Today was a day. I think I may have spent two-thirds of it crying. Reasons aren't important. I was hurt. Sad. Feeling lost. Scared. Lonely. You know, normal reasons for crying.
Interestingly enough, my class partner and I had to present on Santosha in yoga study this evening. Santosha means contentment. It goes further than just being pleased with things. It's about finding joy in everything. Every little, tiny thing. Finding joy in rush hour, in the DMV, in heart ache, in death, in divorce, in finding out someone lied to you, in being screamed at by a stranger, or worse yet, someone you love. It's about finding joy in e v e r y t h i n g. I have a tattoo that says, "Just be." Santosha means just that. You can call it coincidence, but I find it pretty amazing that I was given that topic, especially during this time of my life. It is single-handedly the hardest thing for me to do. And I've yet to meet anyone who has mastered it.
Based on the way my day had gone, I was certain I wouldn't make it through this presentation without crying. When I got to class, I could barely control my breathing. Everyone could tell I'd been crying. I got a few sad looks and a couple wordless back pats. Everyone knew. How was I going to do this without making myself look like a fool?
Before we presented on Santosha, a classmate presented on the two yoga poses she was given. After that, our teacher asked the class to chime in and direct her into the pose. Somewhere along the way I took over. Step by step, I put my teacher into extended side angle with verbal cues. I stopped halfway through and I said, "Someone else should do this, too?"
"No!" the class said collectively. "Keep going!"
And I did.
And I did really well. The whole class clapped and my teacher beamed at me. I'd never talked someone through a pose without also doing the pose myself. I found myself using words and ideas that I'd heard during classes. I might not be good at a lot of different things right now, but I'm good at this. And it feels really good. In nearly every class, I surprise myself.
Soon enough, it was time to present on Santosha. I was sure I wouldn't make it through this without crying in front of my class. My partner and I asked the class to sit in a circle and I read a meditation to them. A meditation about smiling. Then we spoke about our personal experiences with Santosha. The class was so engaged. There were no awkward pauses. Everyone wanted to discuss this. My partner and I had successfully stimulated the class and it felt so good to be talking with this group of people about the concept of contentment.
Then it was time to learn Sanskrit. The language of yoga. I picked up on it really quickly. I'm going to go buy note cards tomorrow and I can't wait to make flashcards for myself.
Six hours ago you could have handed me a million dollars and told me that I could do anything in the world I wanted, without consequences and I still wouldn't have been able to stop crying.
And by reminding myself that I'm allowed to cry and feel like crud about things, I'm also allowed to smile in that moment. I have that choice. And now, I can't stop smiling.