The nature of our human experience brings us to many thresholds: do we stay where we feel comfortable, or cross into uncharted territory? Do we look and never leap, or do we venture outside our comfort zone with courage and faith?
Changes and life transitions seldom come with brightly lit bridges to cross. More often we find ourselves in the dark, taking a step, testing, guessing our next move. The way can seem very empty and we fae it alone , or vast emptiness to education, career, partnership, childbirth, child rearing, retirement, caring for her aged parents, death and taxes. For most of us we move through these ages and stages of life. Never alone but always interacting with others and our world.
Some of these changes are cyclical, they come and go as the seasons come and go. Other changes seem to strike suddenly out of the blue and we are left completely unprepared, exhausted and scared.
What seems like the end of life as we know it has the potential to offer us an amazing extraordinary opportunity to experience more fully the life we came here to live. More love, more joy. less struggle and resistance, more peace of mind and acceptance, less fear and worry. Thriving instead of surviving. Living in our authentic selves, aware, confident and secure, moment to moment.
Change is everywhere. It is a part of life. It is the nature of Life. Yet we resist change, we fight to keep things in place, to stay in our comfort zone, to keep doing what we’ve always been doing. Is it just inertia or is there some internal pressure that works to maintain the status quo, both inside and out? Can we fight change and win? Or is it inevitable that life will change and we need to find a way to live with change.
And yet for most of us we prefer to stay in our comfort zone, to keep things the way they are, to stay in our routine, and do what we’ve been doing
Change in the outer world
The most obvious changes are right there in front of us in the outer world. We see the change of seasons: summer becomes fall, the leaves change color and the temperature drops. We look at our bodies and see changes in shape, in size, even the texture of our skin changes as we age. The people around us change over our lifetime. Not only are there different people in our world today, but even those people who have been with us since birth, our family members, they too have changed.
If changes in the outer are easy to observe what about the internal changes that we experience? Our bodies are constantly renewing and releasing, digesting what we eat then letting go of toxins that no longer serve us, New cells are being formed and dying, our organs are functioning, our heart is beating, the blood in the body is circulating. The body is a reminder that we are nothing but a change machine constantly in motion even when we are sitting still or asleep.
And our emotions by very definition are constantly shifting and changing. One minute we’re feeling elated and happy as we react to something in the outer or as we recall a pleasant experience. And within minutes we can shift and our emotions can become fiery and angry or sad and depressed. One minute we’re happy the next minute we’re sad and yet the source of this shift and change in our emotions seems elusive to us.
And finally our thoughts are always changing. Even the concept that our thoughts belong to us seems like a false concept. So much of what we think is merely a reaction to or a reflection of the world around us. And those thoughts are shaped and formed by the programs and patterns of our childhood and anchored by our repetitive behaviors, perceptions and attitudes.
It doesn’t really matter how young or old we are, Even a little child has to deal with change as they grow and learn new skills: from crawling to walking to riding a bicycle, as they go to school and learn to interact beyond the family. Change happens.
As we become more aware of our environment and the people around us, it can seem as if change is happening TO US. We can take it personally when someone wants us to take us out of a comfortable routine that we enjoy. We can resist the beliefs and behaviors that others demonstrate and often find ourselves trying to manage and change other people. Change happens.
Change happens as we move through different stages in our lives. We change friends, we move into a different house to a different community. We have a friend and then that friend moves on or we move on. We have one love, a boyfriend, a spouse, a partner, until we find things are not as we expected and we decide to move on. There is a break up, a divorce it affects our world internally and externally and the world of those around us. Change happens.
We have work that we love and then our job changes and we find ourselves dissatisfied in our position, or the company decides to let us go and we are out of a job. Change happens
We have enough money to meet our needs to buy the things that we need and want, but then the economy changes, our job situation changes, we get a divorce, we have another child, and suddenly our expenses are more than we make. As our finances change our internal world has to catch up to deal with the reality of our growing material needs and the necessity of expanding our resources.
In our relationships the possibilities for change are endless. If we simply look inside ourselves we can see how even in one day our opinions, our desires, our expectations, our actions, our words and underneath it all our thoughts and emotions are constantly shifting and changing. If this is happening inside us, it is also happening in those around us. One minute your partner is in a playful agreeable mood and you are feeling very pleasant. Shortly the winds change internally and you find your partner is complaining and angry over something that happened at work.
How to you react?
Change happens inside and outside for all of us and much of our Journey through life is learning how to deal with all these changes. This becomes our strategy. We try to DEAL, to COPE, to ENDURE, TO MANAGE, TO CONTROL, TO AVOID CHANGE. To deal with change would somehow suggest that we have the power to control it. Our best strategy is to learn to experience change, to see it as an opportunity for our growth and learning, to be aware of our own internal attitudes, and to authentically except change in ourselves, in others and in the world.