Change.

In physics and mathematics it is represented by the symbol delta.

 

Mystical aspects of certain cultures may use the ouroboros, a mix of infinity and the idea of the snake eating its own tail. Nothing can escape it. No matter what else happens in life, it is the one constant.

In yoga we often speak of transition. Flowing from one posture to the next, one breath to the next. In times of change, how we handle transition can be graceful, clumsy, or even kicking and screaming.  It can happen in an instant, or it can take eons. The quick ones you have to worry about. When drastic change occurs, it’s usually by way of catastrophic tragedy. The slow change seems more representative of beauty, the pristine white sand beach that formed from the surf crashing into the rocks over the millennia, the drip of mineral-saturated water falling from the ceilings of caves that create the natural sculptures of stalagmites/stalactites over thousands of years.

It’s a tired cliche that life is a roller coaster, filled with ups and downs, peaks and valleys, zeniths and troughs. As younger people we experience great joy and wonder why life can’t be more like this all the time, then ask ourselves if it will ever be different when we are in the boggy darkness of unsavory times. When the major changes happen, thoughts run like freight trains through our minds pushing all else from their path. Will we stay connected to what we see in front of our face, or will we disconnect, hiding behind a veil of nonchalance and the conviction that we don’t really care all that much anyway.
When I was in Costa Rica, a yoga teacher by the name of Maria Garre and I walked along the beach discussing the various joys and sorrows life had to offer. She said that the way to be was neutral, neither swayed by the intoxicating highs, nor devastated by the inevitable lows. It isn’t detachment, but the ability to stay present  with the realization that moments come and go, and to be able to “surf” these waves without becoming overtaken, also avoiding the urge to give a huge fist pump with a great victory.

As a beginning teacher I often ask my students in class what brings them to their mats, what they find while there, and whatever they find, can they bring it out into the world, and how long can they keep it. Currently for me it’s the grace I find between poses that I’m trying to take out. Taking the herky-jerky out of moving from Virabhadrasana II WARRIOR II to Utthita Parsvakonasana EXTENDED SIDE ANGLE to Viparita Virabhadrasana REVERSE WARRIOR then down to Chaturanga and finding the grace of purposeful movement.

Maintaining that same purpose in times of great change, or even little moments of transition can be challenging, but it’s like that picture floating around the social networks, where there’s the “comfort zone” bubble, then separate from it in its own bubble, “where the magic happens.”

Change is inevitable, and it can be frightening, but not as frightening as boredom in routine.

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