How To Embrace Change for a More Joyful Life
With the weather shifting from summer to windy fall, we are reminded that nothing is permanent. Whether your look forward to cozy sweater and boot weather or bemoan the end of summer swims and BBQ’s, one thing is the same across the board: we can’t control it. And it’s a greater theme that carries through all aspects of our life.
Beyond the weather, there may be greater changes happening in your life in general and all kinds of things you can’t control. Perhaps you may feel a shift in your work or goals related to your career, or your local yoga studio closed, and you don’t know where to practice anymore. Maybe you feel saddened because you went on a few dates with someone and you kinda liked them but then they stopped returning your texts. Hmm. Lots of changes and things we can’t control.
Change Can (Usually!) Bring(s) Up Resistance
Especially if your current situation is pretty “comfy” and humming along, change can feel disruptive and bring up fear. But the good news is that at the end of change and challenges in life is a sunrise. And change always, always fuels growth of some kind.
Experiences that are difficult to move through, whether in your personal or professional life, can help you feel connected to the powerful strength you can pull from deep within yourself, and feel like you are moving from deeper currents instead of paddling around on the surface.
After all, life is ever-changing, and it’s how you deal with the changes that determines the happiness, joy and peace in your life, not necessarily the outer details themselves.
So How Do We Deal with Change In the Best Way?
One word: non-attachment. It’s a central concept in yoga, and the yogis teach us that to be attached to results, or very specific outcomes in an ever-changing world, sets us up for suffering.
The only way to maintain happiness (sanity even!) in the changing waves of life is to go with the flow. To do your best and set an intention for whatever you are creating, but then to release the outcome. Knowing that your offering was pure, and that you are doing your best, but releasing any expectation around the result, which creates attachment and suffering.
Of course, it’s a noble concept, but difficult to practice. I myself definitely struggle with it. Take my book writing, for example. There’s a lot of stress around launch. For the Radical Beauty launch just a few weeks ago, we had a Dr. Oz segment get pushed back out of nowhere. Our People magazine feature got pushed to a later issue due to the bewildering frenzy and coverage over the impending Brangelina divorce (apparently our message of embracing your unique beauty paled in comparison to the juicy details of yet another celebrity divorce :) ). There were scheduling complications. But since this is my fourth book launch, I’ve learned a lot. For the first two book launches, I got super stressed out. I almost had a nervous breakdown!
But for this book, I tried to remain as graceful and even-keeled as possible, even though things seemed to not be going our way sometimes. And you know what? We still made the New York Times bestseller list, even though so much did not go as planned! And even if we didn’t, I believe in the message of Radical Beauty so passionately, and what Deepak and I wrote and put into the world, that I was thrilled to have it go out into the world to help all those open to the knowledge.
How to Practice Non-Attachment More Gracefully
To be non-attached I think requires a great deal of authenticity. Be authentic about what you stand for and what you create and the intention behind your actions, contributions and projects. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or say or act in a way that is what you think others around you would like to hear. Just be you. Be the natural, powerful goddess that is only you and you alone.
If you are being authentic, that is all you can control. Period. You can then let go of the results, whether it’s how your proposal will be received at work, how many people will “like” your photo on Instagram, if you’ll get asked for a second date by that guy you met on Bumble, or if you lose the lease on your apartment because the building is being converted into luxury townhouses.
Remember: change and uncertainty are all around. If you try to control it or resist it, you will not be able to and it will create pain and suffering. On the other hand, if you just say to yourself, “well I was authentic in this situation” or “I did my best” then you can release the rest.
And IF You are Feeling Really Attached
Its easy to fall into habits and old thinking patterns in life which is why I have always been a big proponent of traveling. Traveling is a great time to practice non-attachment, as planes get delayed, rain comes when you pray it would just be sunny enough you could go home with somewhat of a tan, busy restaurants have you waiting for dinner for an extra hour, but you have to roll with these changes (or have a miserable trip!). Travel forces us to shift and experience new surroundings, cultures and adventures that may seem challenging at first, but help to build confidence, self-worth and opens the door to self discovery…while helping us surrender to non-attachment.
So if you really find yourself in an “attachment rut”, you can try changing the scenery with a little trip, even a day trip. Or even an afternoon trip to a different part of your city or town, or getting on a new form of public transportation.
What changes have you been resisting? In what areas of your life can you practice non-attachment today?
Be patient and compassionate with yourself Beauty. We’re all on a long road of growth and evolution!
Sending you lots of love,