On My Mat: Seeing The Bittersweetness of Change and Transition

Human beings must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. ~ Albert Einstein

Change. It is the one true constant in our world, isn’t it?  However, dealing with change requires transitioning – and that often takes determined effort.  Sometimes people think: “well, transition is just another name for change. Right?” Wrong.

Change is fast. Transition is slow. Change can be forced on us. Transition is the key to accepting that change – and it takes different amounts of time for different individuals.

Whether we are healthy, or have a chronic illness to manage, change and transition are a part of living in this world. How comfortable we are with change, how resilient we can be, usually determines how we transition through that change.

Recently, I have been dealing with a fair amount of change…and I have been taking the time to truly feel the bittersweetness of it as I transition into a new way of being. I have been using my time on the mat to really feel what’s going on within me. Change can be small – like a new symptom that makes a slight modification to daily routines necessary. (Spontaneous tears for me recently is an example – irritating for me, but amusing for friends and family.) Or, change can be huge, and affect you inner core to a large and evening surprising degree. For example: My children are transitioning through from adolescence to young adulthood – so I have myself been dealing with my own transition from “Mommy” to “Mom”, from being the centre of their world, to not being the centre of their world anymore. Bittersweet. The bitter part comes from knowing I must let them fly free – that it is the natural way of things. The sweet part comes from knowing that I have done a good job as a mother – because these kids are eager to fly and take on the world in their new adventures. This allows me more time to focus on me – because my identity is changing.

You’d think that would be easy, eh? I can remember many a time over the years when my kids were young that I lamented “Oh, to just have some time to myself!” Now – I have more time on my hands. But my identity as a mother is challenged – I must transition from Mommy to Mom, flying by the seat of my pants as I do so. But isn’t that exacly what parenthood is all about? Flying by the seat of your pants as you try to raise these little beings in your care. Throw in a chronic illness, and periodic emotional lability due to either the illness or the meds for that illness…well, it leads to some pretty memorable moments!

So how do you not fill that free time to excess work or “busy-ness”, and make sure the transition does not negatively impact your health? My remedy? YOGA! I say: take action – do yoga and meditate (whether a walking meditation, relaxing meditation – whatever floats your boat!!)

Yoga can give us the strength and insight we need to navigate change in our lives. Your yoga practice can serve you well during times of change, big or small.  Yoga won’t necessarily keep you from feeling scared, overwhelmed, or confused. But it can help you sort out your feelings, letting you see  what’s happening from a position of non-attachment to guide you through those feelings so that you don’t get lost in them.

Here are some of the key things to keep in mind when dealing with change:

  • Recognize that change is an inevitable part of life. Change is the only constant!
  • Try to see change as an opportunity – an opportunity to try a new way of living. Or maybe open doors to new people. Or maybe just an opportunity to get to know yourself better, and develop your self awareness.
  • Attitude matters!!!
  • Take action of some sort – baby step by baby step. It might be something as simple as taking that first step into a yoga studio, or cracking that new cookbook to begin learning to cook. Have the courage to take that first step.
  • Be willing to let go. If you keep looking back and keep hanging on with a tight grip, you’ll never actually move forward. Stop thinking in “if only’s” – they keep you anchored in the past and keep you from moving forward. Being willing to let go—moment by moment—can by itself be the inner key to navigating change.

When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our
courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no
point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we
are not yet ready. ― Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

Namaste.

Carolyne

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3 thoughts on “On My Mat: Seeing The Bittersweetness of Change and Transition

  1. I needed this tonight, Carolyne. Change is fast; transition slow. I think that is worth meditating on, actually. I’m watching my dad struggle with change. And the changes in his health came upon him very quickly. Now out of the hospital, the transition is slow, and hard to accept. And it’s hard for me, as his daughter, to watch him struggle. So my transitions are in the realm of expectation, but they will be slow. I do know what can be accomplished on a yoga mat, and I’ve been neglecting my practice during the time of his hospitalization. I’m so glad I sat down to read and gt caught up tonight…I needed this post. You share such an important perspective! Debra

  2. Hi fellow yogi,

    Do you have a story of healing or transformation through yoga that you’d like to share with the world? The Yoga Diaries is now accepting submissions and we’d love to hear stories from all over the world!

    http://theyogadiaries.net/

    Please spread the word and help us to spread the light.

    Namaste,
    The Yoga Diaries

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