“We must begin to understand that a revolution entails not only the willingness to lay our lives on the firing line and get killed. In some ways, this is an easy commitment to make. To die for the revolution is a one-shot deal; to live for the revolution means taking on the more difficult commitment of changing our day-to-day patterns.” – Francis Beal
I’m willing to bet that it will. As Ms. Francis Beal so eloquently points out, the grander, more difficult change begins in the smaller, darker, more mundane parts of your life. At least this is what I’ve come to believe over the past 6 months as the likes of real change took root in the nooks and crannys of my mind and spread out like a beautiful creeping vine one ‘ordinary’ spot at a time.
Revolutions aren’t always the most dramatic expressions of public display. They can be much more subtle and accessible to each of us. Take my own situation – unable to bare many of the choices I’d made in my life anymore after perpetually putting aside my own dreams to do what seemed ‘right’, I lived in a constant state of self-judgment, anger and anxiety. Frustrated and exhausted, I turned to a shaman and an Ayurvedic practitioner for assistance to ‘de-stress’. The only problem at the time was that I didn’t believe that I had the time to do what was necessary to change.
Both of these women encouraged me to make space in my life for me in various ways just as others have repeatedly told me for many years. Normally, I would have ignored the suggestions to change and gone about my normal routine, but something was different this time and I took their words to heart entering into several space-holding practices that ended up having profound effects thus far on my life.
The change mainly began with meditation. I’d struggled for 10 years to commit to a daily practice and had even once told a practitioner that I’d be lying if I said that I’d actually do it. My “I don’t have time for this”, “I should be doing something”, Type-A attitude allowed no space in my day for me because I constantly felt the unending need TO DO something.
Sitting in meditation (finally!) gave me the clarity and insight to realize that the act of “DOING” is one of the ways in which we all get caught up in the rat race of life. By “BEING” still and practicing stillness, I was literally going against the grain and rangling back a tiny portion of my life each morning when I sat down on my mat.
From here the creeping vine of revolution began to spread as I started to take a lunch at work for the first time in 10 years. That uninterrupted 30-minutes of space allowed me to enjoy my food in peace, call my husband to say hello, go sit out in the sun, or even take a walk around the block. My attitude shifted from “I need to get this paperwork done” to “This is my time and I am taking it back!”.
And so the revolution began causing me to give notice to leave my job, put my own interests and passions on the table and believe beyond all else that my life and my dreams were really important and a worthy endeavor. Who knew that those few minutes of meditation could result in all of this? I certainly didn’t at first especially since I had been a firm believer in the more outward types of ‘conventional’ change- writing letters, standing up for your rights, voicing your opinions, etc.
My personal revolution may certainly look very different from the next, but the simple truth is that doing something that counters your normal routine and cares for your highest good can make a difference. I like to think of it as downshifting out of the fast-lane of life. Whether you finally start taking your lunch break, disconnect for 10 minutes a day from technology, driving slower to your destination or doing something that runs counter to what you ‘should be doing’, that’s where the revolution begins.
Real change begins within a revolution of your mind as you reshuffle your life’s priorities and start taking care of yourself. I had to be willing to consider that the act of BEING was inherently valuable and view it as something bold and revolutionary even though it might not seem as such to many in this world. Even though I’m not organizing a rally or a letter writing campaign, the shifts in my own life echo out into this world in which we all live changing it.
Think of the immense changes we could all make, one moment of meditation, pranayama, or asana practice at a time if we merely held space in our lives for ourselves. That, my friends, could be quite a powerful wave turning the tide of this world, one personal revolution at a time.
Have you experienced this sort of change or shift in your life?
Where did you begin and what are some of the positive things that happened as a result?