Aunt Muriel invested a decade of her life researching our family history. It is from her work tracing back to the 17th Century that I learned the Bowyer family motto is Contentment surpasses riches. It’s taken me a few decades to anchor into the truth of its wisdom in a world conditioned to tempt me away from it, but now I know what makes me grow is in me, not outside me, and trusting my own contentment has become a compass on the journey.

Life colluded to teach me contentment. The thing I want to say here that may be of use to you is that we are living in an exciting time when people are awakening to the desire to return to something simpler, and to live sustainably. Some are in the experience willingly and some are resisting it but either way, change is here, and I believe it’s for the higher good of humanity. People are learning to make new choices in order to support this change.

I had my own moment of choice back in the summer of 2000 when I left an unsustainable lifestyle to return to Canada to live as a lone mother of two sons. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I also knew I could no longer deny the spirit of my life. She needed to build and I couldn’t see her in the life I was standing in so I had to leave. I sensed what would come for me would come from me and hence I needed to look to myself for what would be mine. Sometimes we need to empty the cup to fill it back up with something truer.

Now I live in a life that is truly mine.

What deems it sustainable?

It is the direct experience of making. And it is a feeling of genuine relatedness to home, work, garden, community, family. This connection is vibrant and sustains me. In the realization of my own providence I am content.

Like it or not, the relationships we hold are a reflection of our own consciousness, our own sense of self. When I discovered I was in cahoots with people who purported to love me yet didn’t treat me in loving ways, I realized I had to move out and away. It demanded I ask myself questions about me, not about them.

What part of me is okay being mistreated?

Why would I accept less than I give?

In what ways do I value others more than I value myself?

This process was the way I learned to claim my power back and align to new possibilities for my life. And when those possibilities became realities, I needed to learn how to hold them.

You cannot claim what you are unable or unwilling to hold.

Stop expecting others to love you more than you love yourself. The journey to all things love and loving is an inner walk through the door in our own heart.

In The Red Book, Carl Jung wrote: “I see that it is not worth conquering a larger piece of the immeasurable, but a smaller one instead. A well-tended small garden is better than an ill-tended large garden.”

I have a small garden and within its limits I love deep into the root of what is mine now because I found the courage to claim it and earned the presence to hold it. In holding comes contentment. For it is in contentment I discover I have been given everything.

Love is the answer to every question. It is everywhere all at once in us, as us, for us to live by.

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