I sat in the chair of a new-to-me hair stylist recently. Gosh…the nerves. Amiright?
As a yoga teacher, you may think I don’t care about such things like my hair. You would be wrong. I love beauty and hair care, especially with a natural focus. Anyway, my stylist turned dear friend in Pennsylvania is wonderful, she really understood my style, and I always felt warm and welcome in her chair. So, when it came to finding someone in RI to literally take my head in her hands, I was nervous.
Turns out, this new stylist is pretty great not only as a colorist, but as a human. And, it would turn out that we have wayyyy more in common than I ever would have expected.
Our conversation went from balayage to babies to business pretty quickly. We talked about yoga and clients and energy and how RI breeds insane drivers. But, what really struck me is the amount of change that we both continue to experience at this point in time - at work, at home, and personally - even when we thought we were done for awhile.
And, when I really think about it, nearly EVERYONE that I’ve come across in the last month has been going through immense amounts of change. The change could have been welcomed or not. It might have been met with excitement or grief. It might have generated tears of joy or despair. It could have been secondary change felt from an organizational or a cultural shift.
Is there something in the astrological chart here for this specific moment in time?
I’m certain there is, but here’s what we know from a yoga perspective:
The only constant in life is change. The only thing that’s permanent is impermanence.
How do we find comfort amongst the discomfort? First, we must accept where we are wherever we are. We meet ourselves where we’re at. We feel the discomfort and allow it to move through our bodies and minds. We recognize that every emotion, every thought, every feeling, every situation will not last forever (even when it feels like it) and that this will pass, too. But, ONLY if we allow ourselves to be with the discomfort, the dis-ease.
And, sometimes when we allow ourselves to go there (what society might call wallowing), we might see or feel this glimmer, this spark of light. Like, ohhhh, maybe that’s where this change is taking me. Perhaps it’s pulling you closer to living near the ocean, or a loving relationship, or connecting you to your work/dharma in this life. Perhaps on this other side of this change is an experience more beautiful than you can imagine, a life lesson so rich that you’ll never be able to forget it.
I believe that. I believe it SO HARD.
Change is an expression of tapas, one of the Niyamas (or principles that guide us toward harmony) of yoga. Tapas means to ignite the purifying flame, to sit in the fire of something…well pretty damn challenging…and allow it to transform us. We can cultivate tapas in our physical yoga practice when holding a Warrior 2 or Triangle for elongated counts of breath, literally feeling a burn. As always, the asana is a metaphor for life.
Nischala Joy Devi writes that the true reward of tapas is “to understand and accept all challenges as gifts that enhance clarity.”
Who would have thought? That whatever challenge, often in the form of change, you’re experiencing might guide you to enhanced clarity and focus? How beautiful, yes?
And, trust me, I get it. Change of any kind is hard. It’s uncertain, confusing. It can induce grief and sadness. It can be exciting and nerve wracking. It can be uncomfortable and a little frustrating. And, yet…if we allow ourselves to go to the “scary” places, to the unknown, we might ignite our own flame. That flame that eventually becomes the torch that lights our path and guides our way.
So, if you are going through change of any kind, I see you. Welcome all the emotions, all the feelings. How is it sitting in your body? What emotions are coming up? How are you listening in? How are you taking care of you during this time? Amongst any amount of pain or discomfort, have you felt or seen the glimmer of excitement, of new possibility? The constant pain will pass. You will feel like you again. Give it time and trust. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts with me by replying right to this message. I respond to every one.
P.S. We discussed other ways of moving through change at my first Live Stream yoga class last Thursday. It was incredible! 20 yogis. 8 states. $300+ raised. I loved the many exchanges of hello and goodbye, and a beautiful start to the day. To you all, I say thank you. What a wonderful way to continue our Yoga Dear community, yes? ;)