Shift Happens

Written by Daniel Scott

It is perfectly ok to admit—out loud, even—that everything is not OK. Things change. The honeymoon ends. Strong feelings fade, transform. Paths cross, diverge. People come together. The grass seems greener elsewhere. People come apart, at the seams. Too little, too late. Too much, too soon. Relationships. Jobs. Family. Friends. School. Money. Love.

Like it or not, these are all matters of the heart. The heart is a muscle that, just like every other muscle, responds to how it's treated. It can be built up or broken down, strained or relaxed, torn or repaired. Know that a hungry heart can quickly become gluttonous. Be it pain or pleasure, punishment or reward, it is easy to by enslaved by craving and aversion.

Take care of your heart, and it will take care of you. Yet, even if you manage to keep it healthy, no amount of vim and vigor will protect it from getting hit by the random bus hiding in your blind spot. Even if you do remember to look both ways (which you always do, right?), this will often happen while hastily crossing the street in search of those greener pastures. What do you do when the shift hits the fan?

Take it. Easy. Be good to your Self.

Yogis spend a great deal of time perfecting their practice through a constantly polished blend of balance, precision, perseverance, and dedication. Some memorize yamas and niyamas, while others take solace in mantra and breath control. Many get lost in the sweaty fog of physical movement, only to find themselves blissfully grounded in an observant savasana. Both weeknight warriors and ashram acolytes alike connect to something greater throughout all of this, regardless of level or skill.

In class, challenges arise. We (can) learn how to handle them, sometimes better than others. The harrowing burn of a deep chair pose. The rising anger of balancing tree. The intense frustration of a downward dog on a slippery mat.

He said. She said. Tit for tat. She was wrong. He was right. Why can't you this? Why won't you that? This is how I feel. I want to understand. I understand. I understood.

I no longer think I do.

Oh, shift! It happens, and when it does, you must simply go with it.

The relationships we form with others are an extension of the connection we form with ourselves. Garbage in, garbage out. Do unto others. May all beings be happy. It all sounds so easy, despite often seeming so overwhelmingly tough. When faced with adversity, do you stay in the wound or cover it up? Do you treat the symptoms or try to understand the cause?

Yes. It might not be easy, but it doesn't have to be hard. I offer this to students who complain how their thighs scream in high lunge. I offer this advice to close friends who experience massive loss. I remind myself this on a daily basis during times when everything is going to shift.

No, this will not be easy. Yes, I control how hard this is going to affect me. Shift happens, and therefore I must, too.

An injury is a distinct opportunity to learn a great deal about the physical body. These serious challenges are, in reality, invitations to form intimate bonds with the affected area through therapy and focused awareness. Broken hearts and bruised egos are injurious to our emotional and spiritual bodies. In every case, we are given a choice to pamper the symptom or pursue a cure. By no means should one be denied comfort during harrowing times, although it's crucial to honestly understand the approach one takes towards mending their damage. Are you trying to come back stronger than before, return to an impossible normal, or become the random bus on a blind spot joyride through as many people as possible?

There will always be grass greener. Such is the rhythm of life.

Somebody will always be luckier than you whose shift doesn't stink. Definitely happier, less lonely. They had a great deal growing up, came from money, drove nicer cars. Clearly they don’t have loans to pay back, and are better dancers, too. They’ll make it look easier-- whatever it is-- because, naturally, they clearly have less to worry about.

The grass will always be greener on the other side; unless, of course, you decide to stop complaining and start tending to your own damn lawn. It might not be easy. Heck, it may even be incredibly hard. Either way, you're creating a vested interest not just in how you live your life, but how you'd like it to look. So the next time shift happens, find balance and use it to fertilize your endless distinct opportunities.

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