This week marks the official change of season from Summer to Autumn on Saturday, September 23rd. I always welcome this seasonal transition with the cooler air and fall harvest abundance. Change is a tricky topic though and can bring discomfort. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary notes that "change implies making either an essential difference, often amounting to a loss of original identity, or a substitution of one thing for another". No wonder change can be daunting… loss of identity is a big deal. But like most things, it depends a lot on how you frame it. If you focus on what you gain (fresh apples and being able to sleep in and still go for a hike in reasonable temperatures), instead of what you lose (long days of daylight and summer vacations), it can make change more enticing. I have lots of experience navigating change, both personally and in my decades as a management consultant. Even with that background I do not always welcome change. Knowing the steps to navigate it logically does not always equate to emotional acceptance. The fear of the unknown is human. Some changes, like those of the seasons or smart phone app updates happen frequently enough for us to accept that these are cycles that we can navigate. But many others really do feel like a loss of identity. Whether it’s a change in job, home, relationship, health or something else, it is that fear of the unknown that we are resisting. This is where a regular self-care practice like yoga and/or meditation really helps by providing space to tune in to your true identity. We often assume identities that are defined by others or the circumstances we are in. For example, you may be the spouse or partner of someone, a parent, an employee, a boss, a neighbor. All of those definitions of identify are not solely about you, they are about you in relation to other people. There are also identities based on your job or activities such as golfer, yogi, hiker, teacher, chef, artist, musician etc. If you stop doing those activities, you are still you. When you are on your mat you gift yourself the time and space to look inward and put aside all the definitions of yourself, the noise of the outside world and swirling changes. You pause, breathe, and accept the presence of the current moment, be that in silence or guided through asana. It is like rebooting a technology device that is stuck. You can restart after your practice refreshed and operating more smoothly.
Consider what feelings different changes bring up for you, and which ones are dominant. It is healthy to feel sadness with loss and excitement for the new. The intent is not to judge yourself, just to explore and know yourself. To navigate the ebb and flow of change requires an inner peace and inner knowing. When we find our own inner peace this also ripples through our relationships and communities and contributes to a greater sense of peace in living. In addition to the start of Autumn, this week marks the International Day of Peace on Thursday, September 21st. There are gatherings and reflections going on around the world, and in Sedona as a City of Peace. As you explore your relationship with change, consider an minor alteration to your weekly routine and join one of our fun and creative new events in the coming weeks. And, if you are not currently in Sedona we are excited to launch our new Online yoga classes. We are starting gradually as we experiment and learn what offerings people want, so please let us know if there is a class that you want us to include online so you can keep that Sedona vibe going even after you leave.