"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Change


A friend who practices at a different yoga studio shared this story recently: The teacher had run the session fifteen minutes beyond the usual ninety. Students were upset, and exhausted. The teacher, someone just out of training, responded by pointing out that dealing with the unexpected is part of the practice. And then she said, "One of the good things about a yoga practice is that it makes you appreciate change. Every time I say change at the end of a pose, you're grateful to move on."

So for the last few times I attended class, I paid attention to how I felt when the teacher said, "Change." And it's true. At that moment I feel gratitude, relief, and more and more a sense of accomplishment that I've managed to stay in the pose for the 20 or 30 or 60 seconds required.

I've always loved change, but with conditions.

The transition time between seasons. The shifting of light from dawn to day to dusk. New territory, both geographic and cognitive. My soul sings and soars during these times of change.

In these late summer days when the wind and slant of light both warn of waning days, I feel the most alive. The sky is a kaleidoscope of texture and color, a feast of visual manna. The air rests on skin like a benediction. Every day feels like a full and finite gift, unique, never to be repeated or duplicated.

It's the ambush changes that are harder to embrace. The strange older face looking back at me from the mirror. Death in any form. Plans that don't follow the plotted route.

I think the key is to hold expectations lightly, and to expect change rather than to try to prepare for it or resist the possibility of it. To reach a point of trust that all change holds equal potential for dark and light, and that my power rests in acceptance.

And to breathe. In yoga we're told constantly to breathe normally, to return to our breath, to breathe through our noses to stay calm and present. Somewhere in the space of breathing, the rhythm of it, the no-brain part of it - that's where the strength to flow with change, both expected and unexpected,  can be found.

17 comments:

Lilith said...

I hate change but what I really mean is that I hate it when things I like change. Things that I don't like, I don't mind when they change.

I love what the yoga teacher said though, makes me look at all change differently.

I just started a new book you might like, "Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World" by Mary Pipher. I think you might like it.

Linda Hoye said...

I am learning to appreaciate change more as I get older. I love what you said about "ambush changes", the ones most definitely hard to deal with.

kario said...

I love the notion that all change holds equal possibilities for dark and light. I'm going to hold on to that notion, if you don't mind. I'm one of those ones who doesn't like to be ambushed, either.

My yoga teacher often remarks that when he asks us to come in to a difficult pose, we all take our time and come into it on our own time, but when he asks us to come out, we all come out simultaneously, instantaneously. It puts a smile on my face every time.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Lovely. Especially enjoyed this: "I think the key is to hold expectations lightly..."

Elenka said...

Thank you....I needed to read something like you provided in your post today.
By the way, your photo up in the corner of your blog is very becoming. If that's what you see in the mirror, I'd be happy if I were you.

Wanda said...

No change = death. But I gotta say...I am not fond of surprises. I never even liked surprise birthday parties.

Patti Lacy said...

We get more resistant to change as we age when age is three-sixths change!
Love you,girl!
NOW CHANGE!! LOL.

Pam said...

It's always hopeful to have a sense of relief after a change, whether its a yoga pose, or anything else. It's unpleasant surprises I have difficulty with, especially if it involves a great deal of expense. Can you tell husband and I are thinking of purchasing and moving? (not to the house in my post thankfully!).Love your writing Deb, and thanks for your comment.

colbymarshall said...

I hate change and love it at the same time. If I let go and enjoy it, I love it. But I can also fight it with a vengeance if I'm not prepared.

Jerri said...

"power rests in acceptance."

Amen.

M said...

Change is one of those things that no one seems to be ambivilent about...they either like it or they hate it. I love how you describe that we need to expect it rather than plan for it. It seems that it's the planned changes that never turn out the way we want it to.

Love you
Mark

Kathryn Grace said...

Someone once accused me of loving change too much! These days, I'm happy for certain aspects of my life to stay exactly as they are so I can keep pushing the envelope, gently, gently, in other areas. But one that surprises me every day:

"The strange older face looking back at me from the mirror." ;)

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"The air rests on skin like a benediction."

"somewhere in the space of breathing, the rhythm of it, the no-brain part of it"

Love that first line. And list second choice - sometimes that is how we get through change. Working for me, right now. As the fog lifts, I'm counting the no-brain part.

Lovely post. Change - if we didn't have it, I suppose we'd forget to breathe.

Carrie Link said...

"To reach a point of trust that all change holds equal potential for dark and light, and that my power rests in acceptance."

NEHBM of this.

Non-resistance. That is my goal this '10-'11.

Suzy said...

"I think the key is to hold expectations lightly, and to expect change rather than to try to prepare for it or resist the possibility of it. To reach a point of trust that all change holds equal potential for dark and light, and that my power rests in acceptance."

Wow- stunning writing. Don't know how you do it so flawlessly, but I want to be you when I grow up.....

Love you,
Student in the back of the class...

Suzy

Amber said...

"I think the key is to hold expectations lightly, and to expect change rather than to try to prepare for it or resist the possibility of it."--

I hear you talking, sister. Preach it.

:)

Katie Gates said...

Wow. So much to think about in this post! I once heard the perfect definition of expectation: premeditated resentment. While it doesn't always pan out that way, there's wisdom in that definition! As for change? That's really ALL there is. When I get in a funk, I try to remind myself of impermanence. (And I breathe.)