Maybe it's not change that's so hard...Mar 09, 2023
What I know about myself
After 18 years of waking up super early, it would be easy for me to start sleeping in again, even though I continue to experience massive benefits from an early morning rise (something I keep in mind).
In my twenties, I used to do a full 90 to 120 minute workout six days a week for years. And then one day I stopped and never looked back.
I used to post a blog daily, and then I shaved it back to weekly.
These changes weren’t hard. But maybe these aren’t good examples of hard changes.
I moved my kids from a private to public school when they were both done with early childhood, and that was hard because I loved that community.
I had two big breakups in my life, and those changes were heartbreaking.
I moved a handful of times over the years. Moves are a lot of work and can disrupt the routine, flow, and support systems.
I was once married, dual income, no kids, and then I became a parent. And then a single parent. These changes in lifestyle and responsibility were massive.
My life ironically got easier and more organic when I changed my kids’ schools. In doing so, I swapped a destination community with like values for a local community with increased resources, diversity, and shorter travel time.
Through my relationship breakups, I understood more clearly what was lost, found, undervalued, and overvalued.
With each move, I was aware of the new freedoms and opportunities that came with them; and that the inconveniences were just a small price for the changes that would help me fly. Lastly and most importantly, I wouldn’t give up being a mom for the world. And being a single mom made me indestructible.
Change in seasons
Spring comes, and for those of us that live in cold winters, we get pretty excited about this change. But Spring can be hard too when we hone in on allergy season and having to spring clean.
When Fall comes, we know Winter is well on its way, and we don’t like the change. Unless you’re not crazy about the Summer heat, and then you might.
Perhaps it’s not the change but what we hone in on that’s hard.
There's good and bad to everything. This, coming from a person (me!) that once preferred cranky Gargamel over the cute little annoying Smurfs for their ultra cheerfulness.
If I honed in on what was hard, or what I lost, for instance, from becoming a mom, I think motherhood would have been miserable. And there were a few months where it was incredibly hard. So I made a change to make it easier. I got help. Then I went back to work. Until I realized that I actually wanted to be a fuller time mom, and then I made another change. Not making change both times would have been hard, I wouldn’t have learned things about myself, and my children would have missed out on a model of self care.
I used to work out six days a week and I stopped because I had a baby. Workouts used to keep my depression in check. After the baby, I couldn't come up with meaningful reasons to keep it up... because now I’ve changed. Which is how I found yoga.
Yoga made me want more (of myself). So I found meditation, and meditation showed me that mornings and habit choices were crucial. So I made more change.
Any time I focused on the hardship of something new, change was super hard and nearly impossible to live through. There are things I picked up and quit along the way for this reason.
On the other hand, I’ve changed my diet several times over the decades. I love food, and I’m an active seeker of wellness, so I hone in on the exploration of new food ideas, and I refuse to go on any diet regimen where I suffer, in the short term or long. I surrender to the enjoyment and curiosity of food and wellness instead of focusing on restrictions and time involved, so change becomes easier. This, coming from a person who’s had body image and eating disorders... I can make this super hard if I wanted to. I don’t want to.
When I focus on my nudges that lead me to change, it gives me the reason to keep up. In contrast, there’s very little for me to lean into that will help me keep up running as an exercise. That’s because I’m not nudged to go there. Not even a little bit. Have I ever thought to myself I should run? For sure. But that was just my head and social norm talking (my closest friends run). I never felt the nudge. I say this in response to the many who have said how difficult it is to make changes on things that they want to do that nudges them. If you were nudged, remember what that nudge was about and find the language to follow through. I'll try, but it's so hard, I'm not good with change isn't such language. If you were not nudged, drop it and find your nudges.
I’m strongly nudged to do some form of cardio that’s not running. This morning I was doing jump squats as a part of my workout. Left unchecked, it’s easy to go into an internal tantrum about it and deny myself a higher experience of the workout, making it increasingly difficult to keep up in the future (I speak from experience). But I don’t keep it unchecked. As soon as the exercise comes up, I call up the values, desires, and feelings that nudged me there in the first place and what I want to be capable of as I get older. This is where they say knowing your why matters, instead of getting lost in what you have to do. While I’ll never be twenty again (and in many ways, thank god!), when I jump squat, I visualize and embody the strength and form of youth moving into the strength and brilliance of time, which is now fully on my side (I know, this is a slightly different paradigm from the norm). Now the jump squats feel empowering. I don’t feel it stressing out my nervous system; I feel it strengthening it.
Easier said than done?
First, it helps to move from wanting to want to, to wanting to.
Which takes me to this: the best part of daily meditation isn’t that it reduces stress. It’s that it increases your capacity to better control your mind so that it serves you rather than the other way around. It gives you the ability to focus on what you want to focus on to make everything just a little bit easier, more curious, and delightful. I can go into all the reasons why this happens when you meditate daily, but not today.
When you can apply these internal changes, the external changes - aka life - happen for you (not to you), and you'll know it.
They lead you to the most important change… where you feel at ease in your own skin and feel free… without feeling like the other shoe will drop.
P.S. I asked my long-time boyfriend this morning who hasn’t missed a day of exercise in 40+ years (truly unbelievable), do you ever wake up and feel like you just don’t want to workout today? He answered no, and I believe him. Grrrr. Right? So I get it, in case you're having similar thoughts about me, because people have, even though I have woken up in the morning many times not feeling it. He's just baked that way. I wasn't, and it took training and practice to get my mind to work in my favor. The rest of us humans get to train ourselves, and I think that this intention has immense power. Anyway, you’re not alone.