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I recently spoke with one of my Parkinson’s students Who said, “I cannot be more grateful for what has happened, I feel my diagnosis was a wake up call, I no longer take anything for granted”. These are words from an attitude of joy in the midst of adversity, and personal hardship.

It reminds us of the possibility of A joyful and content heart in the midst of our challenges, losses and pain. Joy brings us inner strength that protects the heart from being overwhelmed. Joy brings us contentment and rest within. Joy motivates us and inspires us to go on. Life brings us challenges, but with an inner joy to meet it, we can face it without fear, and resentment.

The expression “compassion fatigue” indicates an inner depletion of resources that maintains our joy and peace. With exposure to a lot of pain and affliction it’s important to remember to care for our own well-being, and maintain our inner joy. Practice mindfulness wherever you can, walking, driving- noticing the sights, the smells and the colors of things present.

Contentment and joy go happily together. Contentment is not laziness, or apathy. Rather, It is a heart and mind that is at peace, not dependent on circumstances or conditions. It is a heart that resists an argument with the difficult and challenging. It’s a heart that is in a place of refuge in confidence.

If you find yourself in a moment of discontent, you can ask yourself the question, “what in this moment is lacking? ” The list of how you, other people, or the circumstances need to be different can be endless, and we can go through life being preoccupied what that list — yet we are the only ones Who can choose moment to moment where our hearts reside – in contentment or resentment and deprivation.

It is in the moments when we face what we find unacceptable and painful that we can choose to respond with contentment in poise. Contentment teaches us that we are gatekeepers our own hearts and the peace and joy that’s within it.