Reverse Engineering Contentment

This morning, while searching through blogs for one to resend so I could take the day off, I found a message that feels important at this time now that things are starting to open up. I needed the reminder and I hope you find it helpful, too.


I’ve just come in from a run through our neighborhood on this beautiful, spring morning. We’ve had rain here all week, which we really needed, and it’s good to have the sun back for a visit.

As I walked out the front door and began my warm-up, I stopped to breathe in the sweet smell of lilacs and wild honeysuckle that surround our yard. I love the scent of spring and look forward to it every year.

A short distance from the house, I realized I was feeling something I’ve spent so much of my life chasing after – contentment.

Contentment: A state of happiness and satisfaction; ease of mind.

How did I get here, I wondered? What had to happen for me to feel so satisfied at this moment?

As I continued running, I began to reverse engineer my path to contentment.

Fewer appointments on my calendar.

More time alone.

Doing what my heart wants to do first rather than following the overly responsible voice in my head.

Slowing down and trusting that there’s always enough time to do what needs to be done, especially when I keep my attention in the present moment.

Allowing others to take care of their own needs while I take care of mine.

Saying no to things I’d really like to do in order to protect the spaciousness my soul needs to occupy center stage in my life.

Yes, contentment is a by-product of presence, discipline, and the satisfaction of being in my own company.

Within no time, I saw evidence that these positive feelings had kindled an energetic force that pulled in more reasons to feel good.

As I crested the first hill, I came upon this:

Peonies are such happy flowers, aren’t they?

I kept running when I came across the next sign – a chipmunk sitting at the side of the road munching on a nut. When I approached, rather than scampering away, he stayed in place and looked up at me.

I swear I saw a smile on his tiny, whiskered face.

It’s natural to focus on the challenges we face or the fears we’re trying to overcome, but today I celebrate what’s good and right and okay with the world.

Actually, more than okay. Contentment is the Holy Grail. In the last part of my run, just before I got to my driveway, I rounded a corner and found this beautiful sight…

Wanting to respect her space, I didn’t get too close. Instead, I stopped, visited for several minutes, and said a silent prayer of thanks for the beauty of our shared moment.

There's always so much to feel grateful for when you pay attention to life!

May you find moments of contentment this week. And when you do, reverse engineer the experience for yourself.





Keep updated with Spirit Library

Author Information

Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the New York Times bestselling author of several books including, Take Time for Your LifeLife MakeoversStand Up for Your LifeThe Unmistakable Touch of GraceThe Art of Extreme Self Care, You Can Create an Exceptional Life with Louise Hay, and her new book, Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife.

Books from Cheryl Richardson

Grace Cards Cover image
Cheryl Richardson
Stand Up for Your Life Cover image
Cheryl Richardson
Turning Inward (Journals) Cover image
Cheryl Richardson


Cheryl Richardson Archives