Start with who you are, where you are

“Without giving up hope—that there’s somewhere better to be, that there’s someone better to be—we will never relax with where we are or who we are.” – Pema Chödrön

How much of the time is our attention focused on somewhere we’d rather be or how someone else’s life seems better than ours? Today’s inspiration reminds us that such thoughts distract us from recognizing and honoring the value of who we are in the lives we have. The old adage, the grass is always greener on the other side, is a time-tested piece of wisdom that reminds us of the illusory nature of such thinking. All places and people have their own unique challenges and struggles. To find the inner peace and well-being of genuine happiness, we need to start with where we are and who we are.

As soon as we start focusing on other places we’d like to be, things we’d like to have, and the perceived “good lives” of others, we create dissatisfaction in our own lives. If we fall into the “if only” trap of thinking we would be truly happy if only we had that job, that relationship, that house, that vacation, etc., we set ourselves up for endless desires that lead us to unhappiness and discontent. This is not to say we should not have goals and aspire to achieving them. Of course we should. It means we should not fall into the trap of believing that the outcomes of our goals and the outer circumstances and events of our lives are the true source of our genuine happiness. Such happiness comes from the meaning we bring into our lives, as well as the inner growth, resiliency, and integrity we develop in ourselves.

Instead of focusing outwardly on the things we don’t have, it is much more effective to bring our attention to all we do have. Without developing our inner resources, our outer achievements will always leave us wanting. To fully develop our highest potentials, it is important to cultivate contentment within ourselves and with the lives we have. Such contentment comes from a deep sense of gratitude for all we have, all that has helped us, and all the opportunities awaiting us. If we are able to treat the lives we already have as valuable, tending to them with attention and intention, they will provide us with opportunities to become the people we want to be and live the lives we find most meaningful. Remember, this day will never come again.

I invite you to cultivate contentment and engage in your daily activities with attention and intention. When you catch your attention being drawn towards “if only,” redirect it to the opportunities available to you in the life that you already have. – John Bruna

MLP Community 1The above is a an excerpt from one the daily emails sent to the members of the Mindful Life Community.  I invite you to explore our community and consider joining.

Copyright © 2017 John Bruna. All rights reserved.

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