In the immortal words of David Bowie, “Turn and face the strange ch ch changes…time may change me but I can’t trace time”. Plus I would add that I can’t avoid changes and the progression of time, but this addition doesn’t work with the rhyme and meter of the song and therefore I can see why Mr. Bowie kept it short and sweet. Change receives a very bad rep and isn’t well received. Basically, it’s become clear to me that only saints and masters of meditation do not experience feelings of discomfort regarding change. However like anything in life, for me, how I approach discomfort has proven to be the key. With willingness, acceptance, faith, mountains of faith for me; seriously constant vigilance and calling on all my teachers and all of their teachings for strength guidance support and direction, has I been able to shift my perspective regarding change.
Beginning with some background information, ever since I can remember I have never had an affinity for change. Change, defined by me in my past as the embodiment of that which is negative and difficult. Only all of the unsavory ingredients of life encompass and orbit change. Being truthful and honest as I matured, change became synonymous with death. At times, the definition would morph a little to be an ending, a season, a feeling/emotion, a relationship, a career/job or responsibility, but the majority of the time if something was dead or dying it had changed. This perspective, later in life, I can finally see, contributed to my feelings of inadequacy, isolation, loneliness and hopelessness. Only in hindsight and with the benefit of time and age, have I received the clarity to connect the dots and realize that my pessimistic outlook had deep and strong roots in my comprehension and personal definition of change. To quote a long time favorite of mine, George Carlin, “just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it.” Again, I felt that when I was in high school and junior high, I must have been out sick the day my class discussed, studied and mastered the concept of how to properly and effectively embrace change.
During college my opinions and beliefs continued. I was obsessed with avoiding if not attempting to stagnant change. All the while, there was no problem with this train of thought. Honestly discovering drugs and alcohol played a major role in perpetuating the illusion. Don’t get me wrong or misunderstand basically the inebriation kept me from questioning my beliefs but more importantly not evolving. In the clouds I became more comfortable not questioning and really completely comfortably numb. My misunderstanding did not lead to drugs and drugs didn’t lead to my misunderstanding they played on each other. One nurtured the other. Probably my mistaken illusion of change might have continued without drugs and alcohol but by this time I had developed an obsession with drugs and alcohol. So I really didn’t care about growth development and fostering my own self esteem, let alone what I thought about change. I mean really, if I could care less about self esteem does one really think I gave a crap about redefining my personal relationship with change?
The point of this background information is to illustrate how vehemently I detested change. I thank the universe for a shift in perspective. Please don’t get me wrong, change is still difficult however spiritual principles provide me with security and ease in accepting change. It is not by mistake that I have mentioned acceptance. Acceptance, forgiveness, grace, gratitude, joy, honesty, humility, tolerance, compassion are just a few spiritual principles that aid me in approaching change with ease.
My yoga and meditation practice are instrumental in fostering an atmosphere where I can receive the clarity and knowledge regarding which spiritual principle will provide me the most support during trying times of change. Also, for me I have to realize that the past should stay in the past. Paramahansa Yogananda says, “we should remember only the lessons from the past and forget the unnecessary details”. This rings true for me now more than ever. Lessons of strong peace and serenity have become and are my foundation during tumultuous change. For me now, change doesn’t come in just a single serving or a solo shot. More than not, several things change at once, big things as well, instinctual needs like food, shelter, career, geographic location, all the foundations that are integral to defining me. If just one of these instinctual drives is in a state of flux, I feel upside down.
So if the reason for this blog is not so clear, then I will be happy to state it much more obviously, OMG! Yogani Studios, my home for over the past fifteen years and my work haven/sanctuary for over thirteen years, is transitioning. Granted, the physical location is the same, but there will be lots of new faces, new students, new teachers, and definitely new rules. So, before I can break these rules I will have to master them. In addition, change will manifest into new practices and the list of “new” can go on and on and on.
So if it’s easy for me to feel overwhelmed by change right now, and I instruct yoga classes for a living, I can only imagine what the client/student population of South Tampa must be experiencing at this present moment. Which leads me to the main purpose of this blog, which is to feel change, and more than that, transform the emotions that surround change in your life. Rather than becoming overwhelmed by the the negative emotions, choose the spiritual principles to support and nourish you.
Just as a side note, 8 months ago I upgraded my nutritional habits., Basically my diet no longer contains crazy amounts of gluten, dairy and sugar. This being said, I began to feel the aversion to change. When this aversion began to reach a boiling point I placed my new diet on hold. Yes, you damn well better believe I gave myself permission of a little indulgence. A piece of chocolate, a single croissant or a piece of pizza will and has provided wonderful comfort and ease for me. Allowing myself to moderately indulge, giving myself permission to say, during this difficult time yes my faith will see me through and some chocolate will supply my faith with a big boost of joy.
The key, here again, is remembering my lessons from the past. I’m not going to exacerbate the turmoil by devouring four entire chocolate bars, a dozen donuts, four bottles or even one bottle wine (for those out there that drink your sugar, I eat mine). I will allow myself to seek that which will ease my difficulty and increase my comfort. For me I cannot anesthetize myself from the difficulty or the discomfort of change.
So I’m not escaping the emotions, just gently comforting myself. Life is supposed to be made up of light dark, spring, winter, sunshine rain, birth, death, and beginnings and endings. The moon doesn’t mourn the loss of the sun, and the butterfly doesn’t mourn the loss of the cocoon. These natural laws also provide me with clarity and they support my ability to transform my personal meaning of change. They continue to keep my perspective optimistic. Please don’t think that I am a Pollyanna. Remember I prefaced this ditty from the get go with my opinion that only saints and ascended masters experience no difficulty with change.
Remember we are all spiritual beings participating in a human experience. Those activities that can expand my or our spiritual comfort is where we should align. Dance and twirl until your dizzy, cry until you laugh or laugh until you cry. Allow yourself some silly and child like innocence. Do you really think I’m not going to play dress up, thankfully in the privacy of my own home and lip sync my favorite songs like I wrote them? Seriously, I do this on a normal Tuesday. Damn straight I’m affording my self this pleasure as often as needed. Be your own spiritual doctor and prescribed yourself your soul’s medication. Please, just don’t over medicate or overdose. Haha.