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As biological creatures we are always in a state of change. Our cells turn over, our viewpoints adjust to accommodate new data, our expressions become colored with idioms as words take on new cultural implications - we change internally and in response to external stimuli.

Sometimes we feel like everything is in a state of flux and we are tempted to shout “stop the world, I want to get off.” We want to just be still, to take a break from change.

Have you ever tried to be perfectly motionless?

In yoga practice it is often suggested that we “find our way to stillness.” Even in the simplest poses, finding your way to stillness requires subtle adjustments to the posture. The body says “flex this, shift that” and if we ignore those requests for movement we will experience pain or we will fall out of the pose. Ignoring the need to make adjustments creates traumatic alternations.

So we heed these suggestions, make those minute modifications, but even when we come to a place where we can be still our bodies are not motionless. Our chests rise and fall with our breathing. Our gaze may be soft and steady on a distant or internal focus point, but our eyes still move slightly in their sockets. Our hearts still beat and our blood still flows. Only in death are we completely without motion.

And when we have brought ourselves to stillness, to the closest state to motionless that a living organism can create, it is a temporary state. The time will come for movement. It will either be a mindful, controlled release of the pose and a flowing into the next posture or a collapse as the body demands that its need for motion be fulfilled.

I have observed that it is much the same in our lives and in our businesses - which are, of course, only one aspect of our lives.

How often, when a traumatic shift happens, is it because you resisted making the more subtle adjustments when they were requested? How often have you avoided change, discounted the signs that you were becoming uncomfortable, even weak, and stubbornly held to your patterns and beliefs only to have them fail you in the end?

We strive to find our way to stillness, to find a place and pattern that suits us, that feels natural, right, even easy. Then, all too often, we ignore the signs that the time has come to shift. We hold that place through the little discomforts. We discount the strain, the weariness, even the weakness while we stubbornly hold to the pose.

As time goes by, we begin to believe that the sensations of discomfort and weakness are our own shortcomings. That pose felt so right when we first discovered it, surely if it doesn’t feel right now we must be doing something wrong. We continue striving to “be still.”

Inevitably we “fail” to hold the pose. Sometimes the collapse is dramatic and sometimes we use our last vestige of control to release ourselves from that rigidity. But we are worn out from the effort, we are robbed of the energy to move into our next position.
We are programmed to fear both change and failure. But denying change ensures failure.
In yoga, we stay fluid even in stillness by staying connected to our core strength and being aware of what our bodies are telling us. That connection is the consistent “sameness” or foundation that supports us whether we are holding one pose or transitioning to a new one. We may come back to a pose many times but we know it is never exactly the same because we have changed.
In life we can find the security and dependability we seek; that “stillness,” by staying connected and self aware. Being true to our values and our personal truths adds to the stillness.
Being true to our core competencies adds to the stillness. Those connections keep us rooted no matter how much in flux everything else appears to be. Any changes or choices that pull us away from those values, truths and competencies will pull us off balance. But, so long as we stay rooted, we can move fluidly from one “pose” to the next with strength, flexibility and confidence that we will not fall.

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