Weather-speak. The most commonly relied upon subject for a 2-minute elevator conversation. Easily the most neutral topic to jump into while awkwardly standing with strangers in a large moving box. When people refer to the weather outside, they give you a glimpse into their internalweather.It shows the kind of relationship they have with Mother Nature, with themselves, but especially with whatever is here now.
This so-called-spring, when I got back to Ontario after a two-month sabbatical in Costa Rica, I temporarily joined the ranks of the weather-worn. I heard myself complaining about temperatures, daring the snow to slow me down as I took the garbage out in my flip flops, noticing that I had put the winter coats in storage not twice but three times already. It took a conversation with a friend for me to see that it was actually my internal storm that was making me cuss about the cold.
Willing to run the risk of being that overly sunny person, I was once the one in the elevator saying “I actually like rain; its refreshing.” Or “Ya it is cold, but I saw the most beautiful crystalline landscape in the woods today.” I did not care what they thought because I meant it. When I sat in stillness with my winter woes of late, I realized I was having a tough reentry. It had nothing to do with the weather. Missing my community in Costa Rica, I was finding it hard to find a new rhythm here with so many big life changes. Through journaling and being present for the feelings ‘as is’, my inner storm cleared up quite quickly.
The Sanskrit word for contentment is Santosha. I love the way that word sounds. It rolls off the tongue, lingers in the air, and leaves behind a sweet clear vibration. Imagine not wanting anything more than what you already have. Being at ease with your life in all its workings, in your relationships, in the ageing process, in your family and in your accomplishments. Imagine a deep knowingness that the weather, outside and inside, is totally perfect all the time.
Here is the paradox. Nurturing contentment actually resides in our moments of discontent. True Santosha is not born of a state of pure squeaky-clean blissfully happy acceptance of everything. Just as the weather shows us that rain and sunshine alternate, discontent must also take its rightful turn in our bliss. And so it should. Discontent can show us what needs our attention, ignite our creativity and spur us forward toward positive change. Abiding honestly with our discontent generates a greater capacity for peacefulness. In a culture that prefers to ignore the yuck factor, this may seem strange at first. Yet holding hands with our frustrations actually helps takes away their sting. It melts the power they hold over us.
My friends, the week ahead looks like a magnificently muddy one. If you can, walk in the mists between downpours and breathe spring’s sweet scent deep into your lungs. Whether its spring-cleaning inside or cozy fires after wet wandering outside, find your rhythm in the drizzle. Yes the storms shall pass, but why wait around for that? I wish I could eavesdrop on your elevator chat this week as you revel in the Santosha storms. Let me know how that goes.