"Today I enter hospital again for another blood transfusion. I have been getting transfusions on a regular three-week cycle since the end of my nine month chemo treatment, but because my bone marrow has stopped functioning, I needed to attend again after one and a half weeks following my last transfusion. I must report however, that apart from feeling tired, I have had a wonderful Valentine's weekend and remain overall in a contented frame of mind. When I get too tired, I simply rest and my darling wife Sheila places her head on my shoulder and the world feels good once more.
'Contentment' is that precious thing which lives and can only be found in the beauty of the moment. Once you have it, no trick of lighting nor the brush of any artist will ever be able to disguise its presence in you. It is as though you've discovered the secret of life; namely that the world is yours for the asking, so why try to conquer it?
Although contentment is prone to be influenced by external conditions, it is an internal attittude that can be cultivated whatever our circumstances. In my earlier life, a good book, a garden of flowers and a good woman beside me was all I ever needed to be content and it was only when any part of these things no longer pleased me that I changed them. It was only in later years after I'd altered my view on life and my purpose in the world that I changed my philosophy on how best to become more content with self and all around me. I learned that 'contentment' hides itself away from one's life until a place of peace and acceptance is found in the present moment. Happy is happy with or without the ever after; only the present matters.
One day, I found myself queuing in a busy self service cafe on the M1 motorway where everyone seemed to be pushing and shoving their way along the line in a state of anxious impatience. It was at that precise moment that I stopped taking life too seriously all the time, in the belief that if I didn't, I'd never get out alive. Before I'd reached the end of the queue, I'd noticed that everyone in it was peering over shoulders; essentially wanting a bit of what the other chap in front had on his plate. It is a strange facet of mankind's character that we invariably want what others have and we don't.
I left the queue and I am pleased to say that I never rejoined it. I gradually learned to like what I had upon my plate and eventually came to believe that prosperity and satisfaction depended more on wanting what I had than having what I wanted. In time I grew to to be more content whatever the weather or season and learned when it rained to let it rain and enjoy the experience. I discovered the simple truth that often a person is happiest when they choose to be happy. I learned that there is no point in not feeling good about good things in life and that life is something that happens when you are not asleep to all around; so wake up and smell the coffee before it's too late and the day has passed you by and your last sleep beckons.
I learned that life always runs smoother when we work with the grain and this maxim holds no less truth, whether it be human nature or a lump of wood we seek to fashion. If we allow our true self to lead the way, we will be able to allow the best of our traits and character strengths to triumph over abilities we may not have. After all, we each play better the instruments we do possess than those we've never held.
As contentment becomes a greater part of our daily lives, we gradually grow to know that to have enough is to be rich beyond measure and to accept that the richest person in the world is not the person who has the most, but instead the one who needs the least; for they are the one who will hunger last.
I found true contentment from accepting that the loving parts of our body have no trouble loving; for that is all they were designed to do. There is no need to chase after the happiness that is always at your heels. Come to believe in the very goodness of yourself, because happiness and contentment lie within the very shadow and substance of your being. Accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be; knowing that 'yours' is only what you have with you at any moment in time; no more and no less. Bye for now as I'm off out for a few more pints." William Forde: February 18th, 2015.