Stop burning daylight.

Stop burning daylight. My body is yearning for a revolution – it has been for a while. The sustained dissatisfaction is persisting beyond my lacklustre attempts at transformation, fettered and heavier by a force concealed. I’ve become increasingly aware that this weight is stifling my spirit, and the stagnation that transpires is strangling me. So what to do? I’ve been repeating the same words to myself for the past few days: SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT!

I know myself very well. I need change and constant growth to be happy. Any stagnation is a spirit killer for me and I feel myself sinking into my own darkness when I resist the turning of the wheel. In my meditation practice I’ve seen how that resistance keeps me in the dark and my breath held in. Of course, it’s impossible to resist change, and my body knows this better than my mind at times. My energy screams for action and power. But, I do recognize the need for down time, and I know that without that intentional time and space for self-care, my wellness suffers. There is a vast transformative power present in introversion that I really appreciate. I used to think I could only grow and expand in the ways that I wanted if I was high energy and extroverted, but it’s simply not my reality.

The word revolution has its roots in the transition of the planets, to their revolving motion. The word also applies to transformation of the fundamental structure of either political and other organizational systems. It typically occurs quickly in the form of revolt against current standards, authorities, and ways of being. This abrupt change is brought about by dissatisfaction, oppression, becoming deeply aware of imbalances and the NEED to transform. I need a revolution. This is outside my normal necessity and tendency toward change. This is something big. I’ve been feeling it creeping in for a while now. In looking at the parts of myself that speak of dissatisfaction with reverence as well as boredom, I keep seeing myself trying these old pathways that aren’t serving or working for me. The passing days are informing me of this pull toward revolution. I recognize that my resistance usually doesn’t contribute to my freedom. I need to have unobstructed openness and receptivity to feel true freedom. This is born in those spaces of quiet peace, unconditional love, and acceptance.

I know that there are things that are ready to be released in order for my personal revolution to take place. “You better free your mind instead.” (John Lennon) What’s holding you back? When I ask myself this question, I see the only thing holding me back is myself. I’ll do these things when I’m better at them, when I’ve grown more, when I’m more educated, or when any of the other things on my long list of circumstances are met.  My mind is setting up the parameters and boundaries that confine me and keep me from expressing, at times even acknowledging, my own potential. Despite the experiences I’ve had and the knowledge I’ve solidified into wisdom, I still carry a deep sense of doubt that prevents me from the recognition that revolution is needed. It’s in witnessing the doubt, the worry, and the pain it brings, that reminds me of the need for transformation.

What does this revolution look like? To me, it’s increasing the things I’m genuinely craving to improve my life while letting go of the things that are weighing me down or preventing my growth and wellness. It’s filling my time and spaces with art, learning, connection, and joy. I’ve struggled with depression and anger, sometimes rage, my whole life. I’ve witnessed those cycles and tried to move through them with grace, accepting them as part of my natural ebb and flow through life with reverence. I’ve been managing the lows with a sense of duty, like I have to go through these things to be able to come out on the other side. For years I’ve been writing poems and making paintings that are never quite complete. I’ve started projects that I’ve left hanging, whether they were for myself or others. I’ve let the expectation and the fears of failure heavy me and keep me back. So the revolution I’m seeking means actively changing these things I’m looking at with such disdain, and choosing the things that I’m craving to help me grow. I have no doubt that I may succumb to my cycles again, but I also know I can recreate and grow these cycles. I also watch myself create new patterns and act in ways that I wouldn’t have before.

In meditation and yoga, one is constantly challenging our old habit patterns. In the brain, we try these old neural pathways over and over again until we come face to face with the need to try a new route. It might seem like veering off of the well worn path into a field of wild grasses as high as your head. You might not be able to see, and you may need to carve out the new path. It takes courage and fearlessness to get through into this wilderness. This is where the revolution will take place. It’s when you’ve walked the same path over and over without getting to the places you want to be, and decide that you need to make a great change for yourself. When I’ve made the most progress and deepest exploration in meditation it’s been accompanied, even guided by, fluidity and receptivity. It’s meant opening up and letting go of resistance. It informs me of the peaceful revolution I feel ready for.

I need I need a revolution
My own revolution
My very own revolution
I need, I need a revolution
My own revolution
My personal revolution
Heartbreak is so hard to take
And I lay down in the bed that I make
Crying, crying, tears of change
Fighting, fighting, everyday
There must be a better way
– Bob Marley
Sometimes we wake up and see ourselves living in our lives, and feel the call. Sometimes a personal revolution is necessary. It takes moving through the struggle and the discomfort. I say it all the time when I teach yoga classes: “Back out gently from pain, lean into and breathe through discomfort.” How can we begin to challenge our own status quo and the inner and outer realities we act and live in? Become increasingly present and aware of sustained pain that is a fetter. Engage in productive actions that support your growth and needs, without getting caught up in expectations to produce. Place value on your wellness. There are times that we might look at our lives and wonder how it could get better. I very rarely get to sit long in those spaces, and I’m okay with that. My personality demands scrutiny and change every day, because I use it as fuel for transformation. Our continuous and gradual evolution supports the dramatic and sudden revolutions that allow one to let go of what’s weighting them down to be able to get on with the evolving life they’re playing in. This endless evolution is the incessant rising and falling of reality. It’s the Buddhist quality of anicca, the essence of transience that persists in all existence. Impermanence is a natural law we’re all subject to. There comes a time that everything has an expiration date, and will come to pass. Revolution and evolution are two ways that we can understand such change. Regardless of the need for revolution or the steady process of evolution, our duty is to observe with equanimity and awareness, and respond intelligently. When we gather information from our environments, both internal and external, we inspire a sense of revolution if even just a little bit. We let go of the ignorance and bits of darkness that we perhaps didn’t even know we were living in, and we let in a little bit more life.
When I think about the world we’re living in and the type of change I want to see, I recognize the importance of revolution first happening within. I see it in my relationships, too. The things I’m asking of the people around me must first be answered in myself. Revolution doesn’t have to be scary. We can face it with peace and awareness as a natural part of existence.
“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
― Jim Morrison

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