This entry was written by Michael J. Formica, MS MA EdM, Editor and Project Coordinator for LBBC who, as a mental health and education professional with more than 25 years of experience, also blogs regularly at Psychology Today. Michael is an Initiate in the Shankya Yoga lineage of Sri Swami Rama and the Himalayan Masters.
During the month of January and in honor of LBBC’s 20th anniversary, Michael has committed to writing follow-up blogs reflecting the emotional appeal of the blog published the day just before his. In this blog, Michael explores the concept of change suggested in Lauren Ainsworth’s “New Year – New Name – Same Time – Same Place.”
One of the things that I often tell my own students is that Yoga is a practice of inches. Change may come gradually, but it will always come because it is inevitable. In fact, when you think about it, change is the only true constant in our lives.
Sometimes the change that we experience is simply a matter of course. Sometimes it is not of our own making, and simply dropped into our laps unexpectedly, inexplicably and with no warning. These are the changes that it is most important for us to embrace, for it is in these changes that we find the lessons that will, ultimately, change us.
Embracing change, whether that change is outside of us or part of our interior landscape, is one of the keys to our positive personal evolution. If, rather than fighting against unexpected–or even unwanted–changes, we see them as part of the cycle of our larger experience, then it’s possible for us to find an important balance point.
Finding this place of balance we then have the opportunity to deflect the anxieties–large and small–that often accompany almost any change, because we are taking the time to consider the whole experience, rather than limiting ourselves by putting things into categories like “good” or “bad”, “light” or “dark” or “happy” or “sad”. From here we are no longer judging, living in fear or slavishly reacting to our ongoing inner dialogue. We get to have our whole experience, feel all of our feelings and remain in center, simply allowing events to unfold.
Change is an inevitability over which we have no real control, but it is also a tool that empowers us if we choose to see it as a vehicle for our own transformation. We often fight against change because, when things are no longer as we want them–or even need them–to be, we don’t feel safe. Feeling unsafe is one of the great opportunities that change presents to us because it can prompt us to be courageous in the face of our own discomfort.
Courage in the face of our discomfort–exploring our “edge” and moving past the sense of our own limitations–is one of the primary intentions of Yoga and it is a lesson that we can take off the mat. When facing, embracing and accepting change, we become the courageous architects of our own lives, and no longer someone who sits on the sidelines, waiting and wondering what is going to happen next.