The idea of Embracing Change comes into our lives many times. The question is, do we embrace those changes or do we hide from them? Change usually comes swiftly, and when it is difficult, how truly prepared are we? We seem to embrace good change with happiness and gratitude; difficult change makes us want to hide under the covers. I have witnessed and experienced both, just as you have. Job loss, losing a loved one, illness, break-ups, family and friend situations that can leave us feeling stuck and keep us from living the life we desire and deserve.
The most significant life-altering change I have ever experienced happened to me four years ago at this exact time. It was a hot September day when I was told by my doctor that I needed to permanently quit my job due to the seriousness of being diagnosed with Lupus and several other chronic illnesses. As if I had left my body and was watching myself from across the room, I could feel the life being sucked out of me.. A few minutes passed before I was able to gather myself together in one piece again. My husband was asking me questions, and I was just sitting there with tears rolling down my cheeks in a daze.
Five months later when I, in a profound truth, accepted the fact that nothing lasts forever and change is part of life, I became better equipped for the journey. Struggle occurs when we resist reality. So the best way to end the struggle is to embrace the impermanence of life. Enjoy the good, and remember that the not-so-good times are just temporary. The light will appear at the end of the tunnel, it is bound to happen, you just need simple practices that bring you home to your truest self.
How to embrace change:
1. Don’t do anything, just sit still and be silent.
If you’re facing a massive rescaling of your life, your first impulse will be to go into a whirring spin of activity and mind chaos, which is exactly what I did right after I was diagnosed. I later discovered there’s a lot of value in sitting quietly and being with yourself in thought instead. You need to allow yourself periods of silence to find clarity and resolve.
2. Listen to your wise heart.
When others know we are going through a change, it seems they become experts on what we need to do. Advice comes: what we should do, what we shouldn’t do. It can be frustrating. I am not saying we don’t need support from others, we do … what I am saying is to listen to your inner voice and listen from your heart. Your heart guides you. You become very intuitive. You gain more confidence to question what is best. You learn to begin over exactly where you are.
3. Learn to live with uncertainty.
Allowing life to unfold in the present will keep you from worrying over questions and solutions that may never even evolve. This is also a great way to add creativity and newness to your life. You might feel anxious, but that does not signal that you’re doing something wrong, only that you’re trying something new. Uncertainty when used as a tool opens up so many possibilities we never even knew existed.
4. Shed your old skin.
Discard physical clutter, tired ideas, old routines. Seek out a coach or mentor … seeing things through another’s eyes can help. This is one of the most helpful practices I embraced. I learned practices that still serve me well today. I continue to cultivate practices I learned over three years ago (mindfulness, meditation, breath practice, daily ritual and so many more).
5. Ignore your inner reptile.
There’s a part of the human mind that is often referred to as the “lizard brain,” because it existed in the earliest land animals. The lizard brain is concerned with survival; it likes the tried and true so it’s likely to pipe up at any time, flooding you with adrenaline warnings of “Danger!” This was a handy function to have when deviating from the familiar path to the watering hole. But in the modern world it’s based within our ego and emerges when we feel fearful of things that are out of our control or by mind sets we pay attention to that have no thought or reasoning. It is our flight or fight instinct. Learn to ignore these thoughts, or talk to them and watch them go … pouf!
6. Learn self-care, self-compassion, self-love.
This is another one of my favorite practices, maybe indeed my favorite. Start learning how to become your own best friend, and be gentle with yourself. When familiar routines suddenly change, it can seem as if all your ideals are gone. For a while after I lost my health, I had the sense that I was in a free fall. I lost my identities that were so inner twined. While absorbing the shock of the new, it’s crucial to make yourself feel well taken care of. Put yourself first, not in a selfish way, but in a self-full way.
The ability to go from resisting change to embracing change can happen. It may not happen overnight, but that is okay. You are the only one who can make the choice to resist or embrace change. The next time you are faced with an experience which causes your reality to change, take a deep breath and take a step back. It is okay to be concerned or frustrated, you are human after all. Once the emotions have calmed down, just remember … we are all works in progress.