“A change would do you good” so sang Sheryl Crow, and she’s right that a lot of the time a change can do us a lot of good – so why then is it often so damned hard?
One of the main challenges is the pure paradox that change inspires in our attitudes towards it: We either find ourselves chasing after it like a mad thing, hell-bent on revolutionising our yoga practice, our life, our self…and the list goes on. Or we find ourselves sh*t scared of changing anything in our life – ruled by the fear of making the shift out of our comfort zone, lest anything should go ‘wrong’. It’s what I’m calling the “Change addiction – Change allergy dichotomy”. Neither of these perspectives is right nor wrong, and it’s entirely possible that you find yourself dancing on the fine edge between the two attitudes from time to time depending on the situation.
Those of you who know me will be aware that the past 8 months have held a great number of changes for me – moving back to the UK after 11 years living overseas, quitting an 11 year career to focus on yoga teaching…in some ways it might seem I must be pretty comfortable making the dramatic changes. However, it’s not all the box of chocolates it may appear – enjoying surfing the waves of the bigger changes doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to enjoy the smaller and less significant ones. Having just moved to a new city (pretty big change but feels pretty good) I recently found myself getting irate in the supermarket as I was unable to find items I wanted to buy, all compounded by the fact that there was indeed not a bag of quinoa as far as the eye could see! (New supermarket = small change = not making me feel good!) So ironically it seems small changes can put us more out of our comfort zone than the more drastic ones from time to time!
I’ve been reading a book recently talking about the keys to becoming a ‘master’ of a skill, within which there was a really interesting chapter focusing on change, and how to overcome the resistance we may find to change both in our own attitudes and those who surround us. A key point here is the concept of homeostasis – nature’s generous way of providing us with an inbuilt resistance to…you got it…change! So having bitten the bullet to make that change whether big or small, mother nature simply rewards us with an internal mechanism designed to help us keep things the same. This is all well and good when it comes to keeping something like our body temperature even, not so great however when you are trying to make more dramatic changes to your life. So, this explains why when you first jump into that fitness regime, your body sometimes tries to rebel. It also explains why your family, colleagues, friends might not react so greatly to your new life style choice – a kind of social homeostasis I guess – not least because your change maybe has the knock on effect of making them question themselves too. In this latter case, the value of having a support system; a network of people who have been through a similar situation that you can share your experiences with, cannot be emphasized enough.
I guess perhaps the irony of this post then is that I’m ultimately I’m suggesting you change your attitude to change. A good way to start is by examining your attitude to change – what changes do you shy away from? What changes are you constantly chasing? And most importantly – why? I’ve realised that even if you are accepting of change, allowing yourself to get too caught up in your quest for it can mean that you miss seeing the finer and equally beautiful details. Likewise avoiding change can similarly mean you miss out on new opportunities to develop further. At the end of the day it seems we should aim to find consistency in change; to sit our surf board on the wave of change and enjoy the ride no matter how big or how small.
“To find consistency within change is to embrace the unfolding flow” Anodea Judith