One of the things I am always wondering about is how can we make the changes in our lives that are not only necessary for some specific reason, but that would actually bring us closer to who we truly are, and what it is that we most desire. While I have explored with myself and others many, many reasons for resisting what we most need to do, it still confounds me. And while there are those who have laid out clear maps to what stops us and how we can change, more often than not, we don’t.
What’s going on?
I just can’t seem to accept that we would work so thoroughly against ourselves. Sure, maybe we don’t feel like we deserve it. Maybe we don’t know any other way. Maybe, as Freud would have said, we have a death wish. But still…Something continues to nag at me. It feels like there is something that is so much Greater than all the roadblocks we put up, that is just bursting to get out.
This past week I had a mundane experience around all of this that felt anything but mundane. I take a weekly yoga class that has been bringing me through road construction that is slated to last for four years. Right at the beginning of this, my husband gave me an alternative route to take. But the first time I tried it, I overshot where I was supposed to turn off and had to spend time trying to figure out how to get back to where I was going.
Since I don’t have GPS or a cell phone, it truly was me trying to figure it out. It created some tension over being late for class, so I never tried it again. Only, the delays have been getting worse; in response to which, I have been leaving earlier and earlier.
But for some reason, unknown to me consciously, this week an impulse came over me to try the alternate route again. It was incredible! The roads took me past farms and wild life sanctuaries. The mountains in the distance stood in contrast to a clear blue sky with fluffy white clouds sailing along. I saw two hawks sitting on top of a barn overlooking their domain. It was all so magical. And it took far less time, and I was far less tense.
What the heck had I been resisting? Prior to trying the new route, like a rat in a maze, I was immersed in a myriad of traffic lights, construction, car congestion, pollution and stress. Not to mention moving through a kind of visual urban ugliness. And right next to it, this whole time, was a kind of traveller’s paradise that I had been turning my back on.
I know we can prefer the devil we know and I know there are many, many facets to why we change and why we don’t. But on that day, it felt like beyond all the specifics, all the things we do and do not know in this regard, it really does boil down to some kind of unconscious readiness. Some kind of alignment with what already exists within us, or at the very least, right next to us. And while we can know some of what allows us to be ready or not, there is also something mystical at play here. Something unknowable by our rational minds that want it all to add up so perfectly in terms of exactly what we need to do. Leaving us to believe that there is some magic formula code out there that we just need to break.
This makes sense to me. Think about all of the advice, all of the information, all of the programs and all of the degrees and theories that focus on change. You would think we would have it figured out by now. Since we don’t, there has got to be more to it. More than it’s because of our past, or because we are weak, stubborn or without willpower.
What if all the doing has us running right past something? What if instead of trying to fit ourselves into the existing models, the million dollar question we need to be asking ourselves is, “Given that I want something else, what do I need to do in order to be ready?”
Bottom line? What if instead of all the efforting and all of the failed doing, this is about accepting what is already there and already wants to happen? This then becomes an issue of timing and evolution; like a flower blossoming in the spring that has done nothing more than say “Yes” to its time. This is in no way to say we give up or make up excuses. Instead, I am proposing we wonder what it would be like to believe that there is more to what we know about change. And from there, to tap into what it is inside, beyond good and bad, that wants to change, and ask it what it needs to blossom.