How to ‘Be’ with Change
Change is a process; it is fluid; it is alive. In reality, I see that change is constant; everyday is new, life on Earth is in a continuous cycle of birth, growth and death. Change can happen quickly – overnight our world can turn upside down, for better or for worse. Change can also happen slowly, with gradual developments, like a plant that slowly grows into a tree. Whatever stage that change takes place, it marks both the beginning of something new and the end of something that has been.
The flow of change can affect everyone differently and trigger our emotions in so many ways but I believe there is one entity that distinguishes whether we suffer as a result of change; resistance. Resistance is like a black curse that poisons us, eats away at us and traps our spirit from being at peace. When we battle against something that feels like we are trudging through treacle, our energy can become drained and depleted; inspiration can dry up like soil in the Sahara, and nothing grows.
Sometimes change is yearned for; change to our circumstances, our life, our relationships, our bank accounts, our jobs; and yet it is often a lengthy, difficult process to make a leap out of something, into something else. The art of transition can take time; it is a journey of inner transformation as well as outer alterations. And somehow, despite the contemplations of how change occurs, we know when we are there. We know when change has arrived; like an Autumn day where we see the tree’s leaves gradually change colour as they drop to the ground one by one. Then, one chilly morning we look out of the window and see that the trees are completely bare; the pathway is no longer covered with shades of red and orange and the season has changed; winter has arrived.
It can sometimes feel like winter has come overnight; suddenly it feels like the change from summer to autumn or autumn to winter has happened so quickly that it almost feels like a shock. People often say “when did that happen?” The mystifying truth is that the process of change is constantly happening; it is a continuous cycle of birth, growth and release.
If we can learn to approach change like it is our friend, our teacher or a blessing, would it be easier to embrace, to let in? Allowing change in means allowing something else to end; it is the ending of our comfort zone, our safety blanket of the known that can make this step the most challenging. We may hear the ‘what if’s’ or screaming fears of the ego creep in, trying to lure us to stay with what we know.
The uncanny truth about change is that once we stop clinging onto resistance, we release the suffering that it can cause us. Releasing resistance is like freewheeling down hill; suddenly we can relax; we can take in the scenery and enjoy the experience of cycling without effort. That steep hill we just cycled up now feels like a distant memory. As our resistance weakens, our acceptance strengthens. As we release the upstream struggle towards change, we can allow it in with comfort and grace. As we learn to surrender and accept where we are, we can welcome change with opportunity.
Here are 3 effective ways I believe we can practice to release resistance, surrender to our situation and allow change in with a sense of calmness:
1. Give yourself permission to feel
Change is a complex with many layers; adjustments can take time to process; whether it is something we consider to be a positive change or a negative one; when something happens that disrupts what we knew, we need to take the time to recognise that something is different now. Sometimes this feels like a celebration of joy, sometimes it is a painful feeling of grief and sadness. Whatever feelings surface as we go through change, giving ourselves permission to fully feel them creates space to process the transition; to mark the ending and greet the new.
2. Connect to the Earth
There is a beauty in observing nature’s graceful ways; it does not question life; the seeds flower and then they die and the cycle of nature goes on without restraint or struggle. Nature reminds us that there is a force greater than ourselves in life; we do not know exactly how it exists and yet we have never known a world without it. Knowing that nature’s journey is greater than our own can give us a new perspective on change; what may be changing within our life now may simply be preparation for part of a bigger picture to come. Who knows what is good or bad?
Isn’t the key to surrendering to notice that resistance is there in the first place? We can only surrender to discomfort once we know it is there. If we look at the discomfort we experience with change in the face, we can start to detach and surrender from it with kindness. Only when we shed a light on the edges of our life can we can slowly soften them.
I wish you all the most resistant-free growth you can have, wherever you are in the mysterious journey we call Life!