Sometimes Change Means Standing Still
by Amelia Kanan
Standing still has not always been my thing. Literally as well as metaphorically. “Amelia, sit down!” I had a coping mantra when I was little because I felt like I was going to die from monotony. “Nothing is forever”, I would whisper to my 7 year old self as I had to wake up at the same time, every day and go to the same place, every day and deal with the same people, every day. Since I didn’t understand that it wasn’t the routine I hated but what my routine consisted of, I blamed routine. I wanted to feel my heart beat. Changes afforded me the feeling of freedom and that thrill of the unknown was a constant comfort to me. When change wasn’t a possibility, escape tactics were always available…we all know the wild imagination that stemmed from that as well as the limit testing and “So what if I die, life is short anyways” mentality…Although lots of people around me saw some of my life choices as fleeting, erratic, and even self destructive, I was just searching for ways to scratch that itch. They worked but even while running free, I should have been chanting my old school mantra, “Nothing is forever” because once you do the things that scare you, they stop scaring you and become…mundane which is what made me run in the first place.
When I realized this, I asked myself…”Well, Amelia, what are you scared of right now?” The image of a house popped into my brain. Consciously, I had always been aware of my resistance to owning a house, having a family, being OBLIGATED to something and someone. Forever, I had seen it as a ball and a chain. A cage. This time, however, instead of metal I saw roots. I then began to itch for a new kind of change. This change, terrifyingly enough, would ultimately need me to stand still. I shook the image of the house out of my head as soon as “standing still” crept in. Months later in yoga, while balancing on my left leg in a standing split, I envisioned roots grounding my left foot and that’s when it hit me. Standing still doesn’t have to feel boring or normal; just make sure you stand in a position that stimulates you. Roots aren’t restrictive, in fact they provide you the sturdiness to grow even more. That root image sat with me while I continued on my transient path. After awhile I realized how empty all my motions and conversations began to feel. I felt as though I wasn’t being true to myself and my inner needs. I needed to buck up and trust my gut. I was ready to grow and couldn’t do that without standing still.
Although I haven’t moved, travelled or “escaped” in any of my old ways, my itch is being scratched and I am still that bird that has to fly. I’ve learned how to channel that energy through my work and feel fulfilled because every day I’m challenged, stimulated, sometimes freaked out, exhausted and of course, smiling the whole way. I have finally learned that routine doesn’t mean mundane, at all (unless you’re a mundane person). In fact, if your day to day life is chaotic, routine can provide safety, comfort and recharge.
However, I have to admit it hasn’t been easy. I’ve struggled and still do (obviously because I have yet to actually buy a house). The fear is huge as I look for houses. This all surfaced when planning a trip back to visit my old life, my friends, my loved ones. Temptation was at an all time high. “All of your things are still in California. You could totally find work within a month. You don’t belong in Michigan, you’re different than everyone, you don’t fit in.” Thankfully, I’m mindful enough to know that that voice is actually fear and I don’t let that push me around. I’m proud to say that I have already grown roots here and I want them to keep growing so I can keep growing too. Besides, “Nothing is forever”, not even owning a house.