A few years ago, we bought a manual transmission car. In a lot of ways it was just the right fit for our young family. The only problem was that I didn’t know how to drive it.
I remember the anxiety I felt sitting in the passenger seat during the test drive with my husband. I knew the car was the best one in our budget, and it was clear he loved driving it. But the thought of making a big purchase like that before I even knew how to drive stick made me feel really uneasy.
Finally, I caved. Not because of any pressure from him, but because of some reasoning I still stand by: It didn’t make sense to pass up the best option for our family just because I didn’t want to learn to do something new.
So we sold the old car, bought the new one, and I was stuck at home until I learned to drive it.
My husband and I suffered through one awkward driving lesson before I decided to take my pride and stage fright and figure it out alone. I started getting up around 4am to practice with a YouTube video in the elementary school parking lot. I also taped a humbling sign in the rear window that said “Learning to drive stick,” which got me some waves and smiles when I stalled at stoplights, my two little kids laughing at me from the back seat and chanting “MOMMY KILLED IT!”
Yep, there were some less than dignified moments during that learning process. But after a few days I was shifting like a pro and loving it. Since then we’ve added some miles and another car seat to that car, and I know it’ll be a little sad when I have to give up the stick for a minivan.
Change is hard.
It’s hard on kids, hard on adults, hard on humans. And often big changes are accompanied by a host of smaller, interwoven micro-changes. Not only are we in the diver’s seat of a completely different car; we also have to learn to shift gears.
According to yoga and its sister wisdom, Ayurveda, Autumn is a time that exacerbates feelings of shift, change, transition, restlessness, and yes, anxiety. The air gets cooler and dryer. The leaves are crunchy and crisp. The days are shorter. All of these changes affect the human mind and body.
If you’re feeling a sense of upheaval, you’re not alone, even if you can’t really put your finger on why. The seasonal shift by itself is enough to throw us off, and can cause us to experience flightiness and unease. On the flip side, if you’re a person with generally lower energy you might be finding you’ve got more of a spring in your step!
Wherever you’re at right now, yoga offers an abundance of mind-body wisdom to provide footholds during this season of shift and change. I’ve learned a lot of anchoring tricks over the years, and I look forward to sharing them with you all month (make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter and following me on IG and FB!).
But if you only read one thing from me, let it be this:
Don’t be ashamed to acknowledge the difficulty of transitions.
Tape that sign up on your car window, even if it’s just as a reminder to yourself that it’s hard being human right now. Extend some grace. Hold yourself compassionately. Nobody’s going to judge you for that. I’m betting you’ll even get some smiles and waves.