Infinite cycles of change (and how this is good)

Nov 22, 2011

My yoga instructor is fabulous. Off the bat, I was drawn to her personally, but didn’t necessarily think she was going to be the best instructor I’d ever had – she was slow-paced, got far fewer poses “in” in an hour than I’d ever experienced in the U.S; spent more time on relaxation exercises than physical stretching; and used a lot of words while working toward each pose. She no doubt sensed my impatience, and pointed out gently one day that I was getting into the poses too quickly. I didn’t argue and fortunately not only gained a better understanding of why she felt this way, but also a metaphor for life:

It’s about process, not the end position.

I’ve heard this before. Once a “creativity with art” instructor of mine used this theme throughout each class. It helped me enjoy each one better, but I still wanted a pretty piece of artwork at the end.

Now, 10 years later, I can say that the message is starting to sink into my daily life.

Just this past week, I reconnected with a good friend (been doing more of that lately, thanks to insights shared in earlier posts). After exchanging some of our recent life experiences of late, he commented, “Boy, I really had this underlying expectation that, by now [we’re in our 40s], things would be getting pretty easy in life.”

Process. Life is full of it. So what do I mean about this being such a good thing? In yoga, I’m noticing that when I listen carefully to my instructor and following the well thought-out steps toward getting into a position, the end result is FAR better than when I rush into what I think is correct. The good stuff is IN the process and not the end goal.

Taking it further . . .

I recently met a woman, 50 or so, who is a therapist-coach and followed the same Organic Coaching training as me. Because she also lives in Haarlem, I requested a “date”. I was a little nervous going into it – she has far more experience, we don’t know each other at all, and I didn’t know what to expect. Yet, I stayed focused on my “personal team-building” process. So we sat and talked for an hour, and I soon realized that she was getting as much out of the connection as I was. Recently divorced, new to the area, starting over – which meant we had a lot in common. We both talked about our difficulties getting established with our work in a new place. Along the way, we touched on our barrier-causing “perfectionistic” tendencies and some beautiful things were said. Based on one of the methods we learned in our training, we came to the following joint definition:

Perfection is no one fixed state, but rather the acceptance of an infinite cycle of change.

Take nature’s four seasons as an example, which we agreed is quite “perfect”:

Spring:        energy, growth, stretching, trying, reaching, learning

Summer:   stability, steadfastness, routine, control

Fall:              reaching limits, acceptance, rest, letting go

Winter:       dormancy, settling in, reserves, preparing for renewal

and the cycle begins again . . .

You can see the same kind of “perfect” phases in the human life cycle: 1.Child, 2. Adult, 3. Elder, 4. End of life). Maybe even your own personal, career, or other cycle?

Upon further reflection, it feels like I’m on a new journey out of the “routines and steadfastness” that have been running most of my adult life (where I was striving for perfection), and now enjoying healthy doses of “acceptance and letting go.” It’s a good place to be, and I can’t help but sometimes wonder, “how long with this last?” but try to answer with “as long as I let it, nurture it, stay aware.” Aware that there is no perfection, except for the acceptance of an infinite cycle of change . . . . insights, awareness, acceptance, growth, development – and it’s all good.


Cara Crisler
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