The Only Thing Constant is Change.
As I write this blog post I am recovering from a bout of some sort of flu / bug. It’s my second illness since September which is totally out of the norm for me. I’ve always prided myself in not getting sick and I think my ego is taking as much of a hit as my body. A long with being physically sick, I’m also feeling stressed and have a bit of anxiety going on.
When I’m ill I find myself reflecting a lot (who’s kidding… I do this all the time!). I’m trying to figure out why I am so stressed and anxious, on the surface I feel I have no good reason to be. But then a few days ago it hit me. I am in a constant state of change. My life looks totally different than it did less than two years ago. In the fall of 2012 I was working full time in IT and living on my own. My yoga practice was flourishing and I was running regularly. Life was good but the same as it has been for many years. I was comfortable and content… but not all that happy.
Enter spring 2013. My IT contract was ending on March 31st and I didn’t have another one lined up. Yoga teacher training had been in the back of my mind for a few years and all of a sudden, it came to the front. A teacher training was starting at Sonic Yoga in New York City mid-April. Everything seemed to fall into place rather easily and quickly and before I knew it, I was living and studying in NYC. I took it all as a sign that this is what I was meant to do. Upon my return from Sonic I still didn’t have a contract lined up so I started teaching yoga. I had an idea to become The Office Yogi one day out for a run. Before I knew it, I was teaching multiple times a day and when I had the chance at a contract, I turned it down. I made the decision to stay on The Office Yogi path and see where that would take me. I’m still here… it’s not been easy, AT ALL, but I do feel I’m on the right path. Not sure what the end looks like, or even what’s around the next bend, but I’m sticking to this path for the foreseeable future.
Just before I jetted off to NYC I was set up on a blind date. Another blind date, I won’t lie… I’ve dreaded every blind date I’ve ever gone on. Some have been wonderful, some not so much. But I’ve gone… I’ve always gone. I wanted to be in a long term relationship and to live with someone, but until this point, there had just been a lot of learning experiences. J This particular blind date went all right, he was a nice guy. So we went on a second date and a third date. Fast forward 18 months and now we are living together along with his teenage son.
So now I no longer dress up in high heels, work Monday-Friday 9-5, or make a lot of money. I no longer come home to make exactly what I want for dinner (who knew teenage boys don’t like spinach!) when I want to make dinner. It’s not just my mess (or lack of it) anymore and I have a lot less closet space. Life has changed A LOT! I wouldn’t change it back for the world and I’m so excited to be on this path but I wouldn’t be honest if I said that all these changes were easy or stress free. I’m working on letting go of old thought patterns and beliefs. I am learning that the opposite of what I believed is often true.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~Wayne Dyer.
Yoga has taught me a lot about letting go; about creating space in your mind to question your beliefs. But my learnings are not just from the yoga mat. I like to think I’m pretty observant and astute. I also think that the universe sends us signs and that you need to be open to see and receive them. As the saying goes “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” The signs / teacher for me, in the last year, have come in the form of books. Books that have reshaped the way I think.
There are three books in particular that have helped me along my path and I’d love to share them with you. The one thing that I love about these books (besides the learnings of course) is that they have very short chapters, mostly 1-2 pages, and they are designed to read one section at a time… no requirement to sit down and really dive in for long periods of time. If I feel like I need to reset or change my perspective, I will often stop what I’m doing, pull out one of the books and read a section for a few minutes. Doing this has worked every time.
Two of the three books are from the Buddhist faith but the words and lessons are for everyone. I encourage you to check out each of these books and perhaps buy one, two or three of them. You’ll want to write your name on them and get a few book marks; I promise you will return to them over and over again.
Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga
By Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
Rolf is a well know yoga teacher who came to yoga after battling addiction for many years. Rolf takes all aspects of yoga (the 8 limbs) and relates them to life off the mat. The book is designed to ready a page a day. I have been reading the book as part of my morning meditation. I’ll read a page and then reflect on that in my meditation. He keeps it real, taking about his own battles and journey. It’s very easy to read and even easier to relate to. Boy do I love this book!!!
Buddhist Boot Camp
By Timber Hawkeye
I started to follow Timber on Facebook and loved his perspective on things. He’s a ‘modern day’ Buddhist who shares his thoughts on everything from Anger to Zen and everything in between. At the back of the book he quotes the Dalai Lama “Don’t try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a Buddhist; use it to be a better whatever-you-already-are.” I think that sums up this book perfectly.
Buddha’s Daughters: Teachings from Women Who Are Shaping Buddhism in the West
Edited by Andrea Miller and the editors of Shambhala Sun
This book is my newest read thanks to a posting I saw from a friend. It’s a compilation of writings from Buddhist women who have helped to shape Buddhism in the West. It’s another very easy read, not esoteric AT ALL. All of these books are like that, very easy to understand and relate to.
Any kind of change can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, I know, I’ve had my share of it over the last couple of years. But as the Wayne Dyer quote above says “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” A shift in perspective can often help dissolve that stress and fear. Reading these books helps provide me with that shift. Maybe they can help you too?