The other week I taught 18 yoga classes. It was my first week teaching that many yoga classes since before I left for India. These days, I usually teach between 7-10, depending if I am subbing or have workshops scheduled. But it was spring break, many teachers were gone, and I did my best to step in and help.
By the end of that week, it was all I could do to not purchase a ticket to Colombia. Random location and urge, I realize, and I don't really have much of a vested interest in traveling to Colombia per se. But my friend, Lyn, who I met in India, was planning on teaching a yoga retreat there this summer and all I wanted at the time was to be nurtured and supported as a student in someone's presence who had big mother energy. It was honestly something I had to talk myself down from. I had just got back from 6 weeks of travel, could I really justify taking a vacation?
Honestly, it's an internal dialogue I am constantly having. To be 100% real, 99% of the time I want to book a one-way ticket to anywhere but here. Not that there is anything wrong with here. I'd just rather be elsewhere. And just by saying that, I already hear the outside voices coming in with their two cents: "You should be able to be content wherever you are!" "You need to build a life you don't need a vacation from!" "If you can't be happy here, you won't be happy anywhere!"
Yeah, yeah. I get it. That's one perspective. But it doesn't cover everyone's experience. And certainly, it doesn't satisfy mine. Could it be that being away from routine deeply nourishes me? That new, foreign places send endorphins to my brain and help me think more creatively? Could it be that not being in one place for long may be an integral part of my personal narrative towards contentment despite circumstance? Could it be, maybe, that I'm not running away from said situation or place so much as being pulled toward something that actually deepens my intimacy with true being?
To me personally, it seems easier to find contentment when you are settled and rooted and your expectation of each day is more or less the same. Contentment is intrinsically challenged by change. When you are traveling, in transition or experiencing any other sense of interim, you cannot place an expectation on the day ahead. You have no roots, connections or sense of identity with the place you are in, and often times, it wears on you. It can stir a whole new slew of reactivity and resistance that even you are surprised by. And there, my friend, is where you encounter the real practice of finding contentment:
- Finding contentment when your flight to Nepal is cancelled for the third effing time.
- Or when the squat toilet smells so bad it burns your eyes.
- Finding contentment when you are in between jobs, locations, or relationships and you are uncertain of the next step.
- Finding out that contentment fills you more with less or less with more.
- Finding yourself content in situations that you never thought you could be.
If there is one thing I could have you take away from this post, it's this:
Finding your place in "the groundless ground of being," as Dharma followers would call it, is a worthwhile endeavor. You are worth this endeavor.
And yes, physically removing yourself from the places that you have roots in, often, is the most efficient way to go about it.
Can your sense of contentment become uprooted in your daily routine? Absolutely. Of course. Insert the endless list of things that don't go your way on a daily basis. And the qualities or actions of impatience, frustration, gossip, comparison, or road rage that follow. But eventually, even these things become the norm. We learn to expect them, and sometimes, whether we are aware or not, they become a part of our own conditioned response. We become content even with these.
If it really is true that no matter where you go, there you are... and if it truly is the journey and not the destination... why not just keep going? Why not keep exploring, seeking, feeling, and encountering new ways of being, thinking, feeling and responding? Why not do something or go somewhere where those conditioned responses aren't the norm? Where they don't work and you are forced to come up with something new? Why not go somewhere where your expectations fail or exceed you? Why not let yourself be content with more? Or less?
That's just my two cents.