No, not the stuff in your pocket or at the bottom of your purse. And not the “change your life today or else” speech or the “you will survive this catastrophic event” speech. I think there’s enough of those around to fill the Library of Congress, thank you very much. No there are other kinds of changes that are often times overlooked or outright ignored. Kinda like the change in your purse, you can let it accumulate until your purse is so heavy you can’t carry it any more and then drama ensues or you can use it to your advantage making change an agent of …well, change…as it were.
In a consumer culture where gratification needs to be immediate and everything has to happen “now” or I’m doing something else and I’ve forgotten all about it, gradual change over time seems to make no sense. It doesn’t fit into things unless it is something that happens to me like aging or interest in my IRA (Well, it’s not making any right now but it could someday if the economy gets stronger). But what about choosing to have goals that are long term? What about choosing to do something where the change will be slow and steady? I was struck a few years ago by an interview with Rachel Brice. One of the best Tribal Style belly dancers in the world, she has a tattoo across her hip which is visible when she is dancing. When asked what it means, she explained that it is a way to remind herself of the foundation of her life in dance. It is a Yoga Sūtra in the original Sanskrit which translates to “Practice consistently, over a large period of time, with devotion.” She has struggled with this and so wanted to commit herself to it in a more intentional and permanent way. Amen.
Sometimes change is slow. It takes persistence and commitment, patience and trust. And while you are on the journey to get to your goal, you may find that you are living your life along the way and that the change is occurring in you as much as around you. In the practice of Yoga there are dozens of goals that people cite for why they do it and what they want to achieve, but the process of being in your body in a profound way, out of your head, opening your heart, changes your again and again and again. Each day like a drop of water in a pool you become more of yourself and unfold to the world. But it’s not a quick process. It’s a being with it consistently over long periods of time because you want it not just for the goal but because you want the process. Because a long-term goal with no short-term benefits won’t get you anywhere but miserable. But slow change over time leads to moments of internal insight, enlightenment, joy, sorrow, and an amazingly fulfilled life full of good surprises. Now if I could just buy me a ration of patience I’d be all set. 🙂