Conditions for Change

This past weekend, I attended a workshop titled “Creating Transformational Workshops.” It sounds like a big promise, doesn’t it? A big, intimidating, and inspiring topic that I was game to try. When I teach yoga, my hope is that people will experience the same transformative power that I experience from yoga. I show up, offer opportunities for mindfulness, movement, breath, and rest. I hold a space for reconnection and healing. But this workshop seemed to be saying that there was an actual formula to transformation.

On occasion, I’ve had the honor of hearing of someone’s “moment of clarity.” I’ve had those moments of clarity myself. Moments of transformation and healing that show up as tears of happiness or relief, feelings of success or moments of re-evaluation. Practice anything long enough and things start to shift. Change is inevitable but purposeful change requires the right conditions.

So, what is different about the experience that feels transformative versus any other experience? Transformation occurs when you are in the right place mentally, emotionally, and physically. Sometimes it may appear that transformation just “happens” to us, but I believe that we are co-creators of our experiences. Our decisions, actions, and experiences add up to the outcomes of our lives and so when the transformation occurs, we must take credit.

Your experiences will accumulate, and the time will come when change needs to happen. Depending on the environment and conditions we are in at that moment in time, we either experience transformation or deterioration. A seed will either grow, lay dormant, or disintegrate into the soil. The seed wants to grow and transform into the plant. It just needs the correct conditions at just the right time of the year.

Your soul also wants to transform and grow and luckily it’s not a seed planted in one spot in the earth. We get to grow by moving, having experiences, learning, and interacting. We don’t always have the luxury of the right conditions for every experience of life.Sometimes we need a bit more time before transformation is possible. A death may occur that utterly shakes you to your core. I’ve seen death bring greater appreciation for life to one friend but watched another wither before my eyes in her grief. A fire could take away a home and possessions and a person may transform by seeing that they can start over or someone may disintegrate from a sense of loss. A health crisis may cause a person to blossom into a model of health while another person may follow a health crisis to their own end.

So, what are those conditions for transformation? Feeling safe is first and foremost. Safety is often built through trust – trust of those that hold us with their presence, guidance from our “tribe,” a teacher or mentor who is embodied and relatable. All of these create a sense of trust. Our tribe, mentors, and teachers help us feel that we are heard, that we belong, and that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. This type of support allows us to be embodied and get out of our heads. We can connect with our heart. These are some of the conditions that foster transformation. We are not seeds planted in one place. We can move to more fertile soil. We can weed out those things in our lives that don’t serve us on our path.

I myself had a huge transformation last year. I look back and I often wonder “why then.” I was at a low place physically, mentally, and emotionally. I had been at that low place other times in my life and I would always just pick myself up to move on, but never transformed. So, what was different about this time?

This is where I acknowledge my own part in my transformation.Yes, at times it felt almost magical, but I know that my own choices had fostered exactly what I needed to transform. I had created an environment where I was surrounded by love, support, trust, and safety. I had a practice that brought me into my body and got me out of my head. I had a mentor I could turn to that made me feel seen and heard. All these conditions together allowed me to change my mindset. And once my mind changed, I was able to see my own innate power to change everything else. That feeling of growth and transformation is what fuels my passion for supporting others in seeing their own empowerment.

So, am I going to suddenly create workshops that will create huge transformation in people’s lives? I honestly don’t know. But the training helped raise my awareness of the roll I play to create the conditions of safety, empowerment, and connection. When we feel safe, our minds can shift, and when our mindset changes, anything is possible. So, when you feel most loved, at ease, and completely supported, be prepared. Transformation may just happen for you.

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