“Pick a card, any card,” I said smiling as students came up and claimed their Angel Card for the day at the top of a Saturday morning Intermediate Series class. It had become almost a tradition to start the class this way, started by my yogi friend, Jamie out at the North Shore studio. It’s a quick way to break the ice with newcomers to the class and to help the students set an intention for their practice that day.
Each card has a single word on it, such as: Power, Happiness, Strength, or Freedom. Once I drew the word, Relaxation, and had the most calm and poised class. The card, Play, reminded me not to take it too seriously and just have fun. And the card, Sisterhood/Brotherhood made me enjoy the people around me a little bit more as we sweat, stretched and tried to work for something new within our practices.
At the end of this class though, I had a student return her card to me at the front desk, while most of the students usually simply leave it on the podium, knowing I’ll collect it once the studio empties out. She placed the card down and said, “What is this supposed to mean?” sliding it towards me with a frustrated look on her face.
I looked down at the card to discover that she had drawn the word, Contentment.
“You know what that means,” I told her.
“But, in yoga, aren’t we always supposed to be reaching for more?”
“Not necessarily. Maybe today you were supposed to be happy with what you could accomplish. Content.”
“I guess. This whole week at work I’ve been killing myself to reach for something more and it threw me for a loop that I drew that card.”
“You were supposed to draw that card then. There’s nothing wrong with being content – with being happy where you are right now.”
She smiled, thanked me for class, and with a wave walked out to her car in the brisk Chicagoland fall weather, her cheeks still flushed from her time in the hot room.
I understood her confusion more than she could ever guess. My husband has at multiple times through the years looked at me and asked, “Are you ever going to be content, babe? Can’t you just enjoy where you are right now?”
I would answer back, “How? When I have so much that I want to accomplish?”
He would look at me, exasperated and shake his head. But I get it now. I have found contentment. Not every day, but most days. I sometimes slip into old patterns where what is going on around me is unsatisfactory and I am anything but content. There are days in which I wish things would speed up and move faster, so that the next goal is accomplished.
But I have come to realize contentment is not a dirty word. Contentment is the thing to reach for and strive for. Things will happen to you, but I bet for the most part more good is going to happen than bad… if you look for it. If you notice the good. It’s our tendency to only notice the negative and dwell on it.
Contentment is friends with gratitude and happiness. They are all in the same squad. I believe you can be content with what is going on in your life and in your yoga practice, yet still reach for something more. Often, we reach for something more and then grow frustrated and upset when it doesn’t go the way we wanted to or if it’s harder than we think. That’s not contentment. Contentment is powerful. It’s looking into your own two eyes in the reflection of the mirror and deciding to like what you see and be grateful for everything you are TODAY. Not in two weeks when you rock Standing Head to Knee, but despite whether you ever rock it or not. All you have to do is try and do your best. If your best is good enough for your teacher, your boss, your spouse, your family, why is not good enough for you?
Everything is coming your way and coming together. Have patience. Decide to be content this week, even if for a moment. Look around at everything you have accomplished and be grateful for how far you have come. Contentment is one of the keys to abundance that is often ignored. Instead of always concentrating on how to be, get, and do more, know that the life you’re living is already good enough.
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