Not to rub it in or anything, but it’s hard to believe it’s winter right now where I live on the Gold Coast.
Sure there have been a few nights where the mercury has dipped and it feels pretty cold (Ok – just because I wrote this last night was bloody freezing, brrrr), but the warmth of sunny days surely makes the overnight chill factor worthwhile.
Ask a four-year-old if he thinks it’s too cold for a swim and his face tells it all – the face of contentment.
It’s funny how as we age our version of what constitutes cold changes even when the temperature doesn’t. We become scared in our shivering, rather than daring in our swimming. And I think we lose something in the process of narrowing our perspective.
After all – someone’s winter is always another’s summer (as we discovered living in Squamish, Canada, when Gold Coast winter temps would often top Squamish hot days).
The same goes for contentment/discontentment.
‘Now is the winter of our discontent’ is the famous opening line of Shakespeare’s Richard III – the disgruntled King lamenting the ‘unfair’ state of his world.
But he continues: ‘made glorious summer by the sun of York’ – so perhaps there is always hope for the sun to shine even in the midst of winter.
John Steinbeck, the Nobel Prize winning US novelist, pinched the phrase as the title for his final novel, in which the chief protagonist makes himself discontented by not being content, trading his morality for the sake of wealth and power.
I don’t profess to be a literary critic, but the message of these great wordsmith’s seems to be that contentment is always a choice, or not.
It does not have to be a winter of discontent, whether the weather is beautiful or much less so (sorry poor Melbourne/Perth/Squamish etc).
This was boating, complete with Sunday brunch at a favourite café Bumbles, in a beautiful spot along the Nerang River called Budds Beach, on a perfect day for it, even if we had to make two trips in the tinnie with the cousins, passing boats and mansions we could never afford. This was contentment.
We watched the Gold Coast Marathon runners cross the Sundale bridge from underneath it, and watched a dogged dog run his own marathon back and forth along the beach (like 20+ times, he was one determined canine).
I lay back on the warmish sand, closed my eyes and soaked in the sunshine while the others fished (they didn’t catch anything, but who’s complaining – nobody).
On days like these contentment is hardly a choice.
But sometimes it is a challenge of monumental proportions.
It was for the gorgeous Sarah Rosborg from Castle Designs and the charity Rafiki Mwema – one of the speakers at the recent Creative Business Women’s High Tea event organized by the lovely Zanni – My Sunshine House.
Sarah spoke of a heartbreakingly inspiring trip to Kenya, followed barely a week later by a devastating car accident in the US. As tears stung her eyes and ours, we heard an amazing story of how she has devoted the life she almost lost to helping young girls deeply scarred by sexual abuse in Kenya.
On her long journey to recovery, Sarah threw her remaining energies into charity work, eventually forming Rafiki Mwema (which means loyal friend) – a safe house offering play therapy to rehabilitate broken lives.
Through her business Sarah covers the charity administration costs, plus she offers a fifty percent discount for genuine not-for-profits requiring her amazing, self-taught graphic and web design skills.
It is a beautiful, worthy charity to support if you can.
We can choose to help others and in doing so we choose contentment.
We can choose to prioritize relationships, passion and purpose in our lives and in doing so we choose contentment.
We can choose to forgive ourselves and others and so heal ourselves, and that is a choice to be content.
We can choose to accept sorrow and joy and when we do we have chosen contentment.
We can choose to be positive and grateful and so manifest what we want in our lives, as Emily – Have a Laugh on Me will attest happened to me when I won (ie manifested on that cold day) a beautiful hand-crocheted blanket, lovingly made by Sarah’s (surely beautiful) Mum.
It is warming me now through the winter of my content.
Linking up for another Tuesday with Jess for IBOT.
Do you agree that we choose contentment? How do you choose it in your life?