Changing your life, phoenixes and tapas

Often what we see on TV, in movies or read in self-development books or blogs makes changing ourselves and our lives out to be a fairly straightforward process. That it will be an uphill climb, but a steady one, with maybe one wrong turn before reaching blue skies at the summit. Perhaps what I write on here makes it out to be that way too. So I just wanted to say changing your life isn’t easy.

First of all it’s hard to make the decision to change your life, because remaining where we are and ignoring any signs from our bodies or minds or even the universe that anything is not right is easier than listening to them (in the short term at least). Then, when the signs have been noted and the decision made it’s incredibly difficult to actually start. Just like any time we decide to start something new (be that jogging; a new class; a gym membership) staying on the sofa is so much easier than getting out of the door.

Changing your life takes time & isn’t a straightforward journey

I wanted to change my adult life pretty much from the time I stopped uni and started working. That’s not me complaining about having to work, my life just wasn’t looking the way I wanted it to look. But I carried on the path I was on, whilst complaining about it and often feeling frustrated/unhappy for 5 years. That’s how long it took for me to start listening to myself.

Reaching the point of taking action on changes you want to make is hard and can take a long time. I think it’s important to acknowledge that. But what I also want to note is that the process of change itself is hard too.

Recently things have been feeling a bit harder for me. Not in a downbeat way, but there have been some challenges and I’ve been feeling a little lost on my personal journey. I started to question the changes I’d been making, my whys and everything; I was getting down about it until I realised it was okay. A process of change is not, should not be, a steady and clear trajectory.

To be honest it’s messy and there are times when I feel like I’ve taken myself apart and all the pieces are floating around avoiding being put into any coherent order. And that’s okay.

I guess I wanted to let you know that I don’t always wake up knowing exactly what I’m doing, where I am on this journey and where I’m going. I don’t want people to read this blog and think I’ve found some magic answer. I haven’t, there probably isn’t one (sorry).

But what I have done is learnt how to listen to myself better (still working on it), to find the question if not the answer, and to keep on going.

Tapas and Phoenixes

There is a yogic concept, part of the eight limbs of yoga, called Tapas which means ‘discipline or burning fire’ (not small dishes of delicious food). Tapas is having the discipline to show up every day to do the work – the work that is right for you in that moment. I think a lot of this is needed when we’re working to create change (which, really, is always because life is motion). And perhaps this is why Phoenixes are born from flames.

So, no, changing anything about ourselves and our lives is never going to be easy. There will be lots of steep uphill bits and many, many wrong turns. But, there will also be flat sections, surprising emerald lakes around what you thought was a wrong turn and not one, but many, summits with stunning views.

About ecarr

Ellen is a writer and theatre maker who has just taken the freelance plunge after too many years of 9-5 office life. She is a yoga teacher in training and passionate about pursuing your dreams.

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