15 March 2011

Wandering thoughts about change

Wandering the hills this morning I let my thoughts wander freely too.

I was thinking about walking, why I walk, where I walk, and how it has changed over the years.
I hiked regularly through Horsnell Gully for over 10 years, its quite a work out for most people, climbing up those hills and then down through the steep rocky waterfall into the gully. But after so many years the Horsnell Gully walk had become too easy and it barely rated as a hike for me.

A year or so ago, Gandys Gully became the new challenge. The first few times I walked the trail, it was tough - its a longer, harder, steeper, more rugged hike. But after one year of hiking up here regularly its become a pleasant stroll, although the steep trails would probably cripple most people for weeks.
Soon I’ll be looking for new hiking challenges.

Change is approaching
And it has come about organically, naturally, with no effort.
What once was new, has served its purpose, grown old, and withered away.

I can relate this to yoga.
I picked up the Light on Yoga sequence at week 19 - 21 and did that sporadically for a year or two. Then I decided to take on the increased challenge of the week 22-25 sequence. When I started on the week 26-30 sequence last year I never thought I'd be able to do Padmasana in Sirsasana. Throughout this progression I had no ambition to go further, or get better, or work towards anything. I was just doing a sequence for no reason at all really. But I’d noticed in the past few weeks that week 26-30 was feeling a little stale. Was I just getting bored with it?
Or had it served its purpose, grown old and withered away?
Even though there are still poses I can't do (like Lolasana) the need to move on to the next level felt imminent.

This is change.
And it has come about organically, naturally, with no effort.

I can relate this to my work.
I've been at the art school for 14 years, with a one year break in 2003 at the end of the first 7 years. I love the art school, the students, the staff, the job I do. It's never boring and new challenges arise every day that test my tolerance, my equanimity, my kindness, my self esteem, my humility, the integration of my spiritual practice. Yet I have been feeling dissatisfied, stale, over it, as if it is time to move on, to confront new personal challenges, to grow and live this life more fully.
This change is not being forced upon me. It is happening naturally.
Something is withering away, but hasn’t quite died yet. I am still hesitant about changing jobs, the time is not quite here, the process of dying off has begun but death is not yet complete. I can definitely feel it coming. I trust the universe knowing that deep below the surface a tender new bud is forming.
It is emerging organically, naturally, with no effort.

This happens in relationships.
We tend to hold on to the people in our lives, friends, acquaintences, lovers, even though in our truest heart, we know we have grown and changed and no longer connect with them as we did in the past. Sometimes these relationships just die off naturally and the time comes when it feels better to release them than to hold on to them.
There are no regrets, there is no sadness.
As we ourselves change, and the people around us change, its inevitable that we grow apart.

When two people truly grow together, it is an extraordinary process and a rare gift.

More often than not, people grow apart but agree to support each other from afar on their solo journeys.
Why is it so hard to accept moving on? Going solo? Who said we have to stay married or stay friends when it is no longer nurturing our higher aspirations, when it is actually hindering our journey?
We are all travellers, meeting and parting.
Everyone we meet is a teacher and travel guide.
We ourselves are teachers and travel guides.
And life is one big travel adventure.

"When the fruit is ripe, it will fall from the tree of its own accord"
What a poetic description of how change naturally occurs.
Something grows, then ripens, then it reaches a tipping point when it is so plump that it has no choice but to drop, and finally die away.

Compare this lovely organic process of change with the other kind of change.
The sudden kind.
An unexpected death, the loss of a job or partner or parent, the sudden diagnosis of an incurable illness, or devastation of home and belongings by fire, or flood.
Trauma. Catastrophe.
The ground is swept away from under your feet and you are left stark naked, in shock. Nothing organic about this process. There's no time to get used to the abrupt change that has suddenly altered the course of your life, no time to integrate, absorb, prepare, or build a new structure in place of the old. Devastation rips away the padding of what was known and exposes us to the extreme elements of life.

Change...sometimes it's a beautiful process where something ripens, then withers away allowing space for new possibilities. And sometimes its just a devastating force completely out of our control.


Sarah said...

this is a beautiful view of how we structure experience around a sense of separation and ego.

my fingers move over this like reading braille, to find the texture of self and no self.

wondering about (the illusion of) being separate, attached to reactive nature. i feel therefore i must be separate... i react therefore i must be. conditional. something in me finds this false even as i so obviously live in this way.

The Domestic Yogi said...

I love your last paragraph, beautifully put. I could just meditate on it. Maybe I will write it on my wall.

nobodhi said...

Sarah, your comment shot like an arrow through my heart, and pulled me back from that illusion of separation. The oscillation is dizzying at times.

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