Operating in the Present, Committing to Change

by Jill Sockman

I’ve heard over and over again from students, teachers, strangers, and the voices in my own head: it’s been a rough year. Whether it’s in the stars, in our karma, or in our minds, I believe there is something in the collective human experience driving us to make changes. Big changes.

We are out of alignment with the rhythms of nature, with the communities around us, and with the deepest callings of our own souls. If in fact the world outside is a reflection of what is inside of us, it’s no real surprise we’re in quite a mess.

I’m writing this to you as I prepare my outline for leading the What’s Next retreat (don’t let the “retreat” part fool you) and putting the finishing touches on the 40 Days of Yoga event we’re kicking off in September, so it’s no wonder transformation, alignment, and getting to the center of truth is on the tips of my fingers. How do we change? Get into alignment? Find truth?

Humans, for the most part, are not driven to seek pleasure. That’s right — hear me out. We’re not, really, or we wouldn’t be so easily offended, so quick to anger, so utterly shackled by our bad habits. We’d be out catching a wave, flying a kite, watching the stars, making love, baking cakes, taking naps. What drives us, most of the time, is the desire to avoid pain. We select our present moment reactions and choices based on past experiences and outcomes. We are not in the present. We are in the past. A place where nothing can change.

When we’re not in the present, we’re not fully available to the current natural cycle, community need, or internal calling. We’re too damn busy trying to manage that which cannot be managed, and control the uncontrollable. Unable to access the inner voice that knows What’s Next, what’s right, what’s true, we bumble around in the darkness of the past, our conditioned behaviors and habitual responses.

This weekend, I’ll be asking a group of yogis to dig in for the answer to the question “What’s Next?” In September, we’ll be asking you to dedicate yourselves as individuals and a collective to transformation and community in 40 Days of Yoga.

Today, I’m suggesting you set a timer for five minutes, close your eyes, and do nothing but relax your body and watch your breath. Be in the present and let the light shine through the crack of the space you have created. Repeat tomorrow. And the next day. And the next…