What an interesting time we are living. On the one hand, I feel like many people happily went “back to normal” and forgot the numerous changes and adaptations we have had to make in the recent years… and are still making. Besides the aftermaths of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the inflation and energy crisis, riots in France and the Middle East…. and more (no worries, I am not about to make another news report!), the world as we used to know it has been rocked and even turned upside down in some domains.
How is your life different today than it was just three years ago?
On the other hand, I have the impression that many of us ARE actually going through big changes in our respective lives and have done so for a while now. I could not exactly say how and why, but in the past few months among folks in my classes and my personal circles I have sensed a shift happening…
… A thirst for change, a re-ordering of what your true priorities are, or a search for a new direction might be driving new habits, hobbies, and dreams.
… Perhaps really hard times have plunged you or those around you into a necessary reevaluation of life, how to care for yourself/themselves, or how to find new grounds under your/their feet.
… Maybe your sensitivity to what your body and inner intelligence is saying has increased, or a new clarity of what is truly meaningful to you is emerging.
How are you doing and how has your life changed recently?
Whatever might be the case for you, I just want to say: TRUST THE FLOW and what is quietly (or not so quietly) unfolding for you.
If you stay connected to your body, heart, and mind to the best of your capacity -for example with regular yoga, mindfulness or nature time– you are more likely not only to keep the course but also to learn and grow tremendously from it.
For thousands of years, ancient traditions have discussed how changes in our society and in ourselves are inevitable and even necessary for our own evolution; as individuals, collectively, and for the planet.
In other words, in the face of change, which is undeniably on its way, life becomes less about controlling, avoiding, or monitoring changes and more about learning how to navigate them and learn to “ride the wave.”
And, even better, we might even learn how to THRIVE while surfing!
I find that a good place to start, is to pause.
The ancient wisdoms talk about “Madhya”, literally “central” or “in the middle.” Madhya is the place of balance, the “in-between space” (between two activities, two breaths, even two thoughts) that is necessary for us to touch the stillness that has been in the background all along. Madhya can even take the form of the silence between two words or two sentences during a conversation or the emptiness between objects we can look at. If we never give room for Madhya, staying present in the midst of tumultuous changes, and thereby achieving a state of inner peace that lasts, will be difficult.
In short, “no silence, no presence.”
Placing our attention on Madhya, for example by paying regular attention to the momentary pausing between breaths or slowing down between two activities during our day, we can find stillness and the equanimity or poise that come along with it. We can feel safe and trust both our own agency and the unfolding of what is beyond our control.
So welcome. Welcome to a new year of your life. A year of new potentials, new learnings, new discoveries, and—I sincerely wish for you—delightful wonders and peaceful moments.
Whether you are new to yoga, meditation, and the like, I hope you will (continue to) find support and some helpful guidance in these practices to live life from “Madhya”.