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Serenity.

Happiness.

We sing about holidays filled with comfort and joy, but do you know anyone having that experience?

Let’s back up and start December over again.

Decide that you’re going to say an enthusiastic “yes!” to ending the year with satisfaction and peace, no matter how elusive that may seem. We’ll explore how to experience contentment in our fast-paced world in the December series, Gold to the Soul.

Say “contentment” and most people envision sitting in a lounge chair at their favorite vacation spot. But contentment is about more than being passive. When we’re awake and sensitive to what’s going on around us, Good is suddenly everywhere.

I had this subject on my mind as I waited at an upscale hotel for a friend’s birthday dinner. I caught a break with traffic and arrived well ahead of everyone else. As I parked myself in a soft easy chair in the lobby, a woman came and sat in front of the oversized fireplace.

A few minutes later, she started speaking. Since we were the only people in the lobby, I looked up. Her back was turned to me. Then it became clear – she was shooting a video with her phone and narrating the backdrop.

Then her date arrived. He was encouraging as he looked over her shoulder at the video. “Nice!” he said, giving her a broad smile.

“I guess,” she replied, shrugging her shoulders. “I feel like shit. I’m just trying to be positive.”

He just stared back at her.

It was heartbreaking. When I glanced over a few minutes later, I understood why they had gone quiet. They were each glued to their phone.

the-small-joys

When we consciously search for gratifying moments, life is more enjoyable. It’s that simple.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes described the tension with our To Do list this way:

“Something always needs trimming and augmenting. Something always needs repair or support or clearing or cleaning. Get with it.

You’ll be not happier, for chasing happiness is a merry go round…

Rather, you’ll be more content. Contentment is such gold to the soul.”

Let’s replay the couple’s conversation – this time focusing on awareness. Imagine if he helped her laugh off her mood by saying, “Yeah, I’ve had a long day, too, but Facebook can wait. We have a beautiful restaurant all to ourselves. Let’s order a great meal before the dinner rush and just relax!”

Now that’s a fantasic lead-in to a romantic night. Suddenly all the Good surrounding them would have been visible, instead of vanishing into thin air. The magnificent holiday decorations. Their quiet respite from bumper-to-bumper traffic and a busy schedule. And the warm, glowing fireplace.

If you start feeling pushed and pulled by your holiday commitments, avoid the temptation to go numb. In its place, stay present and find something that makes you content. Better yet, challenge yourself to find 3 things to appreciate every day during the rest of December!

Those little, seemingly inconsequential details all around you? Those small joys are gold to your soul.