01 December 2015

Santosha

This past weekend I challenged myself to a two-hour yoga workshop on arm balancing and inversions.  There are certain poses that I am determined to master though they have many times eluded me.  At the end of this practice (and many failed attempts at some pretty amazing poses) we lay in shavasna and our teacher touched on the pillar Santosha or Contentment. 

Santosha can be defined as "Find true joy and happiness in where you are regardless of any external circumstances or challenges, and become fully accountable (and thus empowered) for where you are in your life. If you practice gratitude for what you have and embrace each moment exactly the way it is, than you will stop wishing things were different than the way they are, and you will be content."


In relation to the practice, Nena used the example of being content in the moments of trying to achieve these arm balances or really any poses that we were working towards.  It wasn't necessarily in the moment of actually holding that pose that we would feel this contentment but through the practice itself. That we shouldn't limit ourselves to not working on things or not attempting certain classes just because we feel nervous.  In other words, it is the journey itself that brings us contentment not arriving at the final destination.  That in trying we fail and learn or we learn and grow.  That feeling lost or feeling frustration is part of that path.  As I said in an earlier post, sometimes it isn't easy but we have to "feel the feelings". Success is in the attempt, not in the achievement.


Being grateful in the moment is probably one of the hardest things to achieve.  It is so easy to get caught up in the moment.  There is a class that I rarely attend (ok i did it only once) and I am daunted by it because I get frustrated when I can't do what everyone else is doing.  So I avoid it.  Though after laying there listening about the journey, I realize that if cease to challenge myself for fear of failure I will in fact never get stronger.  I will never achieve what i desire to if I never take the steps to try.  It's like getting through difficult times - if we ignore it then we are never going to get through it.  In a way it's like learning to open your heart to someone again - love must eventually trump fear. The journey through difficult times and towards contentment is just that - an actual journey that we must endure. 


The grief journey is so different for everyone.  It feels like the most difficult thing of losing someone in your life is not the actual goodbye - the hardest thing is learning to live without them.  You don't ever get over losing them but rather you just tuck them into a nice comfy corner of that broken heart and keep living.  Because it is something so different for each of us, grief is a path that you walk alone.  Don't get me wrong, others can and should be there along the way to listen or give support but getting through it a solo mission.  It's your own path to be walked at your own pace.  There may be a time that you walk that path in a complete fog without recognition of who is there or even who wants to be there.   There were days following my fathers funeral where I literally sat in front of my computer and stared at the screen not knowing where to begin. I would lay in yoga and sometimes just cry hoping that the sweat masked the tears. Thank God for my journal as it was my saving grace. 
For me, I know I need to process it myself but there definitely are times that I would just like someone sitting next to me watching a movie or holding my hand while my head spins in circles! I don't need someone to find the solution, but it would feel nice to have someone there in quiet support.


Grief is not linear.  Grief is a god damn zig zag across your heart.  There are good days and there are bad moments.  There are those times that you pick up the phone to call your dad and realize that it just says "Mom" in your phone now.  When I eat something that he would love, my heart hurts a little knowing I can't share that with him.  As I attempt (miserably) to hang a mirror in my apartment or put lights on the Christmas tree, I realize just how much I want my dad. And all of that is ok. 


Again I think the biggest thing I have learned and continue to recognize is that all of our paths are so different.  Some of us will be completely debilitated and that is ok.  Some people I'm sure look at me trying to find gratitude in all of this and think I'm in total denial
Some people want to sleep forever.  Or conversely I couldn't sleep at all.  I still can't fall asleep without putting something on my iPad next to me to drown out the thoughts in my head. It doesn't feel like grief at those times but it just feels like this weight on my chest that may eventually cause my heart to combust It is in those moments when I just crave having some laying next to meI want that comfort to touch my foot against someone's leg or lay my head on someone's chest. To have someone smooth my hair or run their fingers along my arm until we fall asleep.  I'm awake by 4am most days so thank god for 6am yoga class as reprieve from my scattered musings.  I've rekindled my love affair with coffee though I think we need to break up again so I bring lemon-water back into my life. 



This quote included above spoke to me today.  Some days my mornings awake before the rest of the world are filled with Pinterest and secret boards of quotes just for me.  Words heal me.  And these were some that found their way into my heart today.  Maybe grief really is love with no place to go.  Maybe we should actually be happy in feeling grief because we were lucky enough to have something or someone so amazing to lose.  That the more love we shared with someone the more we will miss them but conversely the more grateful we should be for that love.  It's a weird feeling sometimes when my heart feels so empty missing him and at the same time feels so full of love.  I guess the only thing to do is keep moving forward - the journey towards anything begins with a single step.  Some mornings that may be all we have is a single step forward.  So that is all I can do - keep my heart open and loving, try to find gratitude in something every day and accept that this journey is a path of ups and downs so try to be present in each momentTake the focus off of the ultimate destination because that may in fact change as we doWe will be ok, even if we don't feel ok all of the time.  

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