The subtle art of tuning into the subtle
It’s a time of lots of fuzzy transitions for me these days, as it is for so many of us. And reflecting on the nature of transitions reminded of this interesting quirk I often observe during yoga classes.
When I’m being a bad yogi and my eyes are wandering around the room, I notice that many people snap from one pose into another, as though they’ll earn bonus points for speed. The movements are efficient, in a sense, but not very graceful. There doesn’t seem to be much joy in the way these yogis are moving in those moments, either.
The reason this memory stood out to me is because I recalled that whenever I’d notice this I would silently thank my classmates for reminding me to slooooow down.
Because it’s in that mechanical way they were moving that many of us tend to move through life. Snapping from one task to another… one context to another…
I catch myself doing it ALL the time. I like to be “in”whatever I’m in, whether that’s a new project, home, relationship… I can forget to be open to the full range of the experience, including the “beta” phase. I can forget to be open even to, gasp, the parts that don’t necessarily align with the vision I had about how it should be.
Why is that? Why is it so tempting to rush to create a sense of completion and stability and done-ness?
For the sake of brevity, I won’t explore that question in depth here. But I’d encourage you to sit with it and to consider how things might feel different if you were to slow down through the transitions.
Because if the last year has reinforced anything it’s that change is the only constant. There is no there out there, no “in” versus “out”, no destination or endpoint where things are suddenly static and predictable and not MESSY.
If we choose to wait until the changes stop, we’ll spend our lives waiting.
This is why I have always encouraged, and have recently begun requiring, the leaders I work with 1:1 to meditate. A stillness practice facilitates a felt-sense connection with the unifying thread of our existence: Love, support, universe, cosmic consciousness, God…
Whatever you choose to call it, it is the force within that grounds and centers us. We’ve got to unlearn seeking in our external environment that which only exists within us.
The novel(ish) point here is this: please remember that it’s not just when we’re physically still that we get to touch that home base. By bringing more attention to the subtle transitions of life in motion, we access the space within the continuous movement.
Going from walking to running… from a conversation with one friend to one with another… Allow yourself to slow down enough to consider: where’s the space?
Where is the space for connection, intention, aliveness?
I love bringing this intention to my movement practice. It’s incredible what can be revealed when we attend to the transitions. And the same goes for all areas of life.
We access this space increasingly fluidly as our practice of presence becomes more finely tuned. We begin to witness shifts of life with powerful perspective, and that allows us to intend a chosen quality for the transition rather than having one chosen for us based on our default programming.
Some of you might be thinking: “Yeah…mindfulness. Thanks, I’ve heard of it!”
But being mindfully aware is just the first step. We then have the opportunity to DIVE INTO the ocean of felt-sense experience and swim around — to learn to interpret the signals — and to let that light us up and light the way forward.
My clients know what I’m talking about. (And we’ll explore this in-depth in the upcoming Enlivened Leadership course.)
Practically, we practice this in yoga asana by placing just as much attention on the transitions between poses as we do on the poses themselves.
We place attention on the way the energy of a team member’s voice shifts as she moves from one topic to another.
We place attention on the way the flavors evolve as we savor the bite of fruit in our mouth.
We place attention on that special moment just before a kiss, as much as we do on the kiss itself.
We place attention on our connection with another, as the joy rises and changes in quality, moving from our heart to our head.
We slow down. We observe the space. And our lives expand.
See the last five sentences above. 😉