It’s easy for us to get caught in habits of discontentment, where our inner world focuses on the negativity of what’s missing, what’s wrong or what could go wrong.
A couple years ago, knowing he’d been dealing with some physical pain, I asked my friend Rich how his shoulder was feeling. He said something like: “It still hurts some. But then I remind myself of the thousands of other body parts that feel great and are working just fine - and I feel grateful.”
I was awed by that response.
As a psychotherapist, I know the benefits of what we call “cognitive restructuring” – making conscious efforts to alter habits of thinking that don’t serve our highest good. We can cultivate contentment by deliberately noticing what’s good in our world, appreciating the beauty around and within us.
Spring Forest QiGong offers another approach. In that system, contentment and discontentment are associated with the lungs. Lately, I’ve been breathing the energy of contentment into my lungs and exhaling discontent - picturing butterflies flitting off into the universe, where all energy can be transformed into some aspect of love. Often, after just a few breaths, I feel contentment as a warmth that begins in my chest and melts into the rest of my body.
I soften and relax. My body smiles. Cultivating contentment opens pathways to peace and love.