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5 Simple Actions for Pure Peace and Contentment

“Until you make peace with who you are, you will never be content with what you have.” ~Doris Mortman

Every day I chat with a friend and he always asks “How are you?” This isn’t the superficial greeting we often give to an acquaintance in passing. He really wants to know, and I usually oblige with an honest snapshot of how my life is at the moment.

I began to notice that my answers contained words like quiet, peaceful, and content. Could this be the elusive “happiness” that I spend so much energy and time to achieve? And could it have settled subtly on my shoulder like a shy butterfly while I was busy with my life?

I am constantly reading and analyzing how I can make my short time on earth better. In general, life is good. But like many people, I often fall into the trap of trying to do too much, be too much, and painstakingly pick myself apart for being human.

I took some time to reflect what changes I had made over the last few months that would have opened me to a feeling of pure contentment. By contentment, I simply mean I feel fine and secure with what I have, what I am, and where I am going right at this moment.  I know things can change, but I feel now is perfect.

Here are the 5 things I identified that led me to find a harmony within, however fleeting.

1. Show humility.

I live in Florida where the housing market is especially broken. The loss of tourism, the NASA space program, and other economic hardships here have caused many friends to lose their homes to foreclosure. I am reminded everyday to be grateful for things such as a house I love and the ability to share with my children.

When I sweep my floors, I think “I feel thankful to have what I have and a joy to take care of it.”  It sounds funny, but many boring household chores are what others would wish for. These chores are a service to my family and a healthy dose of humbleness for my soul.

2. Recognize enough.

With practice, and gentle reminders from those I respect, I have finally accepted my true life is happening right now. I celebrate the accomplishments and good things as they happen and avoid looking ahead too far for more of the same.

Going slowly and enjoying the journey is “life.”  Rushing the moment can take such fun out of the anticipation. Expectations can lead to disappointment, but accepting what I have been given now is contentment.

If right now is painful for you, try thinking “I’m growing,” instead of “I’m hurting.”  It is pain and discomfort which causes us to move. Sometimes the move is necessary and beneficial overall.

I repeat the mantra, “I have what I need” often to remind me that now is not just enough, but a blessing.

3. Simplify life. 

Give up what you don’t need and be glad you did. So many things can fall into this category. Material things take space and energy to maintain. Toxic relationships tax our positivism and peacefulness. Worry and despair over things we cannot change rob our sense of well being.

Very few things in life are a real crisis. Those that are cannot be solved by worry but by deliberate and thoughtful actions. Take decisive action to cut out the things that complicate and thus rob you of true contentment.

I’ve begun to clear whole days on my calendar of planned events. These are free days that I can spend with my family spontaneously.

4. Have real fun.

Regret can be a mood killer. We often take the serious and over-analyzed road when making decisions. It’s good to be responsible; it’s also good to take a chance even if it entails a big mistake.

I went to Las Vegas once and really wanted to try a live poker tournament. I chickened out and instead watched a friend try it. It is something I still wish I had pushed myself to do.

Is a card game a life or death situation? No. But I should have allowed myself the fun and if the chance arises again, I’m on it! Respect your boundaries, but be open to experiences and challenges that offer a sense of peace.

5. Make room for quiet.

Whether you pray, meditate, listen to nature, or even just be, allow yourself to hear what’s in your heart. Connecting with what is inside better prepares you to deal with the exterior world with calmness and peace. Give up control and release yourself to thoughts and emotions that can heal, strengthen, and even surprise you.

Your inner voice often has something to say. You can best recognize that gut feeling that can act as a reliable compass once you turn off all the noisy, messy distracting sounds of life. I describe it as being “plugged in” to the positivity around me.

I am not all calmness and peace all the time. I have a full and often chaotic life with children and a job. But, with a few mindful adjustments, I have found a season of contentment, and for that my thankfulness abounds!

Photo used with permission from laineybugger

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About Nicole Franco

Nicole Franco is an emerging freelance fiction writer seeking representation for her first novel. She enjoys family, horses, travel, reading, photography, and making others laugh. To read more of her writing or hire her for freelance work, visit francowrites.com.

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  • http://www.justherejustnow.com Lisa @ Just here. Just now.

    Wonderful list. All of these resonate with me, but the one I am working on most is “enough.” Not everything needs to be perfect all the time. There is a reason that the phrase “good enough” exists! Sometimes, doing more than good enough is a waste of time and energy. Thanks for the great reminder.

  • Julia

    Thank you for this reminder! I loved the part where you said “give up control”, definitely one of the things I’m trying to focus on moment to moment. You had no ideas how glad I am to have found this website :)

  • http://www.fredtracy.com Fred Tracy

    This post is wonderful.

    I especially agree with #3 about creating entire days full of spontaneity and fun, as opposed to the planned events.I absolutely despise routine and monotony. Beyond my daily schedule, which involves exercising in a few hours of work, I try to leave everything else absolutely open.

    Oh, and meditation rocks! :-)

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  • Jamesmcgoran

    Just lovely.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZP66Y3DLLYA7YJ6GJMUODYZJMI Striving

    Wise words we all need to apply. Thank you.

  • lil ewok

    Very Insightful…..very true…

  • Jungo

    As always, you managed to remind me of the things I must remember….I have forgotten how to do a lot of things when I challenged my spiritual journey by just living life with no purpose. 

  • Travelmari

    thank you…. You are a messenger from the heavens.

  • Judson Brehmer

    :)  Thank you!

  • Marcia

    Thank you so much for this lovely post — and photo, Nicole. I especially liked your words about Humility (a most admirable and difficult-to-attain quality) and Simplify. I’ve been living in Japan for the past 5 years and because of space limitations, I’m living with fewer material things around me, only the things I need. Now I just need to carry over this more simplified lifestyle when I return to the US next year, which I don’t think will be that easy!

  • Nicole Howard Franco

    Thank you for the kind words. Happy Friday ~

  • Adina Cameo

    That is a very beautiful photograph, thank you for that lovely gift. It could be an elusive “happiness” sp. if you’re in doubt about it, like the silver lining of a cloud …dealing with uncomfortable feelings brings me closer to my real/authentic self (as much as it sucks and it’s annoying) it’s been a loooong road and I’m still on it… it’s kinda like the velveteen rabbit. i can say how happy or look happy all day, it’s only real when it burns (in a positive way) in me. 

  • noch – be me. be natural.

    i’d add – laugh at yourself :)

  • Nicole Howard Franco

    Thank you for all your inspiring and sweet words. I still have much to learn and even more to practice.  For the record, I cannot take credit for the beautiful photograph.  It is lovely though ;)

  • Nicole Howard Franco

    Have you read The Velveteen Principles (A guide to becoming Real) by Toni Raiten-D’Antonio?  It is one of my all time favorites. Funny you mentioned it :)  Be well.

  • Anand

    awesum, very true & factual words/.

  • Bobbi Jo

    Lovely piece – thank you for sharing.  I need these reminders from time to time =)  It’s so easy to let day to day things take us away from the now.

    Peace & love to you
    Bobbi Jo

  • http://big-zen.blogspot.com/ Big Zen

    Great to hear about your personal experience Nicole. For me, I think number 5 is the most crucial. When we make time for quiet, all the other important things naturally follow. We become humble and grateful for what we have, we recognise that a simple life is the most fulfilling and because we are more present, life becomes more fun. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Danneleigh

    Very wise and just what i needed today…Gratefulness is a big part of being content..When u grateful, all feels good inside yourself…:)

  • http://www.pleasurehertonight.com/ Bellaisa

    To me this all boils down to one thing – living in the moment. I’m a big fan of it! And the more I find myself being in the moment the more I find myself using words like you – quiet, peaceful, and happy.

  • http://twitter.com/yan_tougas Yan Tougas

    Hmmm. Such simple, beautiful process.  Thanks for sharing!

  • Ddc337oxford

    Yes…so true. And, learning to just “be”. This is such a simple concept to living peacefully and harmoniously yet it eludes so many of us in this fast-paced, frantic world. To find real joy and gratitude in just being is a huge accomplishment in this life we have been blessed to live…don’t you think?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/alex.moses.104 Alex Moses

    good one, we do have a lot in common
    check out my link (delete the post if do not agree)
    http://alexmoses.wordpress.com/