Change in our lives is inevitable, and it is also one of the most challenging experiences for us to accept. If we look to nature, we see that life is constantly in motion. There is so much wisdom in nature that we can learn from and apply to our own lives.
In the springtime we can watch the leaves begin to bud and then grow on the trees. In the summer the trees start to flourish. In the fall we begin to witness the most amazing transformation as the beautiful hues take over on the leaves. Then comes winter, when all the leaves drop and the tree remains dormant for a period of time.
Our lives can take similar shape at times. We might experience shifts in relationships, a death of someone we care about, or a time when we feel as if we are living life to the fullest. What nature teaches us is that all of these experiences and feelings are in motion, if we let them be, and are impermanent.
What can be difficult, at times, is to allow ourselves to surrender to the season we are in. When we perceive that things are going smoothly, we want to hold onto our life as it is with all of our might. When we are going through hard times, we might do anything that we can to not feel the emotions that are arising within us.
Buddhism and meditation practices teach us that both attachment and aversion is a natural response, yet they are two of the most prevalent obstacles to experiencing peace. If you practice yoga or meditation, you might have felt these firsthand.
Remember a time when you were in a pose that felt amazing in your body. You likely wanted more of it. Conversely, when in a challenging pose, you might have wanted to get out of it as soon as is humanly possible. Similarly, in meditation, when we sit and can sink into a peaceful state, we might want to stay there forever. If we are noticing discomfort in any way, we want to adjust, fidget, or simply exit our meditation as quickly as possible.
The beauty is that these practices can help us to get more comfortable with discomfort. We can learn to be aware of the shifting nature of our thoughts, energy, behaviors and emotions. After becoming more aware of what it is that we are actually feeling – how the change is impacting us – we can then practice surrendering to it.
Instead of averting or attaching to what we don’t like, or wanting more of what we do, we allow our inner nature to be in motion. Just like the wisdom of the trees, we can let the fluidity of life take over, so that we might more gracefully transition into the next season.
By Nicole Lovald, yoga teacher & psychotherapist