What does it take to really be the change?
We all talk about change all the time—especially in an election year. What does change really mean? Can we really change? I mean, really change? I think we mean well, we talk big, but changing is much harder than we realize. The question is, once we know what it takes to change, will we really want to?
Think about it this way: you want to change a habit (quit smoking/eating sugar/drinking coffee/complaining/whatever) so you start baby-stepping your way toward a more liberated (in your mind) life—healthier, cleaner, simpler.
What happens, almost immediately?
We begin to feel pangs of loss for that habit we’re trying to oust from our lives. We don’t realize how attached we are to the identity of that habit (identity of smoker, cynic, chocolate connoisseur, etc.) until we try to leave it behind. Suddenly, we’re Wile E. Coyote, realizing he’s hanging in space and, with the realization, plunging to the canyon below.
Here’s what I think. We all vibrate (metaphorically) at a very specific, single note. Our true, core selves are like a single guitar string that, when played, possess a very clear and individual tone, unlike any other tone out there. But to hear this tone? That takes time.
Time with yourself, time meditating, time alone, time without the distraction of computer or television or music.
And, man, that’s hard.
When we feel the urge to change, I think it’s because we’re starting to hear that note above all the other noise; suddenly we want to silence everything else and let that note play. Once you begin to do that, you realize how fragile that single guitar string seems (even though it isn’t all that fragile at all), how vulnerable it will be hanging out there on its own. That is the moment when we give up; we decide quitting x or y is just too hard.
We’ll try again next week, next year, or never.
So what do we do? I don’t know, exactly. Listen to yourself, for starters. Imagine if we all began to listen to ourselves, our single note, blocking out everyone else’s noise. How inspired would we be to be true to ourselves, to let our note be heard? Then think of the people you’d invite (or elect, for that matter) into your circle.
You’d decide by listening, right? Because you’d only want to include those notes which make interesting or harmonious chords when paired with your own true note. That’s when change—individual, local, and global—will happen. We all want to make music, no doubt.
Amy Jirsa is a writer, wanderer, yoga instructor and master herbalist. She makes her home at her studio, Quiet Earth Yoga, in Lincoln, Nebraska and on her blog. And if that’s not enough, you can also find her at Twitter @QuietEarthYoga or on Facebook (Quiet Earth Yoga).
Editor: Carolyn Gilligan