These three syllables carry a whole industry of striving, attainment–and, ironically, near-certain discontent.

Contentment is abundant when we meet it halfway, trusting, if only for a moment, that everything is ok, and pausing, if only for long enough to unclench hands, shoulders, knees and toes, jaw, forehead, butt cheeks and belly.

To me, it means:

Adoring myself for reasons both mysterious and obvious.

Stopping by a friend’s house unannounced and being warmly received with a hug, a cup of coffee, a seat in the sun.

Sowing the seeds I’ll reap tomorrow, on a beautiful June afternoon.

Seeing Aviva and Pearl dressed, respectively, for school in a Dracula suit and summer monkey pajamas.

Accepting the intimacy of separation, without needing to understand the paradox.

Not straining to move mountains but letting the mountains move themselves, as they have for all time.

Working, keeping a schedule, watering the plants, and making the bed every morning–except on the days when I don’t.

Opening to the unknown, being right on time, and not longing for change.

Feeling settled with however things are–or unsettled perhaps, but sans the struggle.

Doing one thing at a time with patience and a light touch, no matter how urgent I may think I should feel. (In fact, contentment has generously just offered to foot the bill for “think” and “should” to go on a long cruise together, where they can stuff themselves at one of six all-you-can-eat buffets.)

Coming home and asking myself, “How are you?”

Knowing nothing is ever actually stuck–only my thoughts when they get snagged on the debris of stories that jam up the river.

Exhaling panic.

Inhaling lilacs.

Remembering there is always room at the Inn.

Being the light that flirts with the trees, some leaves turned upward towards the sun, others facing down, in shadow. Giving thanks once again for the blessing of a summer breeze.

Riding it out, reminding myself that there’s no such thing as the repetition of a wave.


Leave a comment sharing what contentment means to you.

6 thoughts on “Contentment

  1. Dawn says:

    Another beautiful poem–thank you!! my yoga teacher said this in a very
    difficult moment yesterday, when we were all gasping for air:
    “this seems so hard and just terrible right now, but in four breaths it
    will be over. just four breaths.”

    You reminded me of that!


  2. Barrie says:

    I’m exhaling panic, inhaling lilacs, and sipping a refreshing glass of Sauvignon Blanc right now. Thanks for the inspiration and support!


  3. Karen Pery says:

    My puppy’s sigh when he settles against me for a nap, a sound so special it’s been named: the schnurfle.

    Hearing my children laughing and playing alone together.

    Noticing the changes that come from years of real work.

    Night blooming Jasmine and the purple rain of jacarandas losing their flowers all over town, natural reminders of a season having arrived.

    Jena, can I repost this as a guest zest on my site?



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s