Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Change vs. Transformation

What is it about change? I've never liked it. Give me a routine and I'll happily stick with it for ages. For me, the most unwelcome type of change is one I have no control over, something caused by an oustide situation or someone else. Does this make me a control freak?

My Tuesday evening yoga class is held in a room with a wall of windows on one side, which overlook a lovely garden filled with trees, shrubs, inviting benches and winding paths. Five weeks ago when the class started the sun was shining brightly even as the class ended. Last night it was nearly dark as we were packing up our things. Between the time we lay down in Savasana and when we sat up again, the sun had gone down. During the final moments of the class the teacher asked us to sit and look upon the garden: notice the fall colors of red, orange and yellow, the fading light, and the way nature is preparing for the change of seasons. Only she didn't use the word change; she used the word transformation.

I really love fall, it is truly my favorite of all the seasons here in New England. The weather is at its best: consistently nice temperatures, unlike spring with its raw, chilly winds, up and down temps and rain. We've had a stretch of weather that has been gorgeous for the past couple weeks: 60-70 degrees and sunny, surrounded by the amazing colors of the fall trees. The one drawback to fall is knowing what comes next: the long winter, being stuck indoors and the short days. Seasonal Affective Disorder, anyone? For some reason, knowing this is approaching has always been a damper on fall for me.

Last night, as I sat at the end of yoga class looking upon the vibrant colors of fall, it occurred to me that if I would just enjoy the moment, each hour, each day and not be thinking about what is to come, I'd like fall much better. Its impossible to prevent the change of fall to winter, its a process that must happen each year, just like the changing color of the trees.

I was struck by the word transformation; it has a much more positive connotation for me than the word change. In my mind, transformation is more of a process, not just a singular event, something being different. Each year the trees put on their brilliant show, the gardens die back, the leaves drop and winter comes. Is this change? Yes, but its also transformation, part of a process that must happen in order for spring to come. Instead of fighting the change and dreading the winter, letting it spoil my enjoyment of fall, I need to change my outlook. Clearly, mother nature isn't going to alter her course because I don't like winter! So it's up to me: Stop thinking about what is going to happen in the future and enjoy the nice day in the present!

I was reminded of the Serenity Prayer, something I learned 25 years ago in Sunday school: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the strength to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

We can't stop the changing of the seasons, but maybe a different outlook, seeing it as a transformation, part of the process will help with the acceptance part.

1 comment:

Tina said...

Wonderful post as usual..Wahhh you make yoga sound so damn good!
I have a comment/question/correction?

Coming from a family of addicts and being fluent in AA jargon, I was taught

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.