Last week, I was reflecting on Santosha or contentment in regard to possessions and this Christmas season, but we can also find contentment in time. How often do you spend time thinking about the past or the future and considering how things might be different? How often are you looking around at others and thinking, “I want to be where they are at in their lives?’ – whether it be in life, love, family, work or business? Isn’t it interesting how discontent we become when our focus is on what life might be rather than what it is? Being content is about finding peace in this moment.
Last year, I found myself stuck in this unhelpful pattern of looking at others and seeing what I did not have – feeling very discontent. I had headed back to university to complete graduate studies so that I could get ahead and start to move up the chain in the workspace. Being back at university was exciting as I was learning so many new things that I could take back to work each week. I think I am a late blooming nerd – I was never into studies much at school, but university has always awakened a thirst for learning and developing new ideas. So, while it was exciting to be back at university, I couldn’t help but look around and see that many people were much further down their career path than me. Instead of looking around and celebrating what people had achieved, I looked around and thought “I’m 34 – what am I doing with my life – why am I so far behind? I should be further than where I am”.
It had been my choice to stay where I was in my job, as I loved the fast paced ever changing life of case work with clients rather than being in management. But this did not compute as I looked around and felt I “should” be where others were in their careers.
Fast forward 12 months and my whole work life has turned upside down and inside out. I’ve given up fulltime work and have now started my own business. So, I am now starting from scratch, – I’m all the way back at the beginning but funny enough I feel more content now than I did a year ago. I feel happy each day as I drive home from teaching yoga. I am not at the top of the corporate ladder and I am not earning lots of money, but I feel more content with our possessions and content with my place in life. Life is an adventure rather than a competition with others.
So, for me I am reminded that being content is not about what you have, or where you are in your career, or who you are with, it’s about having peace with wherever you are at. It’s about counting our blessings rather than jealously looking at others at what we “should have” “should be”.I once had a boss that often said, “Don’t should on yourself!!”
Wise words for contentment!