and also do a small road trip after we got off the ship and see the Everglades and visit a state park in the Florida keys. The best part; we paid cash for the trip. It is so freeing to be able to plan and save and pay for a trip like that and come home and still have money in a savings account. We worked so hard for so many years saving every penny, selling things and praying that I share that to say all that sacrifice was worth it.
- Homeschooling our youngest. Our oldest is in public high school and she thrives and loves it, I was faced last year with a decision to homeschool our youngest. While I admit I wouldn’t prefer to have homeschooled my oldest, each kid is different and it has been the right decision to homeschool our little guy. And we LOVE it. Just this morning in fact, sitting with him and watching him learn to read. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve gotten to do in my life. Teaching him about living from the heart, music and the arts, endless time for science and real life experiences. I am so incredibly grateful for this time, piecing together a curriculum and resources so I can connect him with learning opportunities that help him become the best whole health and knowledgeable person he can be.
- Our 16 year old just got her driving permit and I’ve had a similar feeling teaching her to drive. It’s so special to get to witness and be a part of that growth. In a world where everyone’s first reaction is to go to the fearful side of this time, and yes of course that part is there too; I’m choosing to really honor the blessings that this stage of life is bringing for her and us.
- This past holiday season I did something that I had never done before. After years of doing holiday art and craft shows and in person shows, hauling all my work from place to place, getting sitters and paying entrance fees I turned them all down and trusted this little voice inside that knew I could do it my own way. (At least for now, with kids at home I have found myself losing interest in shows. There is only 1 that I love where the people and atmoshpere and crowd are so amazing that I may keep doing it, we’ll see – lookup 4Angels boutiques if you’re curious) Instead I offered very specific items online including remembrance ornaments and sold hundreds of them. I also got a chance to connect with small groups of people in online artwork parties. During these parties I was able to show videos where I got to explain the deeper meaning behind my artwork pieces and really hear people’s stories and what exactly what people around them were going through and connect them with the perfect gift they could get for those they love. It was such a rewarding and special set of parties and I got to meet so many beautiful women. Plus I got to do all of those from my home on my own schedule.
- January 1st, I deactivated my personal Facebook. I was finding myself having underlying levels of guilt, after cutting my friend list from over 600 to around 250 that helped a lot. Ultimately though I had to get really real that me being at home and having endless access to “check in” was costing me many minutes once I added it all up. Now after 2 months after being away I can see that the part I was really reluctant to admit to myself was that there was a continuous feeling of static in the back of my mind. Anywere I was, anything I was doing; I always felt like there was something else I was supposed to be doing. I don’t know if everyone feels that, but for me stepping away has allowed me to feel so present in my day to day life. At some point I’m sure I’ll get back on but for now it feels like the right choice for me.
- I don’t do networking groups. Or mommy groups. Here is what I know about me. My go to emotion is guilt. I really want to honor and connect with people once I let them into my world. What can seem like a fun one time, meet new people networking experience for most people leaves me feeling flaky and unreliable after the fact. I connect with people and then within my daily life I have no room for follow up. I am not available to do follow up coffee meetups, business meetings in person or mommy activities. So instead I’ve chosen to honor this time and know that someday I may want to dive back in and network and meet more people and really give it my all then I will do so with joy. For right now though I feel fulfilled with those in my life and the simplicity of our day to day.
- I don’t do phone calls or in person meetings if at all possible. Artwork is visual and for me sharing information via email or online works best. I am choosing right now not to do a ton of in person events. What I have found also is on my deeper, more intuitive based artwork projects I attain better results if I don’t have phone conversations with my clients. That my sound strange but I hate the phone. I don’t like talking to new people on the phone and it drains my energy. So knowing that I choose to keep my internal energy high and my intuitive energy at it’s deepest level by honoring them. This will change at some point, but for me right now with a kiddo in tow and a routine we stick to it is what works best for me.
- Choosing to drive used cars. We don’t do car payments and all our cars (4) are paid for in full. I was especially glad the other night (when I hit a deer a few hundred yards from our driveway) that I don’t worry about scratches or other life things that seem to happen out here. For the record the deer jumped back up and was fine and so was my car. Someday we’ll get some nicer cars but for now, this works great for us. I’m grateful that Bruce knows how to fix cars and keeps them all running. I think the biggest thing has been to disconnect our feelings of self worth from the cards we drive. Yes, of course it is fun to drive a super new, decked out car and we had fun last year when we rented a car for a weekend and chose a new BMW suv. It was really fun. But I don’t feel like less of a person because our cars are from both the 90’s and early 2000’s. I actually feel great pride and think of the other things we have been able to do with that time instead of having to spend it making money to pay for upgraded cars. Right now, I prefer more family time.
- Minimalism – we have gotten rid of so much extra stuff over the last few years. 6 months after getting married and combining our lives (stuff) my mom passed and over the next couple years our garage filled up with furniture, decor, clothes and candles that were hers. It’s taken almost a decade but we finally feel like we have just a few really special things that help me remember her but don’t need to have our whole house stuffed with things. We spend less time organizing, cleaning and moving things which has freed up not only time but also energy for the things we really want to spend it on.
- We don’t have cable. We have a roku with netflix and amazon and a couple other channels. We don’t dvr things. So yes, we miss things that are on tv quite often. Years ago I spent so much time watching tv and scheduling out what things would be recorded and learning about new shows but now it has faded. But somehow I’m still okay. This past year I’ve bingewatched; Heartland, Hart of Dixie, Hallmark’s Home is where the heart it and a few other shows that everyone else enjoyed years ago. I’m okay with that. They are coming into my life at the perfect time for me to really savor them and enjoy them.
- Diminishing toxic relationships. We can’t always completely avoid people who bring negativity into our lives but I strive to eliminate unnecesary drama or people I don’t trust. Today I don’t have to spend much time or energy on this but years ago I had a list of people in my life who I knew I needed to move on from. I send them love and I chose to limit or cut them out out completely and it’s been life changing.
- We talk in the language of love. If you where a fly on the wall in our home you would hear my 6 year old talk about how his heart is exploding with love. How he happy cried in the car yesterday while looking at the sunset and again last night when we all sat on the floor working on legos with him. We talk about our love, what eachother mean to us and share gratitude fr
eely. Even while having a 16 year old daughter I love that we can talk so openly and validate feelings, our intuition and have worked so hard to make our home a peaceful respite in contrast to a sometimes crazy and stressful world.
I share some of these things because I know so many people do fill so much of their day’s doing things they “should” do instead of really allowing themselves to schedule in breathing room, space and peacefulness. We want to make the people around us happy and sometimes we let the rule over that little feeling in our gut that knows something doesn’t feel like it fits anymore. Give yourself permission to honor peacefulness as much as success and knowledge in other subjects. It will make every area of your life better. I’ve experienced the death’s of loved ones, a divorce, multiple moves, and defining and developing my business. Then later marrying a wonderful man and making choices that move me closer year after year towards a life I really connect with (including working really hard to un-learn so much I’ve been tought growing up.) That journey has led me to now has given me this gift of a chapter of contentment. I feel so grateful, even grateful for the really tough times that make me even more grateful each day for good times. I know life will be full of ups and downs and times where I can’t wait to be around people and others where I again crave solitude and quiet, but for now in this moment… it feels so right.
Sending you all love!