I'm reading Linda Dillow's surprising and thought-provoking book Calm My Anxious Heart, which is so far about contentment, not anxiety (good, because I left all my anxiety behind in Puerto Supe). It's from there that all these rumblings of my heart are coming. I'm trying to read the book slowly (not my specialty) and answer the questions for each chapter. This week had a particularly good activity.
Write lists of the positive and negative aspects of the circumstances God has allowed in your life at this time.
- super husband
- awesome dogs (I can hear Eliana right now singing her "Awesome dogs!" song....)
- financial security, great supporters, living where things are cheap
- priceless relationships with friends and family
- good health
- warm community here and in the US
- meaningful work
- daily sunshine
- free time
- low-stress living
- the luxuries of the internet, email, and Skype
- an opportunity to travel South America
- Tim and I both working from/at home (surprisingly not something I love)
- doing dishes without a dishwasher and laundry/ironing without a dryer
- constant heat and humidity
- never-ending house cleaning
- living in a dirty environment (the town more than my house!)
- constant harrassment in public
- missing family, friends and stuff available in the US
Actually I think I dwell on the first list more, partly because of the stark contrast between life in Puerto Supe and life in Pucallpa. Perhaps I'm still in a honeymoon phase of sorts. I'm certainly feeling "tickled" (as David would say) by the joys of my new life in the jungle.
Nonetheless, there are a couple of things on that second list that I dwell on individually more than anything on the first list probably-- heat and housework. And is dwelling on them doing me any good? Not so much.
Here goes week 2 of the Great Contentment Challenge, retraining my brain to focus on list 1 and not list 2, to "forget" heat and housework (while not fleeing from them!) and remember to "count my blessings" instead.