Question – what’s a constant in life, important to accept and in a jar in my closet? If your answer was CHANGE you are correct. Don’t we all want to master this thing we call life? The only way we can do that is if we master the art of change. I usually think I’m pretty good at handling change until I’m not. Most of my yoga students will say I never teach the same class twice; my partner laughs that I barely ever cook the same thing twice and it’s rare for me to watch a movie or TV series more than once. There are just so many ways to practice, things to cook and watch, I like changing it up. I also like to change my office/house around (my office happens more than my house) but to some extent I like change. I like doing things a different way. This doesn’t mean I like all kinds of change. Believe me, I struggle A LOT with changing. I definitely have “my way” of doing things and don’t always like to change my way.
We are all like this aren’t we? I believe we must keep in mind that change is constant. Change is really what life is about. Consider the weather, it’s always changing and we just roll with it. Why can’t we take that idea with us into other things that change in our life? I think it’s because of CONTROL. We know we can’t control the weather, we can only control how we respond to the weather. Is it going to be cold? I’ll need an additional layer of clothing. Is it going to rain? I need an umbrella. Is it flip flop weather? You get the picture, right?
But, so many things that change in our lives are not in our control. Resisting change is okay – it often indicates we are waiting to better understand or find out more information. Change is a powerful opportunity for inner growth and development.
What we need to be aware of is why we are resisting the change? Ask the question…do I need to inquire a little more before changing? What information do I need? Do I need to slow down and reassess what I am thinking of doing?
When we start this line of inquiry, we create a stronger inner container. We get to know ourselves better and along the way we might find an ability to surrender to change. Surrender doesn’t mean giving up, it requires assessing a situation, deciding if you can go with the flow and then going with the flow.
Some of my hardest change lessons started when I had my son. There is no instruction manual and we bring with us our conditioning from our own childhoods and growing up. We have an opportunity to reflect and decide which parts worked best, which parts do I want to do differently. Parenting is a constant learning experience and continues to be as I change with my son now becoming an adult.
In yoga, the Hindu God Shiva is the god of destruction in order to recreate it. Life is a continuous process of creation, upkeep and destruction. Think of the seasonal cycle plants go through. I remember when I was in the worst parts of my divorce, my world was definitely being destroyed but with time, I came to see that something new was being created. My broken heart, let in light and allowed me to build something new and at the same time, return to myself.
When our children graduate high school and go on to what is next for them, that too is a destruction which then allows for creation. It’s so easy to get stuck and not be able to move forward or to move forward in the same ways we have always traveled.
Change affords us the opportunity to take new steps and try something new or different.
Here are some tools I find helpful when encountering change:
- Practice stillness
- Use the time to be present, to reflect and create a deep relationship with yourself.
- Write down what is going on
- Write not only the story of change that is currently happening but any stories you associate with this change.
- Review the stories and determine what is true? What is not true?
- Notice what you feel
- When you think about this change what does it feel like?
- Feelings and emotions aren’t good or bad, they are just energy.
- Sit with what you have discovered with this inquiry.
- What is holding you back? What could help you move forward?
- Are these thoughts still serving you?
- Accept where you
- What have you learned?
- Can you accept the situation as it is?
- Make a decision for the time being
- Remember you always have a choice about change – look at the possible effects or outcomes of the change and then decide.
- Is the time right to make this change?
- AND you can always change your mind!
- Be grateful
- Can you find a sense of gratefulness as things change?
The journey of change is one worth taking and maybe you can’t embrace every change that happens but see if you can accept and embrace a few. Overtime, it will become easier and easier.