“No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.” – Seneca
The external turmoil in the world today, especially with the need to shelter-in-place, provides the perfect opportunity to fortify your inner sanctuary. You may not have access to everything you want, but if you’ll allow it, you’ll find that here is more space and less distraction from the rat race.
When you’re used to everything and everyone vying for your attention in the busy world, the novel quiet can be strangely disquieting. Oddly enough, the initial reaction to less distraction is to frantically fill the void with alternative distractions. You might compulsively begin cleaning, exercising, eating, binge watching TV, surfing social media, or bemoaning the freedom you no longer have, but you’ve probably found these things to only have a limited, palliative effect on your discomfort.
Don’t despair. There is hope! You can find happiness and peace in the eye of the storm. The key, as Seneca so succinctly noted above, is to loosen your grip on the desire for that which you don’t have at the moment, and let go to a greater sense of appreciation for that which you do have right now. The greater sense of appreciation, in turn, will put you in a better mindset and as a result, you will be able to live more cheerfully.
This simple shift will expand your inner sanctuary and will allow you to make better decisions. Decisions shape the future and better decisions make a brighter, lighter future. What you and I decide today will likely change the way tomorrow unfolds. You see, no matter how bad things may be, we can always cultivate an inner state of good cheer. This isn’t a contrived, Pollyannaish, state of denial, but rather a deep and abiding unconcern for that which we do not have and a lustful, zesty appreciation for and engagement with that which we do have, here and now.
It may seem strange, but even the most confining of situations can be deeply fulfilling when you being to act from the inside out, rather than reflexively responding to externalities.