Life is always at some turning point
I have been reflecting on turning points. Those subtle moments when a shift happens which leads to change.
There was a moment a week or so ago when I looked out the window and I could see a subtle change in the landscape. Something seemed different. I felt an inexplicable change in the air and the feel of the day. It was a cusp – like a signal had been sent out into the air to initiate the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn.
One of the best things I experience in life is having the good fortune to share Mindfulness with others is observing those moments when I can see a ‘penny drop’ with participants. The participants might have an ‘aha’ moment when they suddenly realise something that they previously hadn’t. These are also subtle turning points. Nothing has really changed yet, and yet a seed has been planted, or a message has been initiated to effect change.
Sometimes a habitual reaction to change might be resistance. However, some change is inevitable. For example, we can’t ask Autumn to hold off for a while just because we are resistant to it. If we notice resistance, it is a good time to use our mindfulness practice to see how it feels and whether we can soften a little and allow it to be there as part of our experience.
There also comes a point in our lives when we feel ready for change but are struggling to make it happen. Maybe we are struggling to let go of a way of life and make way for a new one. It could be we feel stuck and there isn’t a hint of a turning point in sight.
One way or another change happens in our lives. Mindfulness practice can be a good way to sense when change is necessary, manage inevitable change or initiate change. All these moments are turning points. As Rob Nairn quotes from Krishnamurti – ‘the seeing is the doing’. And it really is.
Since practicing Mindfulness, I am acutely aware of what is going on within me. Therefore, I am able to sense things I was oblivious to before. This might be a ‘gut’ feeling, sensations in the body, the ‘feel’ of something I can’t explain. Mindfulness training has helped me to take more notice of what is happening while it is happening and how I am reacting to it.
Very often I feel like a complete beginner with my mindfulness practice. It might be through teaching or sharing on the Daily Mindfulness Meditation, or by doing a practice led by other tutors that I will suddenly have an insight. These insights are often turning points where change is initiated. Something has shifted. I experience turning points in my body. This is why compassion training is so important. When I feel one of these shifts it can make me feel anxious, or resistant. By being curious and kind to myself I can allow the flow to take place. The Mindfulness Association’s Insight training helps us to create the conditions for insight to arise. We could rename it Turning Point Training. Insights are often turning points.
Turning points and change are also deeply connected with intention. We might have intention to change something, or it may be that we set an intention to be open and curious as to what is changing and whether we can go with the flow of the change.
When I feel a ‘turning point’ happening I try and take responsibility for what might occur. If I sense a change afoot, I reflect on how it feels, whether I am resisting or blocking it, or whether I can let go and be curious as to the outcome, even if it doesn’t make sense to me at the time.
It can take courage to be with how we feel and allow ourselves to surrender to the energies our feelings present. Even if we don’t understand them. If we deny or block what we are feeling, it seems like they become vacuum packed inside and pop up unexpectedly at a later time. I feel this is one of the aspects Mindfulness has taught me the most – to be with whatever arises and allow it to flow there and then, rather than denying it and suffering the consequences later. Sometimes this feels scary, but I find that if I allow everything to be as it is and feel it fully, then it is easier to let go. The real purpose of our feelings and insights is to transform, and allow that process to happen.
It is quite easy to try to over analyse feelings that arise, especially if we don’t understand them. Learning to trust in these ‘turning point’ feelings or insight is like creating space for a hidden wisdom to guide us. There are many times in my life where unexpected change has happened, and my life has changed in a positive way beyond anything I could have imagined.
Change is inevitable. If we can tune into the turning points, we can assist the change they are forecasting and prepare ourselves for the journey, no matter where we land. All we need to do is open and allow with curiosity and relax into the flow and see what happens and try and enjoy the ride.
Have you noticed any turning points in your life where you could sense change happening but didn’t know what? That pivotal moment when you are on the cusp of something. How did it make you feel? Were you resistant or did you go with the flow? How did that feel?
I would love to hear your insights.
Please do write to me at email@example.com
Warmest of wishes
Jacky is teaching the new Stillness Through Movement Course on 5thOctober, 2021, and a practice day Compassion Through Stillness & Movement on 3rdOctober.
She has contributed a chapter to the Mindful Heroes Book entitled “Turning Empathic Distress into Compassion – A Hero’s Journey for Family Carers”. You can hear an extract from the chapter where she talks about the results of her MSc Studies in Mindfulness on Compassion & Family Carers. You can download a free sample of Jacky’s chapter here.