It is the fall of the year and we’ve left the lazy days of the summer behind us. We are in a season of harvest; our lives are more predictable where we balance school, work, activities, family dinner, homework, and so much more.
We tend to move through our daily routine and sometimes we may not stop to simply be present in the moment. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago as Catherine and I left her weekly afternoon therapy session. She had a long day in school, commuted just under an hour to complete ninety minutes of therapy and still had almost an hour commute to get home. We normally walk out of therapy arm and arm where she gives me a run-down of what she learned and how she behaved. By the time she gets in the car and buckles her seat belt she typically ends with “I did my work.”
This particular day, things ended a little differently. We did our normal BFF walk out of therapy. Only this time she got in the car folded her arms and announced, “Mommy…I am happy.” I turned around and said “you are?” She confirmed, “Yes, I am happy.” There were no reasons given, just a statement. As I drove away, I took a second look from my rear view mirror and saw her looking through her iPad just as she did any other day. I also caught a glimpse of the puzzled expression on my own face.
Here is a little girl who just completed a long day in school, a lengthy commute (I was on this journey with her) and therapy and she announces her happiness. She’s not thinking about a to-do list or tomorrow’s agenda like I am. My mind was on the next activity and looking ahead to my responsibilities at home and some of my commitments over the next few days. She could profoundly own where she was in that moment.
Experts say that contentment is a state and happiness is a moment. As I think about this, I believe Catherine was expressing her contentment. Her expression was not based on a temporary high but was a profound moment of satisfaction and gratitude. In fact it was a decision to be present.
You know I had to make a few adjustments and slow down. I now force myself to be present in the moment. I try to end my long days where I walk just a little slower, pause just a bit more and settle my thoughts as I seek after “a harvest of peace produced from a seed of contentment” (Kashmiri Proverb).
You should try it. I bet you will be able to say “I am happy” too.