Embracing the Santosha Lifestyle
San the what? Santosha. It's a yoga practice meaning complete acceptance. Contentment. Satisfaction. It's a beautiful concept. I am embracing my life this way. Santosha is accepting both the positive + the negative from a place of peace. It's one thing to say, I love my hair, BUT I'm way too skinny. To practice santosha, I would say, I love my hair, AND I am too skinny. I love having kids AND they drive me crazy sometimes. I talk a lot about being happy, and there can be a misconception that we must always be happy. In order to know what it means to feel good we must also experience feeling bad. And when something feels bad, it's okay. You don't have to turn it into a positive. You don't have to lie and tell yourself that 'your kids are so good all the time and they never fight'. Santosha is living life by way of peaceful acceptance + happiness.
WHAT IS SANTOSHA
Santosha is contentment, but it goes a lot deeper. I find it's best to describe contentment by stating what it is not, and then you can come full circle to what contentment really is. Contentment is not consolation. It is not 'just accepting the way things are'. That so-called fate, or karma. Consolation brings on disappointment. It brings resentment, fear, doubt, uncertainty. Consolation is acceptance from a place of lack.
Contentment, on the other hand, is acceptance from a place of satisfaction. It comes from putting forth your full effort. Contentment happens when you are fully engaged + devoted to what you are doing, and accepting any outcome. When you put forth your full effort, it doesn't matter so much if the outcome isn't what you were hoping for. You can be satisfied with a good or a bad outcome because you gave it your best. That is where our happiness comes from.
Santosha is being mindful to be content with whatever the outcome may be.
WHY SANTOSHA IS AWESOME
Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind when I think about the why is finding your purpose. I seem to have fallen into this trap since last summer. I was searching for my purpose, my what. I can understand that we are here because God put us here, and I can leave that at that. But, I have felt this need to do something, to give my contribution to the world. Really, the only thing I need to do is to put forth my full effort and accept the outcome as it comes.
We only need to be who we are. Just be yourself. Deepak Chopra says this over + over. I was always the one to question, 'Who am I?' Now I can answer. I am me. I am a mother. I am a wife. That gives me plenty to start with. If I can but serve my family the way I would like to serve my clients, surely my outcome will be great. That is why I choose to live the santosha way.
The cool thing is that santosha goes hand in hand with it doesn't get better than this (Remember the email I sent out where I talked about that? If you're not on the list, sign up!) No matter what you do, just be yourself. You can show up as you in any profession. Be confident in your own shoes. Stand tall on your own feet.
Santosha is awesome because you learn to appreciate both the good + the bad in every situation; you did your best. In doing so, you will be more relaxed + peaceful. You will be more independent. You will experience freedom from the wants + desires that seem to consume our lives.
SO HOW DO I SANTOSHA
You can choose to live the santosha way. You can do this at work and in your relationships. The important thing is to do YOUR work. It is better to do your work, even if you don't get the results you are hoping for, than to do someone else's work. It is like accepting your lot, and going forward with full effort.
When you are left with results that you don't like, don't try to kid yourself that you like them. That is consolation. Remember to seek contentment over consolation. Ask yourself if you gave it your best effort. Be curious. What could you do differently to get better results? Is what you are striving for aligned with your values?
Do not wait for growth to happen before you can do better. You cannot grow without trying. Give your best full effort in every situation. I want to give you an example of how I do this at home. Sometimes my kids seem too demanding of my attention. I love kids. I wanted to be a mother so badly, and I am so thankful for my children. But still, there are days when I would rather they left me alone.
Instead of saying, 'It's just my nature, I need alone time.' I can really look at my role as a mother. It's almost guaranteed that every time my kids are a bother to me, it's because I'm not giving my full effort to be the mom that I want to be. I can be a great mom and have those off days. Those days are reminders to check what I am spending my time doing. I can be content with those days knowing that everything is okay because I can once again parent from a place of giving it my all. Besides, when I do give them more, they always give me more space. Does that resonate with you?
Here's a simpler example: I made gluten-free banana bread but it was too crumbly. That statement can bring on more negative thoughts. Instead, swap out the but for and, and learn from the negative. I made gluten-free banana bread and it was really crumbly so I'm going to try a different flour next time.
You let go of the outcome. Don't tell yourself you aren't going to read to your child because of some previous outcome. Choose to spend time with your child because you want to experience contentment, knowing that you did your best. Choose to try the recipe again because you want to see if you can make it a little better.
To practice santosha, be content before you even start, and try your best.
MOVING FORWARD WITH SANTOSHA
Pay attention to your life. Notice the positive + the negative. Accept this and that. Be independent. Do not wait on the weather. Do not wait on other people. Do not wait for a certain job. Do not wait for 'success'. Living the santosha way allows you to grow immediately. Remember to pay attention to your life.
- whenever something comes up in your life (in your roles, your relationships, or at work), good or bad, be okay with it. Go forward with curiosity. Put forth your full effort to do + be your best.
- no matter your results, don't complain. Accept + learn from it. Be satisfied. Be content. And continue doing your work.