Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Balancing Change

The world is constantly changing. Nothing is the same as it was last year, or even as this morning. This is one of those things that is true, whether or not I want it to be, whether or not I admit it on most days.

I like to be in control. I plan what minute I’m going to wake up, how many minutes it takes me to shower and pack my bag, how many minutes to walk to get coffee on the way to the train station, and, as soon as I’m at the station, I start planning the tasks I’ll cross off my list at work that day. I rarely leave things to chance. Sometimes it’s easier for me to pretend like I’m in control and that I can dictate what will happen in my life, and when. But, when things go off-plan, which happens every day, it is hard to deal with the disruption if I am trying to control everything.

In yoga, I often prefer my own practice or teaching to another’s class, because I’m in control of what we’re doing and at what pace. I’ve been learning, though, through my yoga, to accept what is. When I think I have the energy or the strength to do something, and I can’t (for whatever reason), I’ve learned to let go of my control, my preconceived expectations, and roll with it. I try to attend other classes at least once a week, to force myself to practice the discomfort of being in a class led by someone else: out of control.

Dealing with this in my yoga practice has significantly affected the way I deal with hang-ups in my life. I’m much more able to accept unexpected events than I was before I began a daily practice. Delving further into yogic teachings and readings, I find myself comforted by the idea of constant change. Even though things are changing, there is some continuity—things are CONSTANTLY changing.

Our breath is constantly flowing. Our blood is constantly moving. Our life force is constantly pulsating. Without these constant changes, we wouldn’t be alive.

If we need change so much, and if it is constantly surrounding us, then why is it so hard when we experience a schedule change, a body change, a haircut? Meditating on the constant change we’re surrounded by has begun to help me accept these sometimes seemingly radical changes in my day-to-day life. Gradually, I’m noticing the acceptance become easier. I felt really sad on Sunday, though I didn’t really know why. Even though I felt really low, I found myself experiencing it and accepting it for what it was, knowing it would pass. Even though I didn’t feel good, I knew that my experiences and feelings would change. I’ll feel better, and then I might not; it will continue to change.

After writing notes on this blog on the train, but before typing it out, I read an article in Yoga Journal online about balancing control and lack-of-control in our yoga practice. As has so often happened to me this past year, I felt a moment of awe. The article was dealing with the same thing I was writing about, was offering ideas similar to mine, and I felt a strong sense of connection to the rest of the world. A gorgeous example of some out-of-control beauty falling into my controlling lap. I’ll smile and go with it. For now, until it changes again.

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