Day 61. Contentment Practice

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Michelle and I walked down to a $2 clothing sale this morning. It was just a bunch of clothes in a pile. I’ve never shopped from a pile before. Then, we went to Target across the street. Here is an underrated thing about chain stores: If you’re homesick, you can just go into the middle of a chain store, close your eyes, and you can be in any city you want. This Target is on the second story of a building, but has the exact layout of every other Target I’ve been to. Other than that, buy local.

Previous to that, I heard a speaker at this church I’ve been going to. He’s an actor. His name is Tony Hale and is known for being Buster, on Arrested Development. There are a lot of actors in the church, so he was speaking about his experience. It was very good. He is very insightful.

I think the biggest thing I took from what he said was that you need to practice contentment, because if you don’t, and you eventually reach the thing you’ve been striving for, you still won’t reach contentment. An achieved goal won’t provide you with contentment, it has to be something you’ve practiced ahead of time. I don’t do that. I should do that. There would be no harm in doing that. Only good things.

I’ve often thought that on the flip side of drive is discontentment, at least for me. They go together. I’ve often met people without an ounce of drive but are overflowing with contentment. I look at them with awe, because I can’t relate.

I guess contentment exists in a completely different framework than striving for goals. You can’t strive for goals in order to reach contentment. If contentment is what you want, it has to happen outside of goals. Goals are future oriented, contentment lives in the present.

In this world of striving, surrounded by strivers, this is a good reminder for me as so much of my mental energy right now is focused on sacrificing the present for the future. I must practice.

Shopping from a clothes pile with my wife is a good place to start.

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