It goes without saying that we’ve all experienced unprecedented changes on many levels over the past few years due to the global pandemic—mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and perhaps even physically.
Our world has been completely turned on its ear, and we’re not quite sure if what’s happening now is “our new normal,” or if there’s a different “new normal” to come.
Add to that the fact that global racial tensions are perhaps at the highest level they’ve ever been, our governments are in many ways in complete disarray, and all around us we see financial hardships of some sort.
But the truth of the matter is, whether we’re in the midst of any of that:
or in the process of moving,
going through a divorce,
experiencing the change of seasons,
we’ve received an unexpected medical diagnosis,
a child is leaving the nest,
we just got a new job (or left or lost one),
it’s time to enter the next stage of our lives,
our bodies are changing,
we’re grieving the loss of a loved one …
Whatever it is, change is always afoot.
Yet all of these circumstances—every single one of them—whether we say we want them or not, offer us incredible opportunities to gently let go of the old and powerfully embrace the new.
It’s not about just surviving - but thriving in the midst of change.
Yes, we can, thrive in the midst of change.
So let’s take a closer look at that word “change.”
If you look in a dictionary, you’ll find the definition as a verb:
- “To make or become different,” like a proposal to change a law. Or,
- “To take or use another instead of,” for example, like someone deciding to change their name.
And you’ll also find it as a noun:
- “The act or instance of making or becoming different,” like the shift from a nomadic to an agricultural society.
Those are more, shall we say, “concrete” changes.
But the change that I’m talking about is the one that is the only “constant in life” - inevitable change. And we don’t always get to choose how it comes about … or have the ability to control it.
Sometimes going through a change, even if unexpected, is easy and seems to have a natural ebb and flow to it.
Other times it may stretch us just beyond our comfort zone. And then there are those occasions when every step in the process seems so damn hard!
Change is often inconvenient, unwanted, uncomfortable, and most of the time we resist it. We dig in our heels and act like children, with “No! I’m not gonna!”
Well, we’ve all heard the phrase, “Everything changes. Nothing remains the same.” Even the great Buddhist masters say that nothing is permanent.
But the fact of the matter is, every great beginning has been marked by great change.
If we dig in our heels and insist on holding tightly to our current reality or circumstances, we deny and block the space—the opportunity—to reach for something else, or for someone new to come in.
When faced with change we must learn to ALLOW.
Yes, we can, thrive in the midst of change.
Why is the process of change often so difficult?
Because behind it, is usually fear. And sometimes shame, or anger, or guilt, or unworthiness. It’s that old stuff, those old stories—I call them lies—we’ve been telling ourselves about ourselves, that are lawlessly running our internal belief system in the background.
And that fear, or shame, or anger, or guilt, or unworthiness cause us to walk around unconscious and asleep to who we really are; making us believe that we’re powerless victims to the present situation.
Embracing change instead of resisting is key.
Working through change, even if difficult, or scary, or laced with emotions, leads to transformation, and helps us move more fully into alignment with our highest vision and purpose.
This multidimensional pivot we’re going through right now isn’t the only one we’ll have to make in our lifetime. And no matter what or who may have caused the situation; no matter how long it lasts; regardless of all the forward progress made only to be followed by disappointing steps in the opposite direction, each pivot offers us an opportunity to slow down, take a breath, and reflect on who and what is important to us – what really matters; what no longer serves us; what changes we need or want to make in our lives.
To help you in that effort, here are several simple yet effective steps to help empower you to not just survive but thrive in the midst of change.
Step #1 - Take some time to discover what is preventing you from moving forward.
You may find that the thing you’re really resisting is totally different than what you thought it was in the first place. Or maybe it’s not a thing at all. Maybe it goes much deeper into a learned behavior, or habitual pattern of avoidance.
Step #2 - Identify the specific emotions or feelings you’re experiencing around this particular change.
And be sure to allow yourself to feel the FULL RANGE of these emotions or feelings; from sad to happy; angry to content…whatever they are, allow them ALL to come forth. Give them the space needed to breathe.
Step #3 - Share your emotions and feelings with someone you trust; someone who will hold sacred space for you and allow you to be heard.
This not only opens the door to heartfelt communication and connection to another human being, but you’ll likely find that you aren’t the only one experiencing those emotions and feelings or going through the same or similar life change.
Step #4 - Look for and embrace the lessons and blessings hidden within the change or circumstance.
There are ALWAYS lessons and blessings within. Your job is to find them. Embrace them. Make them your new focus or mantra. Share them to help others. Stand firm in the knowing that they are there to serve your highest and greatest good.
Step #5 - Tap into the positive energy within the things you CAN control.
Like daily meditation and prayer, eating healthy foods that nourish from within, engaging in regular exercise, keeping in touch with beloved friends and family members, helping a neighbor, donating to an organization or cause doing wonderful things in the world… Focus on being of service to yourself and others.
Practicing these steps on a regular basis will help you more easily move through both the unbalanced and steady rhythms and cycles of life.
Nothing, my friends, happens to you; everything happens for you and through you.
Change is your call to presence.
Lastly, I invite you to think of a time when you experienced a major change that you actually wanted.
Maybe it was getting married, or having a baby; landing a big client, or moving into your dream home… Whatever it was, tap into what it felt like at the time, and remind yourself that you WILL feel that way again.
This challenging time shall pass.
And when it does, perhaps you’ll discover a new talent or inner strength waiting in the depths of your soul to come forth.
You might also take less for granted and really learn to appreciate who and what you have in your life.
During this unprecedented time in our world let’s come together and remember that change is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
Yes, we can, thrive in the midst of change!