Rainy Day Contentment

It was pouring rain today. Dark and gloomy. And I was content.

It’s not that I did anything special. I think it simply comes down to this. I went out of the house to a cozy coffee shop and worked productively on my teacher exam. Everything else was just icing on the cake.

-I met up with a fellow student at the coffee shop and we worked side-by-side, stopping to chat sometimes. I got a lot of work done so I feel less stressed.

-I went to yoga and it was a good class where I challenged myself with some strength poses before a nice relaxation.

-My aunt was in town and we met up for dinner. This is the aunt I’ve only seen over the past few years at funerals and that I decided to renew ties with this past winter. It really was so nice to catch up!

-I have the day off tomorrow and have made some plans that I’ll hopefully carry through with.

-I had a nice chat with my friend/guest and we watched Game of Thrones.

A simple day, but so nice.

Key features:
-Outside
-Non-procrastination
-Socialization
-Exercise that was challenging but not overwhelming.

I’ll need to keep these ingredients in mind. 🙂

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Contentment

I’ve fallen behind on my yoga homework. One of the concepts we were to reflect on a few weeks ago was “santosha” or contentment. What a thing to ask someone who has suffered from major depression for several years! No wonder I procrastinated.

Santosha is contentment that doesn’t depend on external factors. As I’ve gone up and down in my emotions the past few weeks, I’ve felt my contentment to be very conditional to external factors. Will I have a job in a few weeks? Will they choose me for this new opportunity I’m interviewing for?

I fly high as a kite when recruiters seek me out. And then I’m horribly grumpy and uncertain in the period between interview and job offer. The thing is that I felt I did well in my latest interview, but after it was over I wanted to crawl into bed and hide from the world while I awaited the answer. I was in a really, really pissy mood, to be blunt.

And I got the job. So then I was flying high again! And then I didn’t have anyone to celebrate it with, so poof, contentment gone.

I’ve felt like I’ve been on an emotional merry-go-round the past few weeks. And it has been, but not so much because of my mental illnesses. It seems I’m entirely basing my contentment on external factors.

For a few weeks this past winter, I think I was starting to learn and experience contentment. I had this base of satisfaction that carried me forward and seemed to spread to others.

I’ve lost that feeling. To some degree, I know it’s very hard to feel contentment when your basic needs are barely met (food, shelter, sense of security, etc.) But contentment isn’t about being happy when things are going well. It’s about having a base of contentment that you maintain regardless of external circumstances.

I think I will have to practice this skill a lot more.

Compassion or excuses? Laziness or listening to my body?

I’ve blown my daily yoga routine. But I’ve done it consciously so.

I’ve missed three days now (non-consecutive), but only regret missing Saturday’s session.

Is it that I’m being lazy? Or is it that I’m listening to my body and its fatigue? Am I being compassionate towards myself? Or just making excuses for failures?

I actually think that I’m being compassionate.

This is my first forty-hour work week in months. And then I have 20+ hours of yoga training on the weekend. No days off until mid-March. (And I think that’s a good thing, because I do tend to have emotional dips on weekends when I do nothing…)

But with work, training, homework and trying to go to yoga every single day (and more than once a day to make up for missed days)… Well, after the sleeplessness of last night, I knew I couldn’t keep burning the candle at all ends.

I think this is an example of self-compassion because:
– I don’t feel guilty
– I’m not displaying my all-or-nothing attitude – I’ve missed three days so why even bother continuing with the daily yoga? It’s already a bust! – Instead I’m simply planning to go as often as I can, while being conscious of what my body is telling me.
– I’m really enjoying my work and the sense of accomplishment of doing my job well. I like going to work, even if I haven’t slept, and I’m really productive. But that’s not maintainable without rest. I need to take care of myself.

At times during the past few weeks, I’ve felt like a bubble of contentment is surrounding me. I’m enjoying getting out of the house each day and my hilly walks to and from the bus. The weather isn’t too cold and the fresh air is invigorating. Yesterday I became absorbed looking down at my scarf as I walked to work. The most beautiful little snowflake had settled on my scarf and it had the most intricate design! I guess that’s as close as I can get to stopping to smell the roses at this time of year. 😉

People seem more inclined to be friendly and do nice things for me. And I think it’s because my overall feeling of calm, patience and contentment is flowing out. I was pulled over for my first ever driving ticket the other day… And the officer was smiling and understanding and instead gave me warnings.

So while there can be a fine line between excuses and compassion, I think I’m currently exhibiting the latter. I’m adapting remarkably well to the workplace and I’m generally content. But I’m well aware of the dangers of doing too much, ignoring insomnia, and feeling overwhelmed.

I made the conscious decision today to take yoga off my plate and to simply relax. As such I could resist napping and I think I’m now ready to go to sleep at an appropriate time. And I’m looking forward to both work and yoga tomorrow. 🙂

Good night!