Contentment is a tough one for a lot of people, myself included. In yoga class we talk about Santosha, aka Samtosa, part of the internal disciplines and observations known as Niyamas. This morning on my drive back from teaching Dance I heard a story on the news about how we humans are often upset when we are given something for free and then all of a sudden we are required to pay for it, like paying a baggage fee when flying, we did not always have to pay that fee, and we often are resentful of the change. It is sometimes disturbing to our psyche and nervous system when changes occur. If we practice Contentment, perhaps we will not be so shaken when a change is upon us. Perhaps if we practice Contentment, we can more easily honor the truth another speaks without being so jarred in our own bodies and minds. Perhaps, if we practice Contentment, we can find greater peace with “what is”. Oh the surrender to what is…can we come to a place where the weight feels lighter?
This week, the weight of my responsibilities was feeling great. I have had to shift my focus to allow for a more organized sense of time management. Organization is not my artful gift. I have taken on new responsibilities and have watched other responsibilities suffer. How can I show up to others in my work when I myself have not cared for my own home, my space, my family, my own basic needs? It means finding contentment in prioritizing even if others are disappointed that I can’t give them my time and energy. It means finding contentment downsizing in some aspects of my social life that are not serving me well.
When a massage client asks me: “When should I come back in” for another appointment, or “how often should I come in?” I often respond:
There is a magical formula equation for all of us. “Time, Money, and Energy” The balance of those three entities is different and very personal for each of us.
How much time do you have to be on the table, do you have the money and is the work of value to you at this time, do you have the energy to receive and process the work?
I believe this is a functional equation when it comes to how thin we can spread ourselves in all aspects of life and in relation to how we can show up for others. This is not a question of fear of scarcity. This is a real thing.
Can we be content with how we are managing our time, money, and energy? Can others be content when we must manage our life responsibilities? In my experience, no one particularly enjoys being told “No” regardless of how kind and gently you deliver it. Can you find contentment in your practice of communicating in Truth, Satya, even when what you have to say is not well received? The practice of Pratyahara, gaining mastery over external influences, prepares us to breath through and continue on during the more trying times. We can more greatly master the rhythm and speed of our heart rate, our breath intake, and ultimately our nervous system responses to stressful situations.
Which brings us back to “when others need to learn contentment”. Whew. The answer is: That is their journey, their stuff. Only you are responsible for you. Only you can regulate your nervous system. Let your yes be yes, Let your no be no. Peace is always available within. Find Contentment with what is. Find your balance. You can only balance for yourself. When you feel like you are balanced and have the energy, and time, and the effort is valuable, when all things feel right, then you can reformulate your formula. Life is an ever changing ebb and flow. Be Content.
Pantanjali says: “As a result of contentment, one gains supreme joy.” That’s what I want. I want Supreme Joy.
He goes on to say, “ Contentment means just to be as we are without going to outside things for our happiness…if something comes, we let it come. If not, it doesn’t matter.”
Crista de la Garza
Massage therapist, yogi, dancer, artist