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Friday, August 16, 2013

Navigating the Winds of Change

Change. Sometimes we come to think of it as a 6 letter dirty word. I am not referring to the kind in your pocket, but the kind that can take us out of our comfort zone, push us into doing something we weren’t planning on or get in the way of our routine, seemingly taking us off course. But what if that change actually IS the course? What if we are not meant to be static? How would it feel if like the wind of a soft breeze we let change flow through us without the usual resistance?

These are interesting questions that may upon first read make you feel uncomfortable. But I am going to challenge you to take a long, hard look at the changes that have come in your lifetime. Think about how much you may have resisted something changing and then how it turned out for you in the long run. The resistance that we feel to change is simply the fear of the unknown. But if we can train our minds to start embracing the unknown (with some heartfelt practice) some of, if not all, of that fear can be dissipated. Think about surprises, do you enjoy them? That is actually excitement about the unknown. And what is behind that excitement is the promise of something new, the possibility of expansion on some level, the hope of having something good that you didn’t have before. Those are the same feelings that can be applied to change in our lives. It just takes some conscious choosing to so.

On the flip side there are some folks who in fact do not like surprises. If this is you, know that how you feel is OK. But ask yourself if that aversion to surprises feels good to you? Do you desire to find that place inside of you that gets lit up at the thought of a surprise? If so, you can try this simple formula. Think of a time when someone did surprise you, maybe someone threw a surprise party for you and you didn’t like it because you don’t like being the center of attention. So you know the reason why you didn’t like it but then ask yourself how long that uncomfortable feeling lasted as opposed to how you felt overall with a night that was perhaps spent with friends and family in a time of conversation and laughter.

This formula can be applied to any area in your life where you may have experienced change. Think about how long the discomfort actually lasted. And notice how much of the discomfort actually came from the anticipation of the change rather than of the change itself. Often we turn ourselves into fortune tellers, deciding that we know just how awful an impending change is going to be. And more often than not that is simply not the case. Further, it’s important to note if we are in fact reacting to the reality of the situation or something we may have exaggerated in our mind.

The point to be recognized is that even if moments and events characterized by change come with some discomfort, they can also come with renewal, learning and growth. Somehow we have come to view change as synonymous with “bad.” But that is simply a perspective and perspectives can be changed with some awareness and conscious effort to do so. Discomfort comes from the not knowing. But if we can ask ourselves to turn the “what if’s” into good things; what if this change brings me even better circumstances, what if this change leads me to meet one of my lifetime best friends, what if this job change leads me to an even better work experience with more money, than the unknown can begin to take a new form, a form that is exciting and fresh and can add more richness and fullness to our lives. 

1 comment:

  1. This is definitely the optimistic view of things, Heather. You have a gift to see that path and those of us like me that have a harder time are thankful. Some people are here to be the light-holders, the pathfinders, the bright beacon that can be seen through all of the fog that settles in on our lives. I'm not sure I can be successful following your advice but it looks like the right path.