Being content: A real blessing mother
On this year's Mother's Day, I called my mother in China to wish her "Happy Mother's Day."
While picking up the phone and dialing the number, many thoughts and emotions ran though my mind.
I was concerned about my mother. She has diabetes and bradycardia (slow heartbeat). Lately she's had swollen feet.
I was feeling sorry and guilty. I couldn't be with my mother to help her or just spend time with her.
Since I left my home town for college at the age of 17, I haven't spent much time with my parents except when they visited me in the U.S.
Now that they are both old and deteriorating in health, they could use some help from me, but I live so far away from them that I am not helpful at all.
I was feeling like a very unappreciative and bad daughter who doesn't give back to her parents.
Not even flowers, lunch or anything for Mother's Day.
Choking back tears, I said: "Mom, I am so sorry. I didn't give you anything for Mother's Day."
In her usual humble and content manner, my mother responded.
"Getting your phone call is enough for me on Mother's Day," she said.
It brought me more tears.
I don't know anyone who is more content than my mother and my father.
My parents never ask me for anything. Whenever I ask them about their needs for money or other things, they always say, "No, we have enough. You don't need to give us anything."
Being content is the way my parents have lived throughout their lives. It has influenced me so deeply that it has become a natural part of my life.
I know I am in a state of contentment. Here is why.
I appreciate and value what I already have. Without a thankful attitude, contentment will never be possible.
I don't have a big ego.
I don't always want more than I have or more than what others have.
I don't usually compare myself with others. I am happy for others when they get promoted, make more money or are more successful.
Often times we are discontent not because we are not doing well, but because others are doing better. Comparisons ruin contentment.
I don't complain about any lack of earthly things. Why should I care about a bigger house, a newer car or some fancier jewelry?
Contentment is not about what I have and how much I have. Contentment is a state of being, being in the present and being satisfied with present conditions and circumstances.
I try to be in the present, to be more aware of the good that exists right here, right now and in my life. If I am focused on how it could be more and better, then I will miss and not recognize what is good in the moment and in my life.
I am content with what I have and who I am. Though I admit, I still have a long way to go before I can achieve inner contentment fully.
Being content is liberating. It brings peace and freedom, freedom from desires, wants or needs. It frees my time, my mind and my resources.
I don't pay attention to what's fashionable and popular. I don't spend time and energy worrying about what others think of me. I don't spend money on getting more and better stuff to make me look good and feel good.
I want to let go of worldly cares and do what I like to do and be what I want to be.
Contentment is a choice and an attitude.
I realized that having a content soul is one of the greatest blessings in life.
I like what Socrates said about contentment:
"He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have. Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty."
I am thankful for my mother and father for passing this one on to me.
I know what I will tell my kids when they ask me what I want for Mother's Day. All I want is a call, a personal note or their personal presence.
That's enough for me. Just like for my mother.