Yesterday I did something I used to love and never get to do anymore... while away a summery Sunday morning reading the Sunday Telegraph weekend newspaper cover to cover.
Who ever said contentment was complicated?
It was while partaking in this marvellous and much-missed task that I came upon social commentator Sam deBrito's column. This week was all about people who carefully select their friendship circle based on how each member fits together, sort of like flipping through an Ikea catalogue.
While I know people who do that, I thankfully don't - but I do suffer from a condition also mentioned in the column - that pesky little thing called "yearner" syndrome.
Sam described it as people who constantly think about "the green-grass yonder, looking for a better car, clothes or career". It's basically people who naturally want more than they have.
I think I am one of these people. While (for me) this does not mean I don't appreciate my life and all that is in it, I just always want more... consistently desirous and cursed with sky-scraping expectations, I'm forever planning my next improvement or move towards bigger and better things.
This really isn't a good thing.
It means that while you are exhaustively struggling to clutch onto a better future, you have no room left in your arms to hold onto what's actually happening in the present - which is the only life you have.
Because I've been aware of this all-too-common scourge for some time, I recently attempted a 12-month meditation course, designed to kick my flighty mind back into the power of 'now'.
My meditation teacher (whom I affectionally call Obi Wan) once told me "life is but a series of precious moments... be careful you don't drop them".
I found the ancient practice a thousand shades of torture at first - but through sheer desperation, persisted - and then finally uncovered a clear path to a quieter mind.
I wrote about my meditation experience in a recent issue of Yen Magazine; here is the article if you hold any interest: (Just click on the photo to enlarge it in a new window)
n.b. I find it impossible to write without humour, so this article is very 'tongue-in-cheek'. Whatever that means. I can't say I usually stick my tongue inside my cheek when I joke. Perhaps I shall try it - maybe my jokes will sound funnier.