verb: to make or become different.
Why do we feel so jigged up when it happens? We feel tense, overwhelmed, unsure, perhaps skeptical. The difficulty in understanding and processing change is that there is always constant change around us. It is one of the abstracts of life that we have no control over. When we stop and notice it, we can either react to it or we can choose non-reaction. We can interpret it in a negative or in a positive way; pessimism or optimism. That’s the beautiful part. We have the power to choose.
Recently, I graduated from my 200-hour yoga teacher training at WWC. My Monday nights and monthly Saturdays used to be dedicated to finding myself in my path of enlightenment. Every Monday night I packed my little bag with my books and binders and traveled to class with a smile across my face. In the back room of the studio, I would roll out my pink mat, set up my bolster and blanket, and catch up with the other yoginis in the room. Then our gurus would take over and use their magical hands to mold us like putty. That space was welcoming. It was sacred and safe. Sometimes it served as a distraction from our demons and other times it forced us to stare them right in the eyes. We supported one another in a tribal way. It made us cohesive. It made us whole. We shared, we laughed, we learned. Most importantly, we changed.
And then it changed. It ended. And here I am, tossed to the demons, to process and choose how I will handle this big change in my life. I’ve had just about a month to come to terms that I am a yogi now, no longer a yogini. I know the other members of my tribe are feeling the effects as well. But we must have learned something. One yogini wisely shared in her own words that “change is the organic flow of growth” and that “if something really major is going on I will throw myself into my home practice or look even more inward as to what I need during this time, pay attention to that and focus on what I need to to help me.” Prior to the path, both of us probably would have just simply said “it sucks.”
To top it off, I have been blessed with another shift in my universe. I am becoming a mom to my first baby in November and while we are exited and elated, I also have to admit to myself that I am scared. This is the first time that I have given that term any thought. Fear is natural. Becoming a parent is one of, if not the most, pivotal points in a person’s life. The focus turns from the self to the child very quickly. Yes, the body takes nine months for the baby to develop prenatally but who has the time to sit down and think: “Okay, in the next 10 minutes, I am going to focus on processing this change. How am I doing? What emotions have come up? No, next steps, you are not welcome in this head conversation. I will not think about how moody I have been, how much child care is going to cost and I will not reprimand myself for missing yoga this morning. Back to me. Macaroni and cheese… No! Focus. What am I afraid of? What am I proud of? What does the word ‘mom’ mean to me?”
You may be thinking, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Well, you do. We all do. You may not be an expecting parent or a recent graduate moving on to the next step, but every one does have a change that craves their undivided attention, and everyone does have time for that. Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier in the morning. Turn the TV on after your 10 minutes at night. Send the kiddos into the great wide open backyard to play. All it takes is 10 minutes of mindful, thought-provoking brain practice to get into your inner workings. We cannot take care of anything in our lives if we don’t first take care of ourselves.
Think about it as maintenance. Brain maintenance. “Braintenance.” In order to maintain something whether it’s a car, a garden, or a business, we must give it our thought, attention and then energy. The same thing is needed for the changes in your life.
First, think about it. Find a quiet place away from distractions that you can close your eyes, find your breath, and meditate on it. Meditation is about quieting the mind, telling the “vrittis” to go away. “Vritti” literally means whirlpool. Think about that for a second. We have so many thoughts coming and going in our brains that if we can visualize it, it does mimic a whirlpool! Chaotic, continuous, constant. End it. Sit down, focus solely on what you want to focus on. When you ease the mind of distractions, you are giving it the power to think. And then, decide what you want to think about. In meditation, we can focus on one thing, we can focus on just the present, we can focus on an object, or we can empty the mind and not think at all. It all takes practice.
Then, pay attention. Be mindful in the way you approach this. As I shared, changes can give way to all kinds of different feelings. Try to redirect your feelings in a positive way. In this step, be kind and gentle to yourself. You were laid off? That’s terrible and stressful, but maybe spend some time reflecting on your experiences with your past employer and then think about what you want for your future. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling you that it’s time for a career change. Is this step easy? No! We all get caught up in feelings of nervousness and anxiety but it’s all about how you approach and control the situation that has been handed to you.
Finally, give it some energy. You’ve thought about it, you’ve paid attention to it. Now, action may be required. Or not! Maybe you decide that you can accept the change that has come your way and you can just move on. Perfect. Either way, once you identify a change that does need action, you have the ability to sort through your thoughts to be able to make unclouded decisions. And it only takes 10 minutes.
Is this going to happen overnight? No! I am still learning how to a) find the time to do this and b) how to actually do this. It takes baby steps. Our minds need to be nurtured and cared for just like infants. Our brains have needs. Babies need food, love, sleep and all the essential things that make them grow. Our brains need thought, attention and energy. So take your time with this. Every person is different and every brain is different. Maybe you start with one minute, then the next day you do two minutes, and work your way up to 10 minutes. When you do make it to 10 minutes, which you are definitely capable of, you are going to be amazed that a) you found the time to do this and b) you actually did this! If it doesn’t work for you, at least you tried. If anything, it will teach you more about who you are as a person and you know, get to know yourself.
Change your mind about change. It can be a good thing.
I have compiled a few good resources I’ve looked into in working with the mind. Please feel free to take a look. If you feel like you need more help, there are unlimited podcasts, apps, websites, YouTube channels, On Demand resources, etc. Lucky for us, technology these days can help us to improve almost anything. Now put down your cell phone and get to work!