3 Things The Irish Have Taught Me About Contentment
See my St. Patrick's Day Playlist Below
They say that everybody is a little Irish on St, Patrick’s Day. And why not? The Irish have a lot to teach us about living to the fullest.
Here are a few of their best lessons that I have embraced in my 60 years of experience.
1. Life Is A Journey
It’s good to find your purpose in life and set goals to achieve it.
There’s also something to be said about the journey on the way. Simply put, the path is often more important than the destination.
Few roads travel as the crow flies. We encounter curves, hills, valleys, crowded byways, remote deserts. We may have to navigate around obstacles or even turn back from them. The trek may be frustrating, even discouraging if you focus only on where you’re headed.
But how many times have you taken a side road only to discover a beautiful waterfall you would have otherwise missed? Or a little diner with the friendliest staff around? A mountain scene of heavenly grandeur?
What beauty lies along the path you’re walking? Have you noticed? What lessons do your experiences teach you? What vistas do they show you?
Even if you face challenges on the road, remember that all great journeys are uphill.
2. Nature Heals The Soul
The journey of life can be long and hard. When it gets you down, one simple tip may help tremendously: Get outside!
Much of contemporary life is spent indoors, maybe at a desk, maybe at a cash register or computer. So much of today’s mind-numbing leisure involves electronic gaming and streaming movies. COVID-related quarantines have trapped us inside that much more.
The outcome? Life lived in shadow, breathing stale air, looking at the same old walls, sharing close quarters endlessly with others.
Take a strep outside. Even 10 minutes on your front porch. Breathe in deeply the fresh air. Get a healthy dose of Vitamin D from Brother Sun. Notice how rejuvenated you feel, reawakened, the gathering rest of Mother Nature’s organic peace.
My favorite places in all the world are outside. A waterfall I hiked to in Yellowstone. The sunset beaches of Presque Isle on Lake Erie. But a simple walk in the local park or just around the block can be enough to clear the mind and revitalize the spirit.
3. There Are Thin Places (and Times)
The Celts like to say that heaven and earth are only three feet apart. In thin places, the two come even closer. Thin places turn our eyes inwardly to our authentic, spirit selves, and remind us that there is more to our world than what we physically see.
In thin places we sense the “other” and the connectedness of all things. Caught up in a reality bigger than ourselves, even momentarily, we experience the peace that passes understanding, realize a new sense of purpose, and find hope again.
The Celts had such places as the Isle of Iona and the Cliffs of Moher. Your thin places may be a forest glade, a nearby creek or lake, a mountain cabin, or a sand dune on a beach at night. Wherever it is, there you find yourself. You may even hear the whispers of God.
I also have found thin times in my life – moments and days that mean more than the passing of the hours. Thanksgiving embraces me in grateful bonds of friends and family. I am mesmerized at Christmas by the wonder of Incarnation, Divinity revealing itself in humanity. Yes, St. Patrick’s Day unveils my connection to the homeland of my ancestors, to its people, to its spiritual heart.
Could it be for you a different holiday, your or another’s birthday, a day or hour that has rich meaning only to you? Whenever that may be, treasure its presence and enjoy the dimensions it gives to an otherwise ordinary day.
St. Patrick’s Day comes and goes every year. The wisdom of our Irish ancestors are for always, and can enrich us beyond measure.
My St. Patrick's Day Playlist: