santosa, mary meduna, VoiceAmerica


Do you have days (or weeks, or months, etc.) where you look around and you realize that what you see and experience is not what you want to see and experience?

I know that as an administrator I was typically engaged in conversations like this with myself and others around this time of year. Did I/we make progress toward the goals I/we set out in August? Did I move forward on the unexpected projects that came up since then? What does this all mean for us as we plan for next year? Will we ever really find a way to achieve these goals?

There was a time when I thought that if I wasn’t unhappy or dissatisfied with the present situation that it meant that I had given up or sold out. If I was happy about any progress we made, it meant that I was settling if that progress was anything short of the finish line.

This is a terribly miserable place to be and I experienced the consequences of this prolonged catabolic energy. I developed painful swelling in my joints and I gained weight. I know that I couldn’t have been much fun to be around because there were days where I wish I could’ve gotten away from myself! I was tired all the time and I didn’t have the energy or the imagination to go out and have fun. I was staying committed to my goals and I was miserable in the process.

So what happens when you get tired of being sick and tired? How is it possible to be happy in the present moment even when the present moment isn’t exactly what you want it to be?

I found myself in this icky, frustrated and irritated space again this week. Projects I am working on have not been moving forward as I want them to. It’s hard for me to stay motivated and moving toward completing these projects when it feels like I just keep running into roadblocks. The difference between me now and me then is that now I am able to be at least slightly more objective about it and observe what I am perceiving as I experience it. However, this ability to remove myself from situations and observe reactions doesn’t make me feel any better.

Sometimes we just need a gentle reminder to get ourselves back on track. That reminder came to me this morning in my yoga class. The suggested theme for the class was santosa—“ To be at peace within comes from fostering contentment with one’s life, even while experiencing its challenges”. During class, our instructor reminded us to be at peace with where we were in our practice and in our poses. On the way home, I wondered how I could be at peace with my projects.

As I considered what I wanted and the status of the projects, I found myself trying to look at the situations from a different point of view. Then it hit me—I have an interesting point of view—about all of these things, and it’s just that—an interesting point of view.

The most common theme of my points of view was that these projects needed to be done in a timely manner (aka, NOW). But what if I applied this principle of santosa? What if I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be with each and every one of these projects? What if what I am judging as delay is really an opportunity for me to pause and take a balcony view of what I am engaged in? What if this is an opportunity to pause and enjoy the sunshine and warm weather we enjoyed this week?

So what was the impact of these new points of view? Well, I did enjoy the sunshine in the backyard and I allowed myself to take a few bird walks on the internet to explore. As a result of this exploration, I did find a possible solution to one of my challenges. But perhaps the biggest benefit was that I didn’t feel so irritable and icky. I didn’t feel like the gods were conspiring against me and I didn’t feel alone. In fact, because I was in better spirit, I was able to engage with others with more joy and optimism.

So, I did find peace among the challenges and I didn’t feel like I had settled or given up on any of my projects. I hope that I will remember the principle of santosa the next time I start to think that nothing is going my way and if I don’t maybe my family and friends can remind me.


Dr. Meduna earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education from Wayne State College, Master of Science in Community Mental Health Counseling from the University of Tennessee, and an Ed.S. and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Indiana State University.  In addition, Dr. Meduna is also certified in Reality Therapy through the William Glasser Institute, and earned her coaching certification through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching.  

Dr. Meduna also currently co-hosts a talk radio show with Margaret Ruff called, Educational Leadership.  What else is possible on the VoiceAmerica Variety channel.