Tuesday, April 17, 2007

change

How many of us deal well with change? I like to think I do, but the honest truth is, you often have to carry me into change kicking and screaming.

I've made some huge changes in my life in the past year: I started a romantic relationship, changed singing teachers, applied for and was accepted into an Alexander Technique teacher-training program, closed my eco-friendly cleaning business, moved to a new city, started school, started a professional organizing business, and returned to a freelance writing business I'd set aside years ago.

Change? Piece of cake. Life was full, rich, exciting and interesting. I took everything well in stride. Or so I thought.

Then I broke up with my boyfriend.

Now I find myself coming home to an empty apartment. I check my voicemail. I hear Jim Carrey's voice in my head, reciting his character's line from The Cable Guy: "Nobody loves me."

I cry.

How did I go from being loved and cherished (and telephoned at least once a day by my beloved) to being alone? I want a do-over.

Strangely enough, I received a pertinent e-newsletter from Yoga Journal in my inbox today. It began:

How is it that when life is spun around by circumstances, benign or otherwise, some people flail while others sail? Why do some of us wallow in that place where we're so shocked and unhappy about an unexpected turn of events that we resist reality and find ourselves mired in bitterness or fear or hopelessness? Instead of accepting change with grace, we dig in our heels and suffer through each day of things not being what we think they should be. What's the secret to riding each new wave gracefully?

I was ashamed to recognize myself in the above paragraph. (The "mired in bitterness, fear, or hopelessness" part, if you must know.) Turns out that yoga mindfulness practices can help with the emotional fallout of change. Two quotes jumped out at me:

Accept Impermanence. Every day, repeat a gatha (mindfulness verse): "Great is the matter of birth and death; impermanence surrounds us. Be awake each moment; do not waste your life."

You can separate your feelings from your response to them. By distinguishing your core emotions from those that pile on afterward, you don't limit your emotional life; on the contrary, you unclutter it. As Boccio says, it's the clutter that leads you away from your true experience and into murkier territory.

I (who make a living from reducing clutter) had never thought about uncluttering my emotional life. What a concept.

You can read the entire article yourself, here. See if you don't start to look at change in a new way...

copyright 2007, Michelle Lynne Goodfellow

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