A Gift of Comfort

Right before my birthday last week I thought about what I wanted. What would I wish for in terms of soul-satisfying gifts? I have, truth be told, all the stuff a girl could want, so when a birthday rolls around I like to look at the spiritual bounty in my life and focus on one aspect that I want to highlight. It can be as simple as how it doesn’t take much to make me feel content.

Comfort is a wonderful gift to give myself.

It can be the brush of my cat, Kali, against my leg under the desk as I struggle to wring a complete and meaningful sentence out of my brain. It can be my husband volunteering to take my place in some long line to wait for “whatever” while I go back to the car and read in comfort. It can be the decadent ease of my bed and pillow as I indulge in a delicious afternoon nap.

As I’ve aged, comfort is knowing I have a circle of friends and family who care about and are at least somewhat interested in me. It’s savoring each day as a weekend day because I no longer have to report to anyone but myself for work.

Practices to expand comfort

In return, I never take the gift of comfort for granted. I acknowledge and celebrate the bounty in my life, which makes it possible to focus on the inner work of soul searching and appreciating all areas of contentedness around me. Over the years, I’ve developed a series of practices to expand comfort in my life.

  1. I simply un-follow those people who so easily annoy me on Facebook and Twitter. Life’s too short to waste time with petty behavior in others.
  2. Once a month I withdraw from all electronics — I call it my “no tech” day — which reminds me I can find pleasure and contentedness in the simplicity of reading a book, communing in nature, or spending time with friends.
  3. Instead of eating based on some schedule — oh, it’s noon; gotta grab lunch! — I wait until my body signals that it’s time to add some fuel. Don’t get me wrong; this is an ongoing practice I have yet to master.
  4. At least once a week I chant the Gayatri mantra. Here is the link to the one I use. Doing this enhances my meditation practice and helps me be in the now.
  5. I reach out to friends, who provide a huge bolster of comfort. I don’t mind going solo, however, when those around me are stuck in the negativity of life.
  6. I practice forgiveness, which immediately provides me with a greater sense of contentedness. Not forgiving makes me retain tension, and that stress blocks comfort.

Many more practices

These are just six small ways I focus on comfort. Note that none of them costs a dime, and I’m sure there are six million more. If my six “go-to” practices fail, I follow the lead of my beloved cat, Kali, who is a huge teacher in the art of creating tranquility. As I watch her nap, soaking up the sun at the edge of the living room, I am reminded to just slow down and savor the relaxing times.

What comforts you and your soul as you have gotten older?