Tag Archives: Santosha

Living contentment is much easier than seeking happiness.

Lessons in Santosha

My natural inclination all my life has been to hit the ground running. Our ever-moving culture rewards us for how much we do, how hard we work, how little we sleep and how many items we can check off our daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, mental “to do” lists. It seems if we can commiserate it somehow makes this way of being acceptable even admirable. Some folks measure virtue and goodness around how many activities can be packed in a day.

The Sanskrit word for contentment is Santosha. Practicing yoga and connecting with the breath every day has enabled me to find more within my life. The slow shift from “doing” to “being” is nothing short of a miracle. Trying to align my thoughts with who I am vs. what I do, after years of conditioning is a very new way of being which I am learning to love.

Over the spring and summer I had the privilege of an extended visit from my middle daughter Kaci. She stayed at our home for most of her first pregnancy while her husband was deployed to Afghanistan. Focusing on the here and now Kaci lived her life in the moment stringing together days, weeks, finally, months. She disciplined her mind to release all in her life she couldn’t control.

Watching her was beautiful and poignant. She, her younger sister and I spent many days together touching and photographing her growing belly. Hunting and gathering items to be sent in overseas packages became a science, what would parish, what was necessary, what was special and what was fun. Her soldier received gifts filled with her heart. He received a 3-d glimpse of his baby in her womb via high-tech images transferred from computer to paper, mundane yet so important socks, underwear and toiletries, sweet personal touches shared just between the two them, and countless other items. Her days were productive and meaningful. Conversations were positive and hopeful. The example she set was a lesson in choosing thoughts and behaviors making the most of the now. Kaci’s daily mantra was that of many military wives “No news is good news, all is well.” Thankfully my son-in-law arrived home healthy and whole two and a half weeks before the birth of their son born on 11/25/13. On a recent visit to their home, I watched a lovely new family finding joy moment to moment.

Although I have one of those busy daily agendas, today I chose to embrace the simple yet essential moments before and after the tasks at hand. This morning I tasted my coffee, I gazed out my bedroom window watched the sky grow from dark to light. Breathing deeply, I said “thank you’. I already had a wonderful conversation with my eldest daughter Kara. The rest of the day will be filled with meetings, clients and the last regularly scheduled public class I will teach at my studio. “All will be well.” I plan to love my man, call my mom, laugh with my youngest daughter, Dani, and dance. These are the moments that count. No need to compare, compete or complain to myself or with others. Thank you Kaci.

Alice’s Remix

Eat good food!
A fun photo!

Two things came up this week with family, friends and colleagues. Balance was one, the other gratitude. The notion of an actual gratitude list was mentioned to me both in a yoga training and by a friend.

My mom bought me a book for Christmas in 1999, called Simple Abundance. I have been practicing a gratitude list on a regular basis since then. This got me to thinking. I have been consciously seeking to find that which is meaningful for most of my life. What I offer here is nothing new. Sacred Scripture, recovery books, yogis, gurus, Sages, therapists, and inspirational authors have written these suggestions. Here is what I have discovered works for me. I try to adhere to all of this with progress, not perfection in mind.

Alice’s Remix To Achieve Santosha ( Santosha is the Sanskrit word for contentment, I am learning Sanskrit at a grindingly slow pace. See # 22)

1. Make a gratitude list daily. Add prayer and meditation, or quiet time when ready.

2. Love is a verb. Offer it by words and deeds to my family, friends, and dogs, as often as possible.

3. Eat well, drink water, rest, sleep, exercise, practice yoga, breathe.

4. Find beauty in nature every day.

5, Respect and honor everyone’s journey. We don’t know what we don’t know, about other’s lives.

6. Make new mistakes. ( Thanks Karl!)

7. Learn a new skill.

8. Find a passion-in work or play.

9. Offer compassion instead of advice.

10. Listen, really listen, to others.

11. Identifty instead of comparing, comparison leads to competition, in life the winner is contentment.

12. Eat chocolate.

13. Remember from where you, came be grateful for it, move forward if it was challenging.

14. Live in the moment with the long view in mind.

15. Respond instead of reacting. (I forget this one sometimes)

16. Laugh often.

17. Find inner peace in whatever way is meaningful, scripture, prayer, meditation, service, nature.

18. Offer a sincere compliment or smile, it costs nothing and it may make someone’s day.

19. Love.

20. Be okay with being kind instead of right. Practice this.

21. Try to spend quantities of quality time with loved-ones.

22. Learn a new skill and use it.

23. Be open and honest.

24. Look for the best part of every situation, learn from it.

25. Offer service whenever possible, it will help the recipient as well as the giver.

26. Lead by example.

25. All religions in the end say this” Be good, do good.” ( Thanks Sandi!)