Sometimes you’re just traipsing through life without a care in the world then something taps you in the head (loudly!) and you realise that this path you’re traveling on is not really where you want to go.
For me, this thing was yoga.
It had been coming in and out of my life since I was in my early twenties. Occasionally it would step away, but it kept coming back. Like a very persistent suitor, it just wouldn’t leave me alone. Even when I ran out crying or was so angry I wanted to bite through the mat, it kept coming back. When I first realised that there was a relationship forming, I fought it. I’d show up in my worse form – angry, hungover, drunk, reeking of cigarettes, ready to pick a fight. Yet it still stayed, standing silently in the corner while I went through my little drama, giving me space and then moving back in. Somewhere along the line, I stopped fighting it and we became friends. Then, the realisation came that I was in danger of falling completely and utterly in love.
Now I’ve loved many things in my life, but this was the game changer and I knew it.
And like with all game changers, it was time to rewrite the future.
Why rewrite the future?
Well, if you keep going on as you are, your future will be exactly the same as your past. You can get into a million different relationships, but until you stop and have a look at what’s going on with yourself, it really won’t be any different. You can start six thousand new hobbies or go for a gazillion treatments but until you actually look in, the outside will remain the same.
Most people operate on a pattern that they’ve had for ages. These are the lessons we have learned through life, either from our parents, friends or our own behaviours. In yoga speak, they are known as samskaras. They are the patterns that have been repeated so many times that they have become grooves in the landscape of our lives. Some are good. A healthy eating habit perhaps or a past of being caring, but as we are all works in progress, we often find some bits that we want to chip away at to make room for something new.
You’d think it would be as easy as that.
This is one of the processes that take time. It requires a lot of looking back into the past, considerable time alone, and meditation. It is not a process for the faint hearted, that’s for sure. Great memories will come back to you but along with them there will often be rage and despair, among other things. There are moments when you are so frustrated you want to hit a wall, or chew through the floorboards. There are moments you laugh at old jokes and the next thing you know, you are sobbing into your blanket. It is so easy to get stuck in the past, where it is safe and dark, but time moves forward and at some point, you’ll have to emerge out of it. There are parts of your life that you might need to cut loose, and sometimes, without you intending it to happen, you lose people who are dear to you.
My big process took about two years, and then I added 40 Days on top of it just to seal the deal. Some people start with the 40 Days, or 21 Days (because that’s how long it takes to change a habit), but there is always somewhere to make that first step. It requires a commitment to yourself more than anything else, and a burning desire to make things different, and to be different.
As with all changes, a big part of it is a solo journey. You need that time on your own to reflect, perhaps to write, and to just sit in silence, taking note of the patterns of your thoughts. However, no matter what journey you are on, there is always someone else going through something similar, and the universe in all its glory will often bring these people right into your path. So even when you are traveling alone, you never truly are.
I saw this process with a beautiful group of people who took on a 40 Day Revolution. It was a commitment to five days of studio practice, a day of home practice and a solid twice a day meditation practice. Some might have started the journey just to get their asana yoga practice set, but through the 40 Days, things shifted. They shifted. I shifted along with them. It wasn’t an easy journey, but it was a beautiful one. These people showed up day after day in their courage and in their vulnerability, allowing for change to happen. It was the courage of people who wanted something to change and making that commitment to change it.
The thing is, change is a never ending process. You constantly have the chance to rewrite your future. Sometimes, you’ve got your future written down, and then you meet someone you grow to care for. You can play it safe and keep your futures separate or you can take a chance and write a future together. Because you’ve already rewritten your future, you know it won’t be the same as your past, and you know this person is not the same as the persons you’ve tried to write futures with before.
The process of rewriting the future closes some doors; perhaps those ones that have held you in the past, but in place, it opens other doors allowing you to move forward. It is a chance taken, a change made and a life open to ever more possibilities. It is unsafe, unknown and oh so exciting. It is letting go of the life you had for the life you want.