2013 Wellness Challenge Weeks 34 & 35: Practicing Contentment and Patience
Over the course of the past two weeks I’ve had plenty of opportunities to practice contentment and patience. Finding a new place to live requires plenty of patience and enough sacrifice that contentment becomes necessary for long-term happiness.
Building a business and launching programs require a great deal of patience and plenty of contentment. Same goes for relationships
In yoga philosophy, contentment, known as santosha in Sanskrit, is one of the niyamas, or behavioral principles practiced in the Classical tradition. (This is one of the more prevalent traditions influencing Western yoga practice as we know it today.)
I personally notice how often and how easy it is to complain about what I don’t have, to dwell on what goes wrong and to generally surround myself with negatively charged energy, simply out of habit.
In fact, we’ve all heard the phrase “misery loves company” and most of us find it easy to converse and connect with others, especially strangers, about the things in the world that are wrong. This “negative” connection makes us feel closer – like we’re kindred spirits with the same beliefs, worries and grievances.
But the opposite is true as well. There is nothing more inspiring than meeting someone who is refreshingly positive, who thinks the same way you do and has similar hopes and dreams for helping others and making the world a better place.
It’s a subtle shift – the moment you notice yourself falling into negativity, consider contentment for what you already have as an alternative option. On an energetic level, you’ll feel lighter and happiness is more likely to pervade your entire being for longer.
Contentment and gratitude have a lot in common. Practicing contentment is the act of becoming aware of what it is you have and gratitude is appreciating – savoring – abundance.
How Contentment and Patience Relate
Sometimes, practicing contentment can be especially hard for impatient souls like myself. We’re quick to fall into old patterns because we’re not wiling to allow space and time for new ways of being to unfold.
In the yoga world, you’ll often hear phrases such as “let go,” “go with the flow,” everything will be okay,” and “trust the process.” Inspiring on an intellectual level yes, but sometimes utterly confusing and frustrating in practice.
Trusting the process can take years. Oftentimes you have little control over the results. In a beautiful moment of paradox, yoga asks us to reclaim control over our minds while simultaneously releasing control of our fate to the universe. It’s a balance that takes plenty of contentment and patience.
The Ladder Evolution
It has occurred to me over the past month or so that the Internet offers an interesting twist to the modern-day career path. I’ve always known this, but it’s become clearer and clearer more recently.
From the beginning of time, whether it was through a traditional yoga student/teacher relationship, a vocational apprenticeship or today’s climb of the corporate ladder, there will always be dues to pay. The dawning of the Internet has removed many of the beaurecratic obstacles to “rise to the top” of any given field.
With that said, the dues must still be paid, but in different ways. And this is where I must humbly bow to contentment and patience. Yes, the Internet can take me far and provide for me a lifestyle and income that gives me freedom, purpose and meaning; however, it will not happen overnight and there is always much to learn.
Yes, teaching yoga can feed my soul. But this ever-evolving, complex practice requires years of study and practice to master and even more dedication to teach at the higest levels. It would be foolish to think the necessary, juicy, sometimes painful, learning process can be bypassed and skipped.
The Nourish Your Soul Movement
In today’s fast-paced society we favor quick, convenient and now. We’ve lost an appreciation for the burn required to learn. We’ve lost sight of the importance and necessity of process. We’ve become caught up in the race to win. We’ve lost sight of the present moment.
Today marks the first day of a new cleanse program I’m starting. My intention for the program is to nourish my soul. It’s apparent that this is a larger guiding light for my life and I invite you to ponder how it can apply to yours as well. How can you make choices in your daily life that will nourish your soul? When we nourish our soul, we immediately live more in the present moment. We immediately turn off the striving for fast and convenient and instead trust our intuitive selves.
Sometimes the activities and choices that nourish our soul are the slower routes to stardom. Often, these are the paths less traveled. And most of the time, they are the most beautiful, most rewarding and most meaningful.
Did you like this rumination? Please email this article to a friend who’s feeling down today. She’ll appreciate the suggestions to step back and practice gratitude and patience.
Livin’ Like A Yogini, my new four-week online program on self-care, healing and nourishing the soul, starts Tuesday, September 17. Enroll today to reserve your spot!
Image credit: Henry M. Diaz
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