“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. ”   Genesis 1:31

Have you ever known someone with lots of money who was really unhappy?  You see it all the time, people who have every material thing the mind can dream up, yet their lives feel meaningless and empty, and they still crave something more.  Have you ever known someone who seemed to have very little in the way of material possessions, yet seemed completely content … even happy?  How can that be?

I have a very good friend who owns very little.   People just call him Rooster … he doesn’t even have a proper name anymore!  Rooster lives in a tiny trailer and owns a rusty truck that he’s kept running for almost 20 years.  Aside from the clothes on his back and some mechanic’s tools, that’s pretty much his entire estate.   Rooster lives like that by choice.  There was a time in his past when he was pretty successful by the world’s standards, with a wife, a big house and all the big bills that go along with a wife and house.  What happened to change all that is Rooster’s story to tell.  But today, Rooster is one of the most contented people I know.  Rooster begins every morning by sitting quietly at the water’s edge.  Some days he looks out at the ocean, some days he looks out at the river.  He watches and he listens.  He spends time every morning just BE-ing.  Just as if he had all the time in the world.  If you ask him, Rooster will tell you that he has everything he needs.  He is also grateful for everything that he has. Rooster is contented with his life because he no longer has the craving for MORE that the rest of us struggle with.

What You Have Is Enough

The secret to contentment is learning to see that what you already have is enough.  In fact, what you have is probably way more than enough if you’re honest with yourself.  Yet we are always craving more and better stuff.  We all have our own personal Home Improvement dreams:  visions of how we want our space to be.  If you’re anything like me, those home improvement dreams always involve buying more stuff.  A better refrigerator, nicer furniture, an updated kitchen, new flooring.  If you’ve ever remodeled a house, you know what I’m talking about.  Even if you’re not a homeowner, you have your own list of things you’ve got to have:  a new iPod, big-screen TV, faster computer, more toys, better clothes, and lots of shoes.  I call it the “Someday I’m going to have …” syndrome.  Oh, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve your situation; in fact, it’s human nature.  What I’m suggesting here is that we learn to look around at what we already have and learn to see it as enough.

We tend to see what is not right with our lives.  We see the unwashed dishes and the pile of laundry.  We see furniture that doesn’t match and clothes that are a bit out of style.  We see all that and we get the idea that what we have is not enough.  So we crave more stuff, and soon we complain about the lack of sufficient storage space.  But how would it be if we learned to look around at what we have and learn to see it as plenty?  I can take a shower in hot water every day, and sleep  in a clean bed.  Every day I have good, nutritious food to eat and can watch my favorite shows on tv.  With my computer and phone, I’m linked in to the entire world, and so am never really isolated from my loved ones.  I have books to read, and paper to write on.  I have something to do every day that contributes to the well-being of the world that I live in.  I have people to love, and people who love me.  I even have cats.  If I can learn to see all that as enough, if I can be truly grateful for all of those things, I am content.

What You Do Is Enough

Most of us feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all that needs to be done.  We set so many tasks for ourselves that we feel we don’t have time to just sit on a riverbank like Rooster does every morning.  We don’t have time to play with our kids or to sit quietly listening to the birds sing or watching kittens play in the yard.  We’re too busy.  Maybe we’re unnecessarily busy.   Time management experts tell us to plan out our day the night before, so that you start the day with your list of things to do already laid out.  That way when you get up in the morning you don’t waste any of your precious time.  But here’s a secret about to-do lists:  you never, ever get to the end of the list.  There’s always plenty of list still remaining at the end of the day.   That fact could really stress you out if you let it.  Don’t let it.  Learn to be at peace with the fact that you’ll never get it all done, and learn to see that what you do really is enough.  Choose one or two goals to accomplish in any given day, and let the rest go.  You’ll never do it all, so just do what you can, and know that it is sufficient.  If you go to bed without washing the dishes, it really will be ok.  I promise.  Learn to tolerate a little mess, and you’ll be a much happier person.  When you go to bed at night, be filled with gratitude for all that you got done that day; don’t spend your last waking moments punishing yourself for all that was left undone.  After all, tomorrow is another day.  Fiddle-dee-dee!

Who You Are Is Enough

The myth of personal development is that we are not good enough the way we are, and that we are in need of some serious personal improvement.  No wonder people are so discontent!  Learn to see yourself as perfectly good just the way you are.  Be grateful for the person you are today.  Appreciate all your excellent qualities.  There is only one of you on this planet, and you are the most perfect example of YOU that we have.  Learn to love yourself just as you are, today.  Instead of seeing faults, see eccentricities.  In a work of art, it’s the little imperfections that make the piece valuable.  I’ve heard that weavers of fine rugs always weave in a tiny imperfection, which is what gives the rug it’s value.  Learn to value your own imperfections.  They are what make you unique.  So how does personal development fit in?  Be grateful for all your qualities; focus your attention on what is special about you, and what is special about you will grow.  That is personal development in a nutshell.

Everything changes.  That is the one constant in life that we can count on.  The Law of Attraction teaches us that whether things change for the better or change for the worse is the direct result of what we consistently focus our attention on.  Learn to see, like God when he first created the world, that what you have, what you do, and who you are is really very good.  And it will be so.

Valerie Saurer is a musician and a writer living a happily eccentric life in Merritt Island, Florida with Keith and plenty of cats.  If you’re feeling particularly grateful today, she invites you to stop by her online Gratitude Journal and tell us about it.  What are you grateful for today?