Saturday, March 14, 2015

One Path to Peace

I was driving to work the other day and I was late. Anxious scenarios started playing in my mind - how I'd feel if there was a customer I wasn't ready for? I remembered that this anxiety only costs me and I tried for the 32nd time (maybe - I haven't actually counted) to flip the script, as they say. I chose to calm down by realizing fretting wouldn't make me get there faster, so I might as well enjoy my drive. All the other times, this has been as far as I'd get. I'd tell myself this and go back to stressing. But progress and effort is not wasted people, because this time it worked.

I started to think about what I could enjoy during this drive to work and as usual, there's not a WHOLE lot going on. I'm not even up to music these days, which can be a huge source of joy for me. So I'm riding along in the quiet, but you know what I noticed? My teeth. By choosing to be present and not swirling in my personal anxiety vortex, I happened to run my tongue over my front teeth and NOTICED how it felt. Clean! They were recently polished by the dentist, just brushed with an automatic brush, front ones flossed so I could FEEL my gaps, clean. Wow! I love that feeling. I smiled big and felt oober blessed. What a blessing to have money for not only an automatic toothbrush back in the day, but recently a new head so it can do its job! I'm so blessed to have time to brush my teeth before I leave and even floss a couple of them! (Which reminded me I was late, but I was not to be drug down.) What a blessing to have brilliant people who don't mind being in people's mouths who can clean the parts I miss! What a blessing to feel fresh at the start of a day. 

A day when I was late. 

A day I would usually have felt frazzled, not fresh.

And I would've kept feeling that way if I hadn't tried and failed however many times to do it better. Don't give up on whatever area you're trying to find a new, better way to be. No step is wasted. No try, even those that seem to end in failure, is wasted, because that's not the actual end. The end is also not this one success I enjoyed. I will likely have more mornings when I can't shake the anxiety habit, and others when I plain won't want to. I, like all humans, have a weird, occasional affinity for wallowing. But I will find success again and maybe one day, it will come more easily. Maybe even automatically. Maybe not. All I know is, I like it. 

I like spending my energy hunting for reasons to smile. When I uncover joy, I find it has a friend. Contentment. While enjoying what I have, I can't clamor for something else. My counselor said it's impossible to feel two feelings at the same moment. Sometimes we go back and forth so fast, it feels like it, but our feelings grow out of our thoughts and if we can hold our thoughts still on the thing we're enjoying, we'll feel content. 

In Sanskrit, the beautiful dead language often used in yoga, the word for contentment is Santosha. Which to me, sounds like how it feels. When you're content, everything gets soft and relaxed and peaceful. That's how it feels when I choose contentment instead of a lecture from the self-berating voice in my head. I held the steering wheel and whispered, "Santosha," because I was alive and free enough to choose. 

P.S. If it's been so long you can't remember what a peace feels like, you may want to watch the video below. They are at a zoo an hour away from us and I could watch them all day. Just bringing them to mind makes me a little weak in the knees. Watch it on mute for a more peaceful effect. Kids make a ruckus.

1 comment:

  1. I'm smiling from ear to ear Kendra! I love how bringing your attention to your teeth amidst the anxiety of being late, brought you to a place of pure joy and gratitude.