Resetting my perspective

I’m in the process of becoming trained as a yoga teacher, and the nine-month-long training includes writing a number of papers. I’ll post them here because, well, that’s what I do.

The first two were observations on yamas and niyamas. This is my niyama paper, which I wrote earlier this month.

“Everything is OK.”

Earlier this week, my yoga teacher began class with that statement. It was especially powerful because I knew she had reasons to feel otherwise. But that was exactly her point during that day’s practice: Happiness is fleeting, and often based on our circumstances. Santosha, or contentment, comes from a deeper place.

Most of the time, I operate from that mindset. I can’t say everything in my life is perfect, but overall, life is pretty darn good. I’m alive and well, and I’m surrounded by people who love me and whom I love. The rest are just details.

But I’m also clinically depressed, which can make me lose perspective perhaps even more easily than the average person. A minor problem can quickly cloud my vision, leaving me thinking that life as I know it is over.

I’ve seen that frequently in the process of writing my first book. There have been many moments when I wonder why this terrible thing is happening to me. How did I get myself into this? Will life ever be the same again?

When I take a deep breath and reset my perspective, I remember that this is exactly what I’ve always hoped for. I’ve wanted to write a book (or several dozen!) since I was in elementary school. Now I have that opportunity, with assurance that it will be published.

Taking a moment to slow down and reflect on reality, rather than my perspective-distorting insecurities, can remind me that everything is, in fact, OK. The worst that can happen is unlikely to become reality, and the truth is that I lead a pretty nice life. Contentment isn’t based so much on the circumstances, but age and life experience have increased my understanding.


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