“Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It’s a very tender, non aggressive, open-ended state of affairs.” ~Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
If you have been coming to my yoga classes lately you may have realized that I have been reading this quote from Pema Chodron a little more often as the end of class inspirational reading. It is one of my favorite quotes and I find Pema Chodron so inspiring especially in her point of view during times of transition. You can find a copy of “The Pocket Pema Chodron” that I read from in class here. With the change of our Studio model things have really been in flux and I have drawn much comfort in her words of wisdom.
As my husband will tell you, I am not a big fan of change, and find it very challenging, but know sometimes that it must happen. It is hard in times of transition to realize that these changes are happening ALL THE TIME! Some big changes can affect you more profoundly including: getting married, having your first child, having your second child, severe illness in the family, leaving a job you have been in for a long time, beginning a new job, and even something as simple as working out a new commuter route when you have moved to a new area. In these times, it is natural to feel "off center" having expanded your boundaries it takes a bit of time for the new reality to settle in. I remember when we had our first baby, Gabriel at the moment when we were discharged from the hospital Jason and I looked at each other and paused for a moment. It was time to go home with our new baby. We paused a bit longer. both thinking "They're going to just let us take him home?" Wasn't there some kind of test we should have to take like you would when you get your driver's license? We were amazed, there was no test. After a while, we did go home and start to work out how to navigate the joys and endless puzzles of parenthood. Our job description as parents is always changing with the stages and phases that our children are going through. Our little inside joke that most parents can probably appreciate is that "Once you think you have got the rules of the game all figured out, the whole game changes". This can sometimes be paralyzing, as you don't want to ever make the wrong decisions as parents. Even with the help of many parenting articles and books and newsletters at times we are still left unsure of what to do and have to have faith that things will just work out so we can move forward. I have often heard the quote from John Burroughs that says " Leap and the net will appear" meaning that if you make a leap of faith on something that you truly believe in, something or someone will appear to accept what you are reaching for and not let you crash to the ground. The universe will conspire to facilitate you reaching your true goal. As often as I remind myself of this, I have many times held fast to the words of Thomas Jefferson that say "When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on".
Open Hearts and Minds
I am so grateful to be able to witness change in such a profound way as I do in the growth and change I see in my kids. Just this morning, Gabriel stood at our “growth chart wall” and pointed out that he is already taller than where we marked the wall in the beginning of February! Both Mikaela and Gabriel love it when we put the mark on the wall to see how much they’ve grown. When Gabriel was only a baby I would delight in the notable changes that would happen when he went through a growth spurt. First I would notice an insatiable hunger. It was the type of signal that said “Fuel, Fuel, give me more fuel, I’m spending a lot of energy growing!” Then I would see a visible change in the length of his torso and finally his legs would catch up, at least that was my perception of it. Going through this process taught me not to question the ques of my child. It kept me open to observing what was happening with my kids in the moment and doing my best to listen to their needs. Sometimes they really do need to eat more! Knowing that we work really hard to feed our kids healthy foods, made it really clear that it was truly fuel he was needing and not a sugar fix. It was in these moments that I would sit back and just observe in amazement the miracle of this little human being coming into his own.
Tender Non-Agressive Open Ended
I love this part of the quote about transition “It’s a very tender, non aggressive, open-ended state of affairs.” I will often repeat the words to myself as a reminder that even though transitions do put you in a very vulnerable state, they allow tremendous opportunities for growth. I remind myself to be gentle and mindful and to treat myself with care. It can be so easy in these moments to fall into bad eating and sleeping habits that will only make you feel worse and affect your health and mood negatively. So, in times of change, take good care of yourself, be gentle, and remember you are in an open ended place that can allow for endless possibilities.
Frances loves to share her point of view on many topics including: healthy recipes, anatomy studies, any kind of movement practice and fun stories about life in general.