March is here. That time of year where we find ourselves unsure if winter has truly left us allowing us to move on and warmly welcome spring - or will we still wake up to find snow swirling and whirling around - dancing it's way to settle on the ground.
The budding flowers and trees too share this uncertainty with us. They slowly and sleepily start to send their new shoots and buds up from the earth, not quite sure they should risk blossoming just yet in case of another bitter frost...or as we are seeing now, the threat of a March blizzard! So ... they sit with this hesitation. Some brave it - almost as if they can not contain their excitement, and others - shy away and hide where it is warm and safe. I know their uncertainty, their ambiguity. Change is in the air! For me, it is not only just the uncertainty of the changing seasons, but of bigger shifts to come, and there are times where I too want to burrow under my duvet and hide away until the safety of the sun returns... But, my practice is there.. to slowly coax me out and stoke the bravery needed to fully blossom into my potential.
I would like to share my experience with change, for my teachings can only ever truly come from this place, from the constant study of myself, and the uncomfortableness of this being human. The whirling winds of change can sometimes knock me right on my ass, but yet, I rise.. I persevere as I know this is all part of spring - of blossoming. These are some of the principles I have learned that have helped me instead of being blown over, to lift and set the sails to use that wind to move me in the direction of where I am meant to be.
Change is inevitable - the only constant in life, is indeed change itself. Life is not linear, as much as we try to control it to be. It is cyclical in nature, like the cycle of the moon, the seasons, the birth/ death cycle plays on and on... We can choose to deny it - or we can flow with it. Ignoring it is unwise, it will eventually scream for your attention. Awareness and acceptance is the first step in truly moving forward.
My yoga practice is my way of constantly examining the change within me. Every time I come to my mat, my body is different, the way it feels - different from the time before, the way I feel in myself, in my heart- different, the state of mind I am in - always different. As I slow down and deepen my breath, those swirling whirling winds of my life start to settle enough that I get a truer glimpse of where I am, who I am and evaluate where I need to go.
Change requires trust - A trust in yourself that you are capable of things you can't even imagine. A faith that all that happens is part of a bigger purpose, the bigger picture, a greater plan. That every challenge we face is only a gift in disguise. That every person we meet is a teacher. Life is a constant training ground - preparing us for our awakening, our hero's journey. Self doubt can be self sabotage. Believe in your self. It takes courageous work - deep work, to ask ourselves why we don't believe, trust, have faith - but that work will be life changing. Dig deep. Trust that magic happens and invite it in. Change can be uncomfortable, icky, painful and downright destructive, but growth is all of this. Do you know that in order for a Caterpillar to change into a butterfly it literally melts in it's chrysalis? That transformation must be uncomfortable but yet, necessary for the beauty of the butterfly to emerge.
Change requires the practice of non- attachment - Are you willing to let go? Buddha said that all suffering is rooted from our attachments - when we cling on to what once was and are not willing to accept the reality of what now is. We tightly grip, try to control and deny the truth - which leads to struggle, a fight. It's not easy by any means, to live and love in this human life and not get attached to people, things, and situations, but there are ways we can soften and even loosen our grip. Eventually, it get's easier and easier to let go. Just start by softening.
Change requires wise action - Change can be terrifying. I too am scared of change. Changes in my body, changes in my life situation, changes of that which I thought I knew so well before, that which has always been steady, comfortable and predictable. But one way I work with change, is through small steps of wise action. It's like climbing a mountain. From the bottom, it looks terrifying - impossible even - but if we just focus on this step, right here in front of us, we will eventually get there in the end.
I find that when I am feeling really overwhelmed by change, it's because there is so much uncertainty - I feel I have lost the ground beneath my feet. I can't see the road ahead clearly anymore. So, to help me get back my ground, I think to myself - what wise action can I do right now, right here. What is the first step, and then the next. I don't loose sight of the bigger picture - the summit I am climbing, and if I plan my route, I know which way to at least start the trek. I make wise decisions that are calm, calculated and practical rather than reacting to the fear and either giving up, or charging ignorantly and dangerously ahead without taking the proper provisions.
Enjoy the journey - Perhaps I have not chosen the easiest route, perhaps I get it wrong from time to time. Perhaps change isn't as clear cut as the caterpillar to the butterfly, it could be more unpredictable like the transition from winter to spring. But rather than getting caught up in trying to control the process and rushing to the destination, I at least try to enjoy the journey. Mindfully, living fully in each moment, there is a realisation that it isn't all that bad, it is in fact filled with rich beauty this journey.
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." - Lao Tzu
So the next time you find your self facing the winds of change - whether that be in life, or on the mat, can you; acknowledge and accept the change, find faith within your self - trust in your capabilities and potential, let go of what your are clinging onto so you can move forward, and finally move... one step at a time. Don't rush, soften into the change. Be patient with yourself, with life, with others. Go tenderly. Let truth guide you, always.