Finding joy in the now
Santosha and the practice of feeling joy amid the chaos. By Paula Hines
What if you allowed yourself to find joy — despite all the goings on in the world? With the recent and current state of the world it can be all too easy to despair. Feeling this way is completely understandable. Related to this, I do feel that we have not been allowed the space to collectively grieve the impact of the past couple of years. Grief is a process that cannot and should not be rushed. Grief is something that may never leave us; but if we allow it in, it can give us more empathy, more compassion.
As for despair, to me it feels like a dangerous place to dwell. We need to work together to make things better, but I’m not sure that we can make things better from a place of despair. So what if you allowed yourself to find joy? Finding joy in the now and hope in the future feels essential — however Pollyanna-ish that may sound! I’ve learned that joy and grief can — and do — co-exist.
Before yoga became a part of my life, and before I’d heard of santosha, I learned this via my family with parents who both came to the UK as part of the Windrush generation, growing up and hearing stories about the realities of what they faced on arriving and trying to settle into life in a new country where they weren’t always welcome.
More recently, this lesson came around in a big way when my mum died in February 2020. How can we find joy in the now? It’s not always easy, but it is possible. For me it comes back to and begins with santosha and it is a practice. You may have a different way, but for me, it starts with being in the present moment, good or bad, and trying to find a place of peace or stillness. From this place of peace, I find acceptance becomes reachable. From this place of acceptance, joy becomes possible.
That makes it sound simple and linear – sometimes it might feel that way, but certainly not always. Why? Because we are human. It’s a process. If that feels too much, then you could start by asking yourself: ‘Can I be in the present moment with peace?’ In that particular moment, the answer may be ‘no’, but give yourself time. Honour that you are practicing. If the answer is ‘yes’, can you be open to joy?
Sometimes joy will surprise you by visiting in the most challenging of moments too. Embrace it wholeheartedly and share it around when you can.
The new book by Paula Hines, ‘Rest + Calm: Gentle Yoga and Mindful Practices to Nurture and Restore Yourself’ is out now. Find her on Instagram @ucanyoga1