Switch…One Gear at a Time

When I was in college my boss at a restaurant tried to teach me how to drive stick shift. He was a kind, patient soul…I really don’t know what he was thinking. As we took to the streets in his pick-up truck, I concentrated completely. I was pressing in the clutch and gripping the gear shift so hard I think it left imprints on my hand. As I pulled through one intersection and hiccuped my way down the road, he said: “That was good. Now the next time you take it to third gear go through second, rather than from first to third.”

I never have gotten the hang of manual transitions, but I would like to. I like the methodical approach to driving, where you are a part of the engines work to accelerate. I like being in tune as something warms ups and moves on. It is similar to what the change of season offers. As the warmer weather finally sneaks in, we have the opportunity to move into a different pace, adopt new routines, and switch up how we approach this thing we call life.

A yoga teacher that I have studied with offered the idea that when we are changing from one pose to another, from one season to another, from one place in life to another, we should do it with respect and mindfulness. She advocates for what she calls micro-transitions, taking a slow, deliberate approach to moving onto the next thing, the next phase.

Perhaps this micro-transition is us moving into a new season, understanding that even if the weather warms up fast, we do have to. Perhaps this micro-transition is applicable to something else in our life: a turn of life’s usual dynamics, a new job, or the return of something or someone that had been absent in our lives. With respect to those individuals who have the go-to-it, have-at-it sensibility, I offer the idea that making a shift, switching gears does not have to mean taking a leap, going from low gear to high gear or even vice versa. Rather, I offer the thought to honor ourselves and the world around us by taking it slowly, switching gears one at a time—and, yes, going through second before getting to third.

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