living in a changing world


Life is all about change. Some of us love change, others hate it, but we all have to cope with the continuing ebb and flow of life.

Much has been written about change and strategies for coping, but, whoever you are and wherever you live, there’s no doubt that, at some point in our lives, we all have to deal with the consequences of change. These events may be big life-changing events (bereavement, divorce, moving house, job loss, etc) or smaller events (and I’m sure you have millions of examples!).

Recent political events here in the UK have delivered many surprising and unexpected changes over the last month and there’s clearly more is to follow. Whatever you think and feel about this changing world, I wish you the resilience to deal with what happens next. I’m sure we all have different views and different attitudes towards dealing with what is happening and, for me, therein lies the rub!

Maya Angelou, the American poet, author and civil rights activist, said that,

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Some of us may embrace this attitude, whilst others find this view challenging, and, no doubt, there are various views along the spectrum.

It all depends on how we view change: that will come from our life experiences, the lessons we have learned, the values we hold, our family background, the expectations we set ourselves, together with the many other layers we have accumulated that make up the personality we show to the world.   If we peel back our layers, like removing the layers of an onion, what lies at the centre is our true self, our real essence that makes who we truly are.

Becoming more aware of who we really are underneath all the layers we have accumulated through life can help us understand better how we deal with change. If we better understand the attitudes we continually express, we stand a better chance of being able to change those attitudes.

This is easy to say, I know. Let’s face it, change can be much more than “challenging”, which is a word often used when we really mean it’s downright difficult!  Unexpected outcomes can create stress and anxiety, so it is good to have something in our own internal “toolbox” to deal with these situations or, rather, to help us manage our own reactions to these events.

For me, yoga has helped me come to terms with change and significant life events. The older I get, the more I realise how damaging the physical, mental and emotional baggage we carry around is to our body, mind and spirit. Learning to become more self-aware gives choice and, with choice, we have options.

Yoga really is much than the often- perceived need to be physically flexible or the ability to perform a headstand or wrap your legs around your neck! Yoga is a philosophy for living which enables us (all of us, if we want) to learn more about ourselves and open our minds and hearts to how we can live and love to our full potential. In doing this, we contribute to a better world.

 

©  Sarah Swan  (July 2016)

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