I need more time, more money, more practice, more quiet, more travel, more…
I don’t give enough to my kids, to my work, to my community, to the planet, to…
Do these lists sound familiar to you? The things you “lack”? The things you’re “failing” to do? These lists—the LACK LIST, the FAILURE LIST—have such great power to grab our attention, regardless of where we are, regardless of what is right in front of us.
Where do these lists come from? Evolutionary processes? Generational traumas? Societal pressures? Whatever the origin, what they boil down to is expectation: the expectation that the world is here to meet our moment-to-moment demands of how it should be. The expectation of who we ought to be, and what we ought to be have, do and give.
It’s those expectations that choke out our ability to be where (and who) we are, to receive what’s being offered to us in the moment, and to recognize that what we have, do, and give is enough in this very moment.
We miss being with what is.
Instead, we hear ourselves thinking: it’s too hot’ it’s too cold; there are too many people here; dinner isn’t coming quickly enough; I wasn’t kind enough just then; I should be doing something more productive right now; and so on.
Expectations kill presence. We end up sleepwalking through life, with some other movie playing in our heads of how it’s supposed to go. That’s why—thank goodness—the teachings of yoga aren’t about getting more, being more, or even nailing that handstand. They’re about meeting the moment as it is and experiencing it as enough. That whatever is being offered is not too much or too little. And when we can do that, fully experiencing everything that makes up this moment, the lack-and-failure lists drop away.
What’s left is awe, and the sense that everything we need is right here, offered in this breath. This gives us a oneway ticket to the magical land of enoughness. It’s the second niyama, santosa: complete contentment with what is.
It is enough. We are enough. What a gift, this moment.
I admit, it’s not easy to break out of the narrative of lack. When I’m lost in the lack-list and unable to see anything as miraculous or gift-like in a given moment, I sometimes ask the question: “What would it feel like to be grateful right now?” or “Is there anything in this moment that I can appreciate?” They’re simple questions, yes; but they can sometimes break the cycle of disappointment or dissatisfaction I’ve looped into.
During this time when we gather with family, retrace our roots, I’d love to hear your journey toward santosa, what you do when you get lost in the tangled web of expectation. How do you create a sense that this moment, those around you and you, are enough?