Stop Resisting & be the Change.
“When we are going through some stress, inherently we’ve been bogged down by some level of uncomfortable change. Change can feel violent. It can feel upsetting. It can feel groundless…
Change is not necessarily a good thing. Change is constant. Change is inevitable. That doesn’t mean all change is good or healthy. Some change can be upsetting…that’s okay.
This is when Maitri comes in. It’s okay to feel for ourselves. And be gentle with ourselves. Check in with ourselves. Check in with each other.
Change can actually be fun when we stop resisting it.” ~ Waylon Lewis, Elephant Academy’s Find Your Voice, Summer 2022
At the start of the week, I felt something strange inside my chest during meditation.
Sometimes it felt like thick layers of charcoal-coloured storm clouds speeding across the sky, dumping heavy rain, lightning, and thunder onto the land.
In other times, it felt like watching a star die, transforming and expanding into a black hole, swallowing every particle, every light, every sound into its round, gigantic belly.
And most recently, it felt like being stuck in a muddy pond. My feet and legs sinking slowly into the soft sludge until I was fully submerged.
I wanted to run as fast as I could.
Away from the darkness and stuckness to…somewhere safe.
But I didn’t know where somewhere is, and whether somewhere would be safe enough.
A few days later, I had an epiphany amid the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
I was sitting in the loft of a local coffee roastery, sipping my soy latte in a big vintage glass, jotting down random thoughts in my sage green coloured notebook.
Occasionally, I’d take a glimpse downstairs and watch local residents and office workers, their eyes fixated on their phones, queuing up for the morning caffeine fix.
At one point, I stared at my phone and saw Elephant Journal sitting idly on the internet browser.
Suddenly I knew.
I knew what I was feeling.
That looming sense of darkness was my heart, grieving. Grieving for all the significant changes that had happened in my world recently.
“When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment.” ~ Pema Chödrön
Growing up in a Buddhist household, my father always talks about embracing change:
Nothing is fixed or permanent.
Don’t get attached with objects, people, feelings, ideas–everything.
Accept life as it is, not the way we want it to be.
What we do in the present moment matters the most.
Non-resistance, non-attachment, and non-judgement are keys to enlightenment.
His words have kept me steady, head above the water, while riding the waves of life.
When I feel uncomfortable in my body or my mind, I’d sit still, knowing whatever feeling would pass, eventually.
When I feel unhappy about a situation, I know I’d have the choice of acceptance through doing nothing, or making change through action.
When people around me feel upset about changes, I’d empathise with them, address their concerns, and try to help guide them through their journey.
But my world has been turned upside down like an hourglass in the past six week—conscious uncoupling from my 20-year career, serious family health concerns (yes, the dreadful “C” word), and a major restructure for the Elephant Journal team and community.
When facing each moment of change, I continued to carry on as I normally would:
Acknowledge the change.
Note my feelings and sensations in the moment.
Meditate, journal, and share.
Move on with compassion, acceptance, and actions.
Support people impacted by the change.
But what I did not realise was my already-exhausted body and being were overwhelmed and sinking in the raging sea of change and transformation (as many astrologers would tell us).
Then, of course, my ego took over to “keep me safe” (and small).
She looked like Fran Lebowitz–fast, blunt, fiery, and sarcastic at times. I often saw her pacing back and forth in a dark, old-fashioned home library, shouting at me non-stop–especially when I logged into Elephant Journal each day.
Telling me that my writing was not good enough.
That I was a one-hit wonder.
That the Grassroot article would never get look at or promoted by the editors.
She kept saying I was lazy and unproductive and achieved nothing since I started my break. Either lying around like a sloth or running around like a head-less chook.
In many moments, I could hear myself talking with shame and regret, getting lost in the endless stream of “what ifs,” “should haves,” and “could haves” scenarios.
I panicked about what I needed to do now to “fix” my future, my family’s future, and my writing’s future (if Elephant Journal could not fight Big Tech anymore).
Darkness, fear, and hopelessness took over my peace of mind.
My consciousness was trying to wake me up every day, showing up with vivid imagery and intense sensations I could no longer ignore.
A loud, ear-piercing baby scream brought me back to the present moment in the coffee roastery. I smiled at the flustered, apologetic mother at the table next to me and gestured “don’t worry. It’s okay.”
I took the last sip of my lukewarm soy latte and quickly scribbled in the notebook before heading off to a workshop:
Change is neither good nor bad.
Resisting change brings only suffering.
Behind the storm cloud, the blue sky is always there.
When a black hole dies, it returns to its original and purest atomic form, floating through the vast, boundless universe.
Underneath the mud, the lotus flowers wait until it’s the right time to bloom.
Change is change.
To be fully human, be the change.
Edited by Waylon! Thank you for this. ~ Way