It’s Fall. Autumn is supposed to be about storing up what you need and shedding what you don’t – preparing for a time of rest. I typically find myself, however, face-to-face with NEWNESS this time of year. Not new like the eager resolutionary (yes I made up that word), motivational spring energy, but the “HERE look at this” new: new schools, new challenges with my kids, new frustrations with my health, new schedules, new circumstances thrust in front of me.
Sometimes this autumn newness is just a unique way for me to allow myself to release what is in my life that is not in my best interest, but there is so much of it this year it got me thinking more about it. And I wondered – how much newness is in your life now or regularly? Do you find value in the different? What does it take for you to try something new?
Now I’m the kind of person that thrives on new things, typically – it’s invigorating, interesting and full of opportunity for growth. It reminds me how brave I am, offers fresh perspective, connects me to how big the world is, and shows me how much more I have to learn. But I’m weird like that. Most people seem to favor the familiar – the controlled, safe, known outcome. I get that. I like this a lot also. Comfort is extremely powerful – especially when we are stressed. But for so many of us this translates into: New = Scary.
Newness can be JUST the place, in fact, to solve our daily woes! Think about what happens when you are stressed: you grab your favorite pjs, your favorite beer and homemade chicken noodle soup, and watch your favorite tv show. Ah, comfort. But this is just avoiding the stress as opposed to rising above it. Trying something new – actually telling your coworker that you don’t appreciate their attitude, reading up on the newest studies on nutrition, taking that belly dance class for fitness, or talking to your pastor about your marriage relationship – these things are helpful, hold the advice we need, and bring more lasting joy.
I read an article this weekend (in Psychology Today by Alex Lickerman, MD – Buddhist Physician) about how new things almost always bring good things. If you recall the last time you tried something new, voluntary or involuntary, think about all the good that came out of it. So the question is, why don’t we do more new things?
Well there is a bit of fear in the unknown, and our day-to-day is typically spent SURVIVING (just getting through the day) – we don’t “have time” for it. Also, remember that “comfort is powerful” thing? Well even if we have a lot stress or pain, if it’s been there a long time it is comfortingly familiar. Not having that stress or pain would be new, and therefore scary.
But imagine how much more fulfilling life would be, how much bigger and brighter you’d be, if you remembered how great it was and tried something new – on purpose… regularly? Or certainly surrendered to the rewards in the new things that are given to you.
Children live in the world of newness and surrender to it. I watch my baby just roll with every moment: “you’re carrying me somewhere”, “I woke up in a different place”, “what a curious loud noise?” I envy that innocent ability.
Because HEADS UP: Newness is always here, and the ability to see it, be open to it and ride it seems extremely peaceful. Every breath renders you physically new, every moment you learn something you are someone new, every time you answer the phone you hear something new.
Where am I going here? I simply am inviting you to step more consciously into newness. It is here all around you, providing great things, and you could tap into it and make it work for you. Nearly daily Ilana sings the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood song “Try new things and it might taste good!” Dang it, you’re right Daniel Tiger!
One more point to ponder: all things are only new once – they can become familiar so quickly. Then you have even more joy to add to your comfort regime.
Part of this for me is realizing that MY WORK IS NEW for everyone. The style, the thinking – it’s not easy to get people to come try on something brand new. But I want you to know that my work is also full of so many familiar things: breath, yoga, structure, favorite music, verse, instincts, or your choices. I try to make it feel comforting as opposed to nerve wracking, and it shows you how to best use familiar in your daily lives. BaredFeet offers a way to return to your familiar vehicle – your body. And see all the wisdom, health, peace, beauty and joy that resides there.
So my challenge to you this fall is to 1) surrender to what ever is new in your life right now – see what it has to teach you, let it bring goodness your way, 2) try something deliberately new that you’ve been wanting to (embrace the present!), and 3) try something from BaredFeet. Blessings!