Monday, April 7, 2014

surrendering to transformation

we all need some transformation. there's always room for change, for finding something more full, more truthful, and more closely aligned with our best self.

i'm constantly looking for things to ignite further transformation: images, advice, mantras, meditations, reflections, yoga practices, coaches, mentors... i want to push it, ignite it, stoke the flame, and feel the transformation blaze and burn through to better, to my best.

but half of transformation is surrendering. it's those times when i'm soft, open, and at peace that embers of transformation really start to catch. that little starter flame inside just needs oxygen to get it going: that space where i pause and breathe gives my inner fire room to grow.

this morning i did a yogaglo class about transformation. i made some assumptions about how the class would play out: about what asanas we would practice, about how the teachers would approach the class, and about how i would feel as i went through it. i was about 95% wrong. the class was amazing, and it certainly ignited something... but mostly in the spaces between asanas. when i paused, stopped, and really felt, i could feel it happening. i could notice my mind shift, and i started to feel more inner space being forged through the controlled burn.

how much time do we spend approaching problems in the opposite way, though? how much do we try to force things? to push through? to search for the answer as quickly as possible? as if knowing something sooner is what we need. i do this with relationships, and i've seen at least one of my besties do it too. i want to know whether something is going to make or break a friendship or romantic relationship. i want to know if the relationship is worth continuing. i want to know how the other person is going to respond to something. i want everyone else's opinion on how this whole thing is going to play out. analyze, analyze, analyze, do, do, do.

(pause) (breathe)

when i stop the activity, i usually already know the answers. when i surrender, when i allow space, i know where to go. i know which path to follow. i can hear my heart forging a new path, and i can begin to follow it.

it's particularly hard to allow that space in the midst of a challenging situation, whether it is part of relating to others or to ourselves. one of my closest experienced a rejection from a scholastic program earlier this year, and then, last week, from a job he had spent a lot of time working toward and interviewing for. i could see him looking for the shreds of "why," analyzing what could have been done differently, and making the attack plan for next time. i felt a little helpless and heartbroken watching this. i wanted to offer comfort, assistance, inspiration, distraction... whatever would feel most helpful to him.

another close friend has been feeling panicky about her mothering skills: anxieties and fears that she isn't good enough or strong enough as a mother have been haunting her recently. listening to her shaky voice, and hearing of the time she has spent in tears, is equally distressing to my heart.

i think both of my friends are ready for some transformation. and i'm pretty sure they know it too. i'm not suggesting that the first friend should completely lay back and let his career just "happen," and i'm not suggesting the mother should ignore the struggles her daughter is helping her find. but i think that these challenges are exactly what they needed.

because each challenge in our life is always EXACTLY what we need. whether or not we choose to see it or acknowledge it at the time.

so i'm looking at a challenge in my life right now, and i'm saying thank you to that challenge. for the transformation it may inspire. for the new self that will come out on the other side. ...but i'm not going to force it. i will breathe a little in that space and start to fan the flame. i'm pretty sure the transformation will happen. it's clearly just what i need.

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