A Season of Santosha

Holidays are both amazing and exhausting.  Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Feelings of nostalgia warm the heart. Holiday songs take you back to when you were a child, they never get old, and they still make us smile.

Yes, the hustle and bustle of the giving season may take a toll on us, long lines at the mall, trying so hard to get your kid a toy that sold out in August (now paying 500 on ebay for it) can be draining…

But even worse can be the days leading up to the holidays.

Anxious, stressful, and even dreadful thoughts start to flood our minds about the impending Christmas Eve family dinner, and Christmas Day festivities. But why? It’s Christmas time? What questions am I going to be asked this year? Typically, it’s “How is your job going”? “What else are you planning to do with your career? “What are your goals?”  Maybe the question of “When are you going to have kids?” Most of the time it’s just small talk. Questions people feel they are obliged to ask you whether they care or not.

But instead of going into the family gathering or holiday party with what you are going to answer people, and then just enjoy your time and not getting annoyed by it. Instead, we start to question ourselves and our place in life. We are hard ourselves. We may feel a bit sorry for ourselves. All before we have even been asked ANYTHING!

You wonder why you feel like you have so much ground to cover. Right? We begin to feel like we should be at a different place in our lives. Your 30 years old and your doing what?

Probably because we are raised in a society that is results-based, materialistic, and at times not at all concerned with the reality of one’s soul. Whenever I would be introduced to people one of my first questions on my mind was Where do you work?  But now, I ask questions more like “What do you like doing? What’s happening in your world currently? Are you enjoying yourself these days? Why, because people are people. Not machines. People feel good when you ask them how they are feeling as a person. Not what there job is. Try it.

But sometimes answering these standard questions during the holidays never result in simple answers. Add a couple cocktails into the mix and you may find yourself venting, and trying to find answers to questions that are completely stressing you out. A question about your job, can end up turning into talk about your 401k and other investments, that you have no clue about making you feel even worse about where you are in life. Questions about your relationship, or why you are not in a relationship can wreak just as much havoc.

Relax. Your OK.

Where you are today, is exactly where you need to be.

So I will add a little yoga to add in here to make sense of this all and try to help.

There is a book called the Yoga Sutras which is kinda like a blueprint for ethical living. In the Yoga Sutras, eight limbs are described as a way of living a yogic path. The second of these eight limbs are the five Niyamas, or the observances of a spiritual life. On that list? Santosha Niyama, or contentment. Our willingness to be present with whatever life brings.

Contentment is the difference between one who is constantly searching and one who is consistently there.

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You need to understand that contentment does not rely on questions. Contentment relies on presence and responsibility. Contentment is gratitude, the ability to believe that things could be worse and things are getting better at the same time. Contentment is going to your Christmas party and answering the exterior questions with interior truth.

Start to challenge your contentment. I will be. Looking for new opportunities, meeting new people, learning how to adjust to my daily schedule, achieving rest and balance. A laundry list, for sure. But may I be grateful and content, filled with the Niyama of what is. May all beings be unburdened, unbound, and forever present in all things. For that is Santosha. That is peace and prosperity. That is what is.

Observe what you have and be satisfied with it.

Merry Christmas,

Andrea

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