January, for much of the world, is a month of beginnings. We firmly decide on New Year’s Resolutions, speak openly about clean slates and new starts, and naturally generate a feeling of moving forward, of change, of growth.
But what happens when you don’t feel like change is happening the way you want it to? I feel as if I’ve spent the entirety of this month trying to force change upon myself. And, honestly, sometimes we need to find change and better our habits. But the reason I have been trying so hard is that I feel somewhat stagnated—like my life is not moving forward as much as it used to. There are a lot of reasons for this. One of them is that my dad was in the Air Force growing up, and so I’ve never lived in one place for very long. Another is that being in school keeps things changing on a day-to-day basis—and I loved that. Now that I’ve graduated from college, school—for the foreseeable future—is not in my life anymore. Now, I live in one place. And I stay in one place. I have a job, responsibilities, and a dog to take care of. With all of this, change is happening less and less. My husband and I have gotten into a routine. And while all of these things sound like good things (because they are!) I’m not used to them. The routine that so many of us need feels uncomfortable to me. And so I’ve felt the need for some type of change.
During Candace’s 4:30 pm class just a few Sundays ago, she held us in the poses we tend to think of as “in between” poses, and held us in postures for longer. I have been trying to force change in subtle ways for long enough that I’ve begun to feel strained—and it showed that Sunday. As we held poses I felt my body straining against me. I gave up holding again and again and again. My legs shook. I didn’t even give my body time to settle in Twisting Chair before leaving it. In short, I felt like a mess. Like a failure. And then Candace spoke to my soul.
She said that it’s ok to be in the in between, that space between what has happened and the change that is still to come. She spoke about having the patience to live in the moment without worrying about what’s coming next. To just breathe. To stop trying to force things and just let them happen as they come. And I realized, as she was speaking, that that’s how new beginnings really come about. When we stop focusing on the future and live in the moment, we can go with the flow and change comes more easily. And that’s not to say that change will come right as we stop looking; but it will come. I just need to stop waiting around for it.
After that class, I reassessed how I was living my life. January is a month we feel needs to be filled with change and growth. And sometimes, that growth is important. But if nothing big changes, don’t think of it as stagnation. Think of it as patience. The in between periods of life don’t have to be agonized over. Instead, stop and enjoy the stability. Let yourself breathe so that when change does come, it won’t overwhelm you.
How has this month gone for you? Let beginnings as well as periods of stillness become a part of the moment. Practice yoga and all is coming—you just have to have the patience to let it come on its own time.