Off The Mat

The Suffering of Change

Mar 8, 2015 Michelle Dorer
Ashtanga Yoga Outer Banks / Michelle Dorer

I am not sure about you, but I have observed an unusual amount of change happening within my own life and in the world around me.  I realize that things are always changing, but lately it has seemed more intense than usual. Has anyone else made this observation?

Within my own life, I have moved twice locally within the past year. Before this time, I had lived in the same home for five years.  Much of this change for me was spawned by my relationship with my partner growing and deepening.  Before this I had lived on my own most of my early adult years.

Due to circumstance of brute force by the Universe, I finally entered the modern millennia with technology.  Up until this point I had been operating on primitive means.  It has felt like quite a change upgrading to a smart phone, driving a car that does not threaten to break down, and operating on Windows 8! Yes, I am not sure where I am at in reality anymore!

This is all the interpersonal stuff, but it extends much larger than this.  Starting around November, I began saying good-bye to friend after friend after friend. Many people in my inner world (friends, students, mentors, business contacts) are moving to far away places.  I have helped several of my friends pack, sort, clean, and had the opportunity to go through their piles of stuff to see what I might want.

At some point, I am not sure my heart can take it anymore!   I have to stop and ask:  What is happening?  Why this sudden migration?  Why all at once?  So many people?  People who have been integral to my own life and development and to the unique community on the Outer Banks in general.  In particular, there is a large shift of people involved in the healing arts community.  I cannot help but wonder where this is all going...

The reality is, however, it is not just the Outer Banks.  My friends who live in other places also seem to be shifting...I am just feeling it at home more intensely.

What is going on?

Well, it seems clear that weather patterns are changing on the planet.  In North Carolina, we have had the two coldest winters I can remember. Last winter, we were snowed in several times, which is unusual.  This winter we have not seen as much snow but it has reached record breaking cold temperatures. I have been dealing with frozen pipes all winter at both my house and the studio.  I have been renting the same space for the studio for almost ten years and NEVER have my pipes froze before this winter.  So, I am sure the weather is one huge factor, especially considering half the people I know are moving to Florida!

The weather patterns changing may be a manifestation as are the shift in people of something deeper that may be changing. The energy on the planet is changing.  That is the way it feels to me.  I have been researching and discussing with my friends and colleagues what is going on energetically and in the stars.

There have been a lot of planets in retrograde in the past two years. Since June 2013 we have seen retrograde activity in Chiron, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Mars, Saturn, Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus.  Is that more retrograde activity than any other year?  I am not sure.  It has felt intense, especially since the slower moving planets like Jupiter and Saturn are in retrograde. Retrograde planets have a tendency to make you look back and review deeply. When that time of reflection is over it tends to spring you forward into movement.  Perhaps this has an effect?

Another one of my friends mentioned that the Sun's magnetic field changed polarity in the past year and a half. She said it is a natural occurrence that happens every 11 years or so, and it brings change in its wake with a huge rippling effect across the universe. I looked it up online and sure enough there is an article on NASA's website. If you are interested click here: .

I have one more theory to offer based on an observation I have made.  As far as our country and the political / economic climate is concerned, I observe the baby boomer generation is reaching retirement and the generation before them are leaving.  This is sure to change circumstances quite a bit. That is a large generation, and the fact they lived through the social and cultural revolution of the 60's and 70's which is what brought Yoga to the United States, gives me hope.

I am not exactly sure what is causing this change. Perhaps it is an accumulation of many factors and maybe it is just time, but I am experiencing it, and I feel it is larger than usual. It feels like there is a restructuring going on.

It is a natural human response to react to change with fear.  Change brings the unknown to our doorstep.  Some people are happy to embrace this; others have a high resistance.

My understanding of the Buddha's teachings is that change is inevitable and suffering occurs because we are attached to what was.  We suffer because we are not present.  Present and awake and observing what IS happening right now.

I think it is invaluable to look at this. Darwin taught us a long time ago about adaptation.  Species that cannot adapt to a changing environment do not survive.  As a collective human community, we must stay aware and be open to change our way of being with our shifting environment, especially when the elements themselves are changing.

Although maintaining an equilibrium and openness to change is healthy, it is not always easy. I feel my spirituality is being put to the test through my current life experience.  There is a certain amount of grief or feeling of loss that naturally arises through changing times.  Yes, I have been feeling that. Anxiety about what is to come?  Check! Feeling that too.

I am personally working on changing my outlook and feelings towards change.  Instead of feeling dread and fear, I am looking at it with excitement and open eyes. What wonderful new opportunities, possibilities, and fertility will this bring?  The open space feels good.  Breathe it in.  There lies infinity.

You know what they say, "The old must be released so that the new can enter."  That is what the Kali Durga card reads in my Goddess Oracle card deck.   Ok. I get it!

I am hopeful that all these changes with the Earth, the climate, people's personal lives and decisions bring about wonderful bountiful opportunity and growth to do things different, to improve the way we live, and to expand our inner and outer circles.  If nothing else, it will stir us up a little and get things moving!

I must say that these changing times move me to feel more grateful for the stability our spiritual practices provide us.  On that note, although there are large shifts within the studio and amongst the students, nothing has changed in that me and my community will still be there day after day dedicated to the Practice.  Same old, same old....

Early morning, sleepy eyes, achy muscles, incense, morning prayers, inhale, and exhale....Things remain the same in this changing time at the Ashtanga Yoga Center in the Outer Banks!

If you are interested in taking practice or joining us for one of our events as always you can visit our website for information:  www.ashtangayogaobx.com.

Tim Miller will be here soon!  Great timing for a visit from the Jungle Physician!

With Love,

Michelle Dorer

Owner, Director, Teacher – Ashtanga Yoga Center, Outer Banks, NC

Categories: Off the Mat