Smile with Your Eyes

I’m having one of those moments right now where all I can do is sit quietly and think. For those of you who don’t know me you might not know that this is a fairly common occurrence, but for those that do you can probably image the look on my face right now. The fact of the matter is that I’m content. What does that mean? Good question. If you keep reading you’re probably going to encounter my attempt to understand.

To set the scene I want to give you an idea of where I am right now (of course, I won’t be here when you read this, but you get the point I hope). I’m currently in the sky. I’m in a plane. I’m on an Air Canada flight somewhere between Moncton and Toronto. I should also mention where I’ve been. I’ve been to Charlottetown, PEI; Cavendish, PEI; Moncton, NB; Sackville, NB and Halifax, NS all in the last 48 hours. The idea that I’ve covered three provinces in the last 24 hours is pretty amazing to me.

Now, back to my distinctly ‘Adam’ question. What does it mean when I say that I’m content? Well, at the moment it means that I’m sitting in my airplane seat listening to music and writing this article. It also means that I’m wearing a semi-bemused expression on my face as I try to figure out why I have been moved to write this all down. Everything seems to cooperating with my plan to write. The rhythm of my fingers on the iPad keys (cue the Apple commercial) is giving a certain flow to my thoughts and for the moment I haven’t talked myself out of the need to write. All of these things are important but the key to all of this is that I’m smiling with my eyes. Okay, okay, before you roll your eyes or make snarky posts about how over the top that sounds just consider the thought as if it wasn’t a ridiculous phrase. What I’m attempting to zero in on is a sense of what it actually means to be quietly content. I don’t do this because of a desire to convince you that my life is great. My intention is to recognize a moment, a feeling–a damn good thing, for what it is. So often we take these quiet moments of satisfaction for granted but I want to make sure that I give this one its due.

On my way to the East Coast I finished reading a book by Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie; The Five People You Meet in Heaven) called For One More Day. In typical Albom style the book is clear, concise and direct but also captivating, profound and reflective. In his novel, Albom captures the little things–the people, places and moments that the rest of us take for granted. He reminds us to recognize the great profundities that can be found in the most normal of circumstances. When I read Albom’s work I am constantly reminded of the fact that the greatest of joys can come from recognizing a brilliant moment of seeming insignificance.

So, in this moment, as I sit here with a half smile on my face and a smile in my eyes I realize that, at the present time, being content means being engaged with my own thoughts. It means that I’m aware and able to recognize that there are incredible people in my life. Contentment, in this case, means that people are what have and will continue to sustain me as I look back, live today and move on tomorrow. It means recognizing that my experiences are worth noting because they are important and that my experience as a human being is worth thinking about. It means that I’m able to walk into a room with my head held high because there are people that respect me. It also means that I’m thinking about how to work with those whose respect I need to earn. Overall, this moment of contentment is about noting it, appreciating it and making sure not to dismiss it. There is a lot going on in our world to distract us from the little things, but I still think that they’re worth appreciating. Think about it, slow down for a minute and don’t worry about what comes next. Maybe, just maybe the here and now is just as important as what has happened and what is yet to come.

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