I started practicing with a new yoga teacher a couple months ago. He focuses on making sure the body has a solid foundation before building into more advanced poses. Since I started we have focused a lot on my feet. That’s right. My feet. For 2 months now.
It got me thinking about how easy it is to be impatient with change, to expect instant results. Our minds often want us to be 100 steps ahead of where we are and it creates a lot of suffering. All the different stories we have about ourselves with change: if I was really__________(smart, good, able, etc), than I would be able to______________(be relaxed, do a handstand, be an expert, etc) right away or at least in very short order. What a set up!
So back to my feet.
If it has taken 2 months to make changes in my feet and they are still a work in progress, what a journey it is to change a much less concrete area like anxiety. Now that doesn’t mean that it takes forever, but it does mean cultivating patience and space for change to happen.
Just because we have an idea about how we would like to change doesn’t mean we should be able to do so at the snap of our fingers. Change is a long game; and neuroscience research backs this up. Time is essential for the brain and nervous system to rewire itself.
What sort of stories do you tell yourself about feeling anxious and not just being able to make it go away? What are the judgements and critical voices you have when you try something like mindfulness and your anxiety doesn’t shift immediately?