Some notes on dealing with change
“Change itself, if you go through it consciously, is the doorway into the next stage of growth — one that propels you into a deeper relationship with yourself and the world”.
As you know, the last year has brought about some major changes in my life. Whether you’ve been experiencing big changes or not, I am sure that you have been experiencing some sort of change in your life too. After all, things don’t tend to stay the same for very long. With that in mind, I thought I would share some lessons that I’ve been learning for the last little while on how to navigate change. I can truly say that these principles have helped me to face the unimaginable. These principles were taken from an article I read while in a waiting room one day (who knew I’d read a life changing piece while waiting for a yoga class!) called “7 yogic principles to help you navigate change”. Unfortunately, I don’t know which magazine the article was from and wasn’t able to find it online. Therefore, the principles are very much paraphrased based on the notes that I jotted down on a crumpled up receipt in my purse, and the descriptions and how they have applied to my life are just my own thoughts speckled with some quotes that resonated with me enough for me to jot them down (next time I’ll jot down the source too, silly me).
1. Know that change is inevitable: Even though this seems obvious, it was a big one for me. I think that on some level we all like to believe that the good things in life will never change. Somehow, when they do, we are shocked. This is how I felt when things started progressing really quickly with my mom’s illness. Even though I had more warning than most people do (she had an aggressive form of cancer), I still didn’t really see it coming. Embracing the idea that change is inevitable, and accepting that my life would always be in some sort of transition, somehow made it a little easier to accept what I was going through. Since that time, it has also made me value what is around me a little more – because I no longer expect things to stay the same forever.
2. View change as the invitation: I found it particularly interesting to learn that in more traditional societies every phase in life was regarded as an invitation into a new way of being.
What if our society viewed change in this way? How would our response to change differ?
We may not realise it while it’s happening, but changes tend to redefine us, whether this be in some subtle way or in a more dramatic way. I used to think that celebrating little milestones was silly, but I’ve come to learn that the little (and big) milestones in my life really have helped me to grow in different directions and I would not be who I am now without them.
So how do you go through change “consciously”? The article urges us to “consider the way in which the change will expand you, teach you about yourself, show you both your limits and your capacity to move beyond them. The more you can accept this as an invitation process, the easier it is to discover the gifts of change”.
3-Meditate (or pray) through uncertainty: I don’t meditate that much, but I cannot underestimate the power that prayer has had in my life. If you are not into prayer, I would at least recommend regular, quiet reflection. I jotted down this quote from the article “the real antidote to discomfort is to move into it rather than away from it”.
As I prepare to go through one of the biggest (maybe the biggest) change of my life, the transition from “maiden to mother” (as my pre-natal instructor put it), I plan on being fully present and conscious of this change. The last big change I went through was a very difficult one, and one that I wanted to ignore. Since this one is a happier one, it won’t be as hard for me to acknowledge it, but I still think that the above principles apply just as much to good changes as to bad ones — after all, both types of change stretch us and help us grow, and for that reason, they merit acknowledgement, attention and reflection — and maybe a little celebration!