Dec 3 2014

Laura McDonald,


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Addictions, Gratitude



Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.

When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

Lao Tzu


I was given an amazing gift recently when I headed out to try a new yoga class. It was one of those cold and grey rainy New York days and I almost bailed a few times on the eight block walk as my mind kept telling me I had more important things to do, and who needs to be out in this freezing mess, anyway? Fortunately, I soldiered on, knowing that inner peace, the mind-body connection, and giving back to ourselves doesn’t happen magically.

I arrived, placed my soggy Uggs in the shoe closet and claimed my spot on the shiny wooden floor, gazing around at the other students in the room. I unrolled my mat and tried to make myself comfortable while I begged the voices in my head to shut up. I’m here now, I thought, everything else can wait for a little while.

And then this incredibly spiritual teacher named Mary blew my mind. She wasn’t you’re typical magazine yogi-girl. She was somewhere around my age and soft and sexy and round. As she started speaking she closed her eyes and I could feel her searching within herself for just the right words. I was immediately drawn to her voice, her being, her aura. She started talking about: Contentment. She said, “We have it now– it’s this moment right now. It’s the concept that you don’t have it that we need to let go of. Slowing down, moving imperceptibly– aligning awareness with the present moment- when you’re not contented with what you have, you would not be contented with what you would LIKE to have, what you think you SHOULD have, what you think is MISSING.” And I thought, am I content? Is contentment a natural state or is this something else I have to work at? Are some people born with a stronger, innate “contentment” gene? Are they the lucky ones while the rest of us struggle to find contentment within ourselves? Our lives?

I had a full on aha moment. Being content with what we have, being content with who we are, being content with where we are, right this moment.

Contentment is defined as “a state of happiness and satisfaction”.

I’d like to think I’m basically content with my place in this world and I firmly believe that everything in my life, the good, the bad, the boring and the amazing, have all lead me right to this very moment in time, sitting here typing these words. Of course we can find a type of contentment through self-fulfillment, but the idea of finding contentment through self-actualization has created a profound shift within me. Accepting my current state in life and being grateful for that contentment is helping me scrap away another layer of fear, of doubt, of worrying about there being something better out there that I’m missing.

The reality is we live in a stressed out, gotta have it, gotta know it, gotta feel it NOW world and things could always be worse, right? Sliver linings rock and I don’t know about you, but when I look for them, appreciate them and have gratitude (instead of sliding into the dark, murky crap that can easily lull me into despair) my moment-to-moment existence is smoother, calmer and less stressful. Having gratitude, being content with who I am, what and where I am is key to living a more meaningful life.

I want to make a big yummy cake full of love, peace, gratitude and contentment! I’m grateful for my fingers and toes and my mind. I’m grateful for my family, my voice, my body still reasonably limber and healthy as I get older. I’m grateful for the wind in the trees and the sun in the sky. I’m grateful I trekked on in the rain to a yoga class even though my mind put up a fight. I’m grateful that Mary was there, closing her eyes and opening my mind to the concept of contentment.


I’ve been going back to Mary’s class whenever I have the chance. There’s never any doubt on my way and I always leave feeling…content.

Laura McDonald is a busy mother of three, a musician, writer, foodie, an ACE certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Health Coach in NYC. She is a contributor and top wellness expert on health and wellness sites such as MindBodyGreen and the Well-Being Network. She loves training her clients and groups outdoors, writing rock songs, working on her yoga skills and creating recipes full of love. Laura is on a mission to help busy men and women of all ages create a leaner, healthier, happier life.

Follow on Twitter: @LauraFitLife