Some of you may have heard the term “santosha” — it means contentment. It invites a calm center and allows us to open our hearts in gratitude.
As a military spouse, I struggle with being content on a daily basis. Like many of you, I have this relentless pursuit of excellence for everything I do. It can be work related. It can be volunteer related. It can be marriage related. It can be kid related.
Basically, it is life related. It is a drive within to continue pushing forward but sometimes I forget to appreciate the moment.
As you continue reading, please don’t mistake my words as a suggestion to disregard or diminish your drive. It is important to do our best and be the best version of ourselves.
Sometimes that takes being content with where we are at that very moment.
Living in “santosha” can give you this incredible peace.
If you are always seeking something, does that mean you aren’t living? It’s an interesting thought, and one I ponder often.
I recently read a book that talks about ten ethical guidelines for yoga that are foundational to living skillfully. In the book, it talked about how we are constantly wanting or getting ready for the next thing in our lives. We are always waiting or wanting for. When we are a kid, we can’t wait to grow up. We grow up and then we can’t wait to retire.
As military families, we move and then almost immediately we wonder where we are going next. When one list comes out, we start wondering about the next one. We are constantly getting ready or preparing for something new. We spend so much of our time getting ready for one thing or another, we don’t always take the time to enjoy where we are. I think this is a unique situation for military families.
We also look at others around us and want what they have and what we don’t. By doing this, it seems we are looking for others to fulfill our needs, when we should be looking inside and being grateful and content for what we do have.
This brings me to my favorite thing to talk about — gratitude. I talk a lot about being grateful here and in my personal life. I am grateful for everything. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where I lose track of the gratitude and contentment. At those moments, I remind those who inspire me how thankful I am for them.
We all get those days where we can’t find a way out of the “suck.” It could be a laundry list of things; the kids are on your last nerve, your spouse is deployed, the car is on the fritz and Murphy’s Law is definitely taking hold of your world.
At that very moment, I reach out to my pals who are my “ride or die.” Mine happen to be on either side of the country from me, but whenever we are feeling that wave of discontent, we play a game called three things. We say three things we are thankful for. It can be as simple as a slice of pizza or as important as their friendship and everything in between.
And every single time, it brings me back to the place I need to be.
It brings me back to contentment and gratitude.
So as you continue to get ready for the next thing, take a moment and breathe in what you have.
Breathe in the contentment of your life — good times and bad. Let it all be enough. Let yourself be enough.
If nothing else, when it is all feeling like too much, stop and remind yourself of three things you are grateful for.
Reena O’Brien is an Army spouse and a Herald correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.