Posts Tagged ‘change’
I’ve gotta admit, I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. It always felt a bit false to promise to do or not do something and tie that to a specific and somewhat arbitrary date. It always struck me like starting a diet—it’s a fad or phase—and thus seems doomed to failure from the start. Rather, I usually honor the transition from one year to the next with a bit of contemplation and examination of what I’d like to cultivate and invite into my life and wrap it all up in the Yogic viewpoint that change is the only constant, therefore, we’re always starting over … regardless of the date.
Starting over and starting anew has been a big theme in my life this past year. I’ve had to literally start at the beginning of my asana practice three times this year after each time my back froze up. BUT, I have added some additional care, have some new and quite helpful information, and with each yoga class and walk in the woods, I can feel that my strength and endurance is returning in a slow but steady and progressive way.
In my business life, I’m constantly starting new projects and feeling and thinking my way into new viewpoints. This year, I’m taking my business into a new direction which has me excited and full of both invigorating energy as well as moments of overwhelm.
And, of course, my romantic relationship is venturing into new and exciting territory, too. Getting married again—a state I’ve not visited for over 23 years—is not a small step for me. Exciting and wonderful, but not small.
Yup, 2015 is bringing a LOT of NEW.
But that’s the point, right? Change brings new and new brings vibrancy to our lives if we can calm the primal part of our brain interpreting change as unsafe. If we can take a moment and whisper to our scared self, “Shh, it’s ok. This is going to be fun!” than we can release fear, move forward, and let our lives unfold as needed. And when I say “needed” I’m not saying that in a “should” sort of way. What you need in your life may look very different from what I need in my life. The common thread, however, is that each and every one of us needs to continually be moving toward that which lights us up.
“Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~Howard Thurman
I love that quote because it resonates so deeply for me. When I’m overwhelmed and wondering how can my life possibly make a difference, this quote helps me remember. Because it’s true: when each of us lives from our hearts, drawing guidance from our deep, authentic selves, we can find the life we need and can then become a life the world needs. Our very existence with all its actions and reactions creates organic ripple effects which can be immeasurably positive. And this can’t be achieved strictly through thinking strategy, this requires feeling your way, too, trusting your heart, your gut, that little voice — especially if you are unsure about what it is in this world that does light you up.
So, I’m not going to make any dramatic resolutions for 2015. I’m simply going to continue to start over whenever I need to. I’m going to welcome all the new and unfamiliar with as much presence, breath, and heart it requires. I’m going to live as compassionately as possible. I’m going to keep trying to connect with others in kind ways. I’m going to keep increasing my tolerance for joy. And I’m going to keep seeking that which I love and which in turn lights me up because it’s good for me, it’s good for others, it’s good for the world … and beyond all that, it’s really, really fun.
Bright blessings to you all for a 2015 abundant with joy, love, laughter, health, and prosperity! How do you mark the change of the years?
“Coping” doesn’t seem like a word one would need or use when talking about positive change, right? Well, interestingly enough, it seems that many, myself included, are thrown by change and it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s positive or negative. All it takes is one internet search to find tons of psychological and professional study commentaries, not to mention, lots of trendy blogs on the subject. Humans resist change, and I’m no exception to that particular rule.
I’m experiencing—and have been experiencing over this past year and a half—an amazing amount of transition and change. I am self-aware enough to know that my back going out on me three times this past year is directly related to that: leaving my safe, well-paid 4-weeks’ vacation job and launching a business was huge. And I’m starting to work on shifting the direction of my business and feeling the pressure of a big To Do list to make it all happen. (It’s early days with lots more planning/work to do so I’ll leave what’s coming for another day.) And last, but not least, I’m now engaged to the best man I know. These are ALL positive, wonderful changes, but it doesn’t stop me from constantly catching myself doing what I do when faced with big change: I go into avoidance mode. I always know when it’s happening because I’m either obsessively reading a book and neglecting all other things around me (it’s a fine line in identifying this … I am an avid reader after all) or I become very, VERY busy. I’ll find as many projects as possible or even one biggie and tackle it like lives depend on my successfully completing it. Either way, I’m super busy but getting nothing done toward the actual thing that needs doing.
As I catch myself, once again, doing the avoidance dance, I realize that I’m just experiencing a normal, human reaction to change. And knowing that makes me think of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, specifically the concept of vairagya, or non-attachment. Practicing vairagya is to face something—even something positive—and not identify with it. The idea is to not become attached in order to avoid it coming to be part of the way you see or define yourself. All these changes I’m facing are positive, but they don’t define who I am … and remembering that is an important key to living through the changes with a sense of balance and equanimity. If I continue to identify with the changes, then I’m always reacting, in my case, avoiding. However, if I allow myself to enjoy the realizations and moments, but remember that they are only moments and I cannot hold them without inviting suffering, then I can have a larger view and bring myself back to center. It’s no different than practicing a difficult pose. We start out on the mat and our mind tells us we can’t. A couple breaths later, we realize we ARE.
Whatever the changes we face, all we ever need to do is to lovingly bring our attention back to what needs our focus. When I do that, I remember that everything I’m doing, everything I’m working on is all to help improve my life, my fiancé’s life, and ultimately, the life of my community. It may require a lot of effort, but it’s all good. It also requires my attention and presence, which in turn calls for some will power and a whole lot of love and compassion. To this end, I’ve been increasingly committed to my mantra and compassion meditation practice. I’m finding it’s a great, simple, and loving way to bring my attention back without beating myself up for my first reaction of avoidance. I simply acknowledge where I am and what I’m doing and forgive myself. I then either recite Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha a few times in my head (or the 108 if I’ve time to sit with my mala beads) or I practice Metta or Karuna meditation for 5, 10, or 20 minutes as the day allows. This provides a way to detach from my overwhelmed sensation and reaction to the prospect of change and gives me a way to refocus my mind.
Find Transformational Energy by Chanting Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha
I find this particular mantra, Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha, a powerful one. Essentially, it’s calling to our Root Chakra (Muladhara) energy so we can move through the obstacles in life. The muladhara chakra is the principal origin from which the manifesting energy of Shakti resides within each of us. When we awaken that energy, it helps us move through the Chakras with ease to activate a strong sense of self, express Divine love, communicate clearly, and connect with our intuition. Importantly, we are also calling upon the powerful energy of Ganesh, the elephant-headed deity, who is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles and the Lord of Beginnings. Makes sense to chant to him in the middle of large transitions, doesn’t it?
Change is guaranteed to be constant. Ignoring it or becoming attached to the sensations or drama around change doesn’t serve us in any way and can sometimes be harmful to us, either mentally, emotionally, or even physically if we’re prone to behavior or habit that is more harmful than helpful. So, as I task myself to be loving and find compassionate ways to cope with change, I invite you to so as well. There’s no one way, but we all must find some means of coping with change that best serves our higher selves. Or else how are we to get through this change-fraught life?
How do you cope with change, either positive or negative?