The Cultivation of Contentment

People often talk about how contentment and happiness are different, often to make the point that contentment, not happiness, should be our goal.* I.e., you can feel a calm contentment, a spiritual quality, without needing the excitement of happiness or feeling deficient if happiness isn’t your overriding emotion. I certainly agree, but my experience is Read More…

Saturday Thoughts on Simplicity

Proliferation seems the great tendency of life. Not just that it tends to become more and more full – like the branchy tree outside our window that suddenly leapt into leafiness one day – but that each branch splits and multiplies. This complexity often manifests itself as a shortage of time. Our commitments have multiplied, Read More…

Why I Become Afraid of Planning Ahead

I should start by saying that, most of the time, in fact I’m a big planner: I like to plan things in advance and know what I need to do, what events are coming up, and feel assured that nothing will be forgotten. Normally, for me, planning includes the following: Making to-do lists, both daily Read More…

Living within Limits

Last week I came down with the flu. For the first couple of days it was kind of fun to have an excuse to stay home and watch TV and sleep. But on the third day of fever I began to get bored and actually wished I could do some work or clean the house Read More…

Advice from My Mother

It’s Mother’s Day weekend here in the UK, so in honour of my mother and in keeping with my theme of reflection, I wanted to share some of the good advice I’ve received from my mom over the last couple of years. We’ve kept up an email correspondence ever since I moved overseas, but when Read More…

Why Do We Feel Unnecessary Guilt?

In a recent post about trying to live without unnecessary guilt, I explained how my attitude about even small decisions can make me feel guilty and inadequate no matter what choice I actually make – that’s if I can actually bring myself to make a decision, which sometimes I really struggle to do. Around New Read More…

2012: A Year without Guilt

My resolution for 2012 was to ‘do what I want’. But I should explain what I mean. Over that Christmas, I spent a lot of time talking to my mom about why I felt so guilty and frustrated about every decision I made. I felt crushed under too much obligation, and a continual sense of failure, Read More…