Searching outside of ourselves for contentment will disappoint. It’s not a thing we can “have”.

Instead, it’s a practice of paying attention, appreciating, refocusing.

No one promised us contentment. It’s nobody’s job to give us contentment. Instead it’s an individual responsibility, a lifetime commitment.

Sometimes it’s easy. Things flow, birds sing, life has rhythm.

Sometimes it’s elusive. We feel worry, overwhelm, disdain, blindness.

Sometimes pain overwhelms. Our pain, the pain we see in others, collective pain that lingers in the air.

But that’s not the end, it’s not the truth about the world, it’s not “reality”.

It’s just a piece of reality. A piece of life that is asking for attention, to be noticed, to be felt.

So we get quiet, notice, ask for help, breathe, recognize the miracle of being here in the first place.

Life has meaning when we give it meaning. Not when we wait for others to tell us why it’s meaningful. Not when we wait for others to make it meaningful.

We decide to make it meaningful.

We decide that not everything needs to be “good” for us to live in awe.

We decide that not everything needs to go our way for us to be grateful.

We decide to embrace other humans, love the earth, laugh a lot.

We decide to practice contentment. Not because it’s perfect, but because it’s peace.

Cathy Cassani Adams, LCSW, CPC, CYT is the author of three books including the multiple award-winning Living What You Want Your Kids to Learn: The Power of Self-Aware Parenting. She co-hosts the internationally popular Zen Parenting Radio, and she’s co-creator of the annual Zen Parenting Conference. She’s a sought-after speaker and she teaches in the Sociology/Criminology Department at Dominican University. Cathy and her husband Todd are raising three girls.