We’ve all had those times in our lives when we’ve felt like the rug has been pulled out from under our feet, when an unexpected change suddenly turns our life upside down. Sometimes we are happy with these surprising events as we know they’ll work out well for us despite the initial mixed emotions. However, at other times, when we can’t initially see how the circumstance could possibly be good for us, they can create worry, anxiety, dread, anger, fear… all those wonderfully uncomfortable feelings. Either way, sudden change can be an emotional rollercoaster. Questions of, “What now? Where do I go from here? How did this happen? Who’s responsible for this?” start whirring through our thoughts.
Prior to starting my personal Yoga practice, such events would send me into a complete panic mode, with ensuing health issues, which was totally counterproductive. I felt powerless as if I had no control over anything (closet control freak). Yoga taught me that there are things which are within my power (at least partially); control of the breath, the witnessing of thoughts, feelings, emotions, my responses to them, how I speak to myself and others, etc. Over the years, my reactivity to external situations has gradually declined with practicing what is learnt on the mat, and off the mat. However, I’m aware of the occasions, when I’m tired or not present. At these times the reactivity can still creep in and I revert to the emotional intelligence of a toddler once more. That too can have its benefits though.
However, when that sudden change involves someone or something that you love, the stress involved is often multiplied as the stakes feel higher. Such change requires us to let go of our attachments and of who we think we are before we can receive the new growth and awareness that is waiting for us. We have often become comfortable in our old life or way of being and, because of a common aversion to change, there is a tendency to want to stay where we are. This leads to potential stagnation rather than moving with the flow of life. Problems arise when we cling to the old way, believing that somehow that was better because we weren’t being challenged to expand our consciousness, Expanding our consciousness can admittedly be uncomfortable initially until it is fully embraced. However, in wanting to go back to how things were in the past, we are merely making a choice to suffer.
Instead, we can make a conscious decision to trust that whatever happens is for our highest good and that all will become clear in time. It’s about acknowledging and trusting in our own/higher power and having confidence that, with this connection, we can handle whatever comes our way. We practice connecting with this power each time we step on the mat, not knowing what will happen in our practice but learning to accept it all, doing our best but letting go of our attachment to results. Remembering that we are just practicing, our reactions to such situations do not need to be perfectly “textbook,” frees us from self-judgement and enables us to practice Ishvara Pranidhana or self-surrender which then helps us to find the gifts of peace and freedom in our own lives no matter what our external situation is.
When that rug gets pulled out again, pause, breathe, trust and repeat.