Santosha + Spanda: The Art of Joy

Spanda – The sacred tremor within; art of being alive, the moments we shake, quake and take a sharp inhale; fully living as opposed to existing.

The year my ‘word’ or theme has been spanda. I truly wanted to dig into the things that brought me joy; wanted to learn, to dig deeper into becoming a student again, to play and explore, to invite dinner parties and a lot of friends + coffee into my home. Passion and music and joy were what I was craving.

My God have I gotten my deepest desires. I dug deep and found the joy of being a student; I dug deeper and found the joy of having my own space for friends to gather and family to be near. I dug even deeper still and found L.O.V.E. It has been quite a ride and it’s only mid way through 2019.

This article was almost titled¬†“The Elusive Other Side”¬†because that’s how life has felt lately. I feel joy in my bones, love in my heart and a sense of security I haven’t felt in a long, long time. Most of the moments in my life right now are nothing short of miraculous and I am grateful for every inch of this joy. More than that, I’m grateful for the santosha + spanda that have co-mingled into existence.

One of my students came to me last week and told me her boyfriend had been verbally abusive. She was teary eyed, showing me some of her evidence and wanting to know if she did the right thing. Her next words struck me so deep I sucked in breath I had no idea I was holding. “I wanted to ask you, because you’ve been through it and now you’re so happy and on the other side.”

When she said I was on the other side, I actually gasped. I wasn’t sure if I should be laughing, crying or rocking my inner child to comfort her. I had no idea what to think, other than this: SHE was strong. And she felt the same way in that moment I have felt countless times over the last few years. Shock, anger, pain, sadness, trauma, overwhelm, and loss of identity, confidence and love. It’s a strange mixture you can only truly experience in the moment you step out of the abuse. An awakening. You’re so proud of yourself. You feel strong. You feel weak. You’re confused. You’re exhausted. And yet somehow you’re putting one foot in front of the other.

It took me years to get to where I am now. Healing. Yoga. Crystals. Oils. More yoga. Meditation. Crying into shoulders. Being reminded of my own strength with every challenge God gave me. Family. Yoga. Friends. More yoga. Coffee. More and more yoga.

Santosha – Contentment, a lack of desiring what others have (JOMO), love, full acceptance and subtle joy in each moment.

Santosha (contentment) + Spanda (alive-ness) are my current keys to joy. I could outline my years of trauma recovery, building Yoga for Families of Addiction, solo parenting, keeping Barefoot Yoga Shala the beautiful, alive community it remains and fully living while healing.

Instead I’m going to say this : the other side is elusive. I’m in it; I’m living my joy. My good days far outweigh the bad. In my world I have my beautiful son, incredible partner (and his beautiful children), family galore, friend at every turn. I have a few businesses I LOVE and I live near the ocean.

But I still have moments of trauma crop up. I have moments of anxiety when I can’t think or see straight. I have times when I need to be reminded to breathe (yes, the yoga teacher sometimes needs a reminder as well).

This week was hard. Anxiety and trauma hit home. The wind was knocked out of my sails. I felt drained.

I took a deep breath, looked deep into the eyes of the ones I loved (including the ones staring back in the mirror) and saw/felt/heard : “YOU HAVE GOT THIS. YOU’RE STRONG.”

I took that deeper breath, pulled my shoulders back and exhaled. I drew my student into the worlds biggest hug and held her for a moment while she found her own footing and breath. Someday she will be on the elusive other side with me. Standing side by side, remembering that all it takes is one step at a time. And when you “arrive” remember we knew you were strong enough to get here all along.

You’ve got this. You’re strong. You’re powerful. You are love.

With love from the elusive other side

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