A few years ago, I was driving to work and I was late. Anxious scenarios were playing in my mind, when I remembered that stress is costly. It releases chemicals in the body that an overabundance of over time, cause disease. So, for the umpteenth time, I tried to go a different direction and enjoy my drive.

What can I enjoy right now? I thought. There’s not a WHOLE lot going on. I was feeling too tired to listen to music. So as I rode along in the quiet, I noticed something. My teeth. By choosing to be present over swirling through my personal stress vortex, I happened to run my tongue over my front teeth and NOTICED how they felt. Clean! They were recently polished by the dentist,  brushed with an automatic brush, front ones flossed so I could FEEL my gaps — all clean. Wow! I love that feeling.

I smiled big and felt oober blessed. What a blessing to have money for an automatic toothbrush AND a new head so it can do its job! What a blessing to have time to brush my teeth and even floss a couple of them! (Which reminded me I was late, but I was not to be drug down.) What a blessing to have brilliant people who don’t mind being in people’s mouths, who can clean the parts I miss! What a blessing to feel fresh at the start of a day.

A day when I was late.

A day I would usually have felt frazzled, not fresh.

This was SUCH an improvement. Apparently, I like hunting for reasons to smile. When I uncover joy, I find it has a friend. Contentment. While enjoying what I have, I can’t clamor for something else. My counselor said it’s impossible to feel two feelings at the same moment. Sometimes we go back and forth so fast, it feels like it, but if we can hold our thoughts still on the thing we’re enjoying, we’ll feel content.

In Sanskrit, the word for complete contentment is Santosha. Say that a couple times. It feels like contentment in my mouth. If you could see it, I think it would look like jellyfish – mesmerizing in their movements through the water, lacy tendrils trailing behind. God promises peace that passes understanding and until that day, I didn’t understand how you could have peace when you were late. So I held the steering wheel and whispered, “Santosha,” because I was alive and free to be at peace.