Don’t Rush It!
Transition-change or passage from one state or stage to another
By definition, it sounds so simple. Why then do many of us have so much trouble with it?
As part of my personal work in Halifax Yoga’s Teacher Training Program, I’ve been thinking a lot about transition and my reaction to it, both on my mat and in my life.
Photo credit: Holly Crooks
Photo courtesy of Mocean Dance
During my career as a professional dancer, the correction I received most often was that I was rushing the choreography ahead of the music or other dancers. I worked on it in the moment and was aware of it, but obviously, if I can say it was the correction I received the most, then I guess I wasn’t really improving much! On the flip side, when I was the choreographer, I could easily recognize the importance of transitions in other dancers. With proper emphasis they protect you from injury, provide a seamless flow from one thing to the next and make things appear effortless.
Earlier in my career I co-founded and co-directed Mocean Dance, a busy local dance company that fuelled my Type A personality with constant to-dos, deadlines and plans for productions and tours. Through years of practice, I became a proficient multi-tasker who was both detail-orientated and comfortable working on a time limit. Sounds like a good thing to some, but in hindsight, I don’t believe I was truly present as I was constantly living in the future. This way of thinking hits hard when the future you imagine and plan for doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. And we all know this happens time and time again.
Recently, when the idea of transition came up again, I committed to taking a harder look at it. I started to reflect on how I’ve handled transition in my life. I range from being early, when I was performing, to being late when I have to be somewhere because I’m rushing to fit in as much as I can before I leave. In both scenarios I’m frequently thinking about the end result and not necessarily being present in the moments leading up to it. In addition, the thought pattern “Life will be better once I… (Fill in the blank)” comes up often before deadlines, vacations, and as I check off my to-do list. When my daughter was younger, I even remember thinking “Won’t it be great when she starts eating solid food” (and walking and talking, etc.) Now that my son is almost a year old and going through the same stages, I’m find myself willing time to slow down! My kids have made it pretty clear that they don’t live their lives in the same “need for speed” way that I do. I’m starting to get the hint that I should take a cue from them and enjoy the moment.
Naturally, this pattern shows up on my mat as well. I’ve been practicing yoga for many years and my body knows the sequence well. So well, that I sometimes go into auto-pilot and I find myself already in Upward Facing Dog before it’s been called or moving into a pose that I think is going to be next, only to find that we’re actually going into something else. There I go, rushing again…
During a recent Master Class with Coeli Marsh, I had a revealing moment. We had just finished one set of Eagle and she began leading us into what I thought was a new pose I’d never done before. I listened intently and was excited about where we were heading next because I didn’t recognize the instructions. My big reveal was that we were heading into another set of Eagle except she had set it up in a new and different way. For the first time in a long time, I had been completely in the moment, enjoying the transition and excitement of the unknown and was more focused on the journey than the final destination. I guess it can be that simple.
A wise woman I know recently said, “How you transition is how you will land”. Heading into 2014, I’m choosing to be mindful of the speed at which I’m living my life and how it affects me, and those around me. I invite you to do the same. Life is the transition between birth and death; don’t rush it.
~ Sara Harrigan