“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s September and welcome to CHANGE!
Ahh. CHANGE. The only constant in this kooky swirl of life and we all respond so differently to it. Some of us are naturally more flexible than others and handle change pretty smoothly – we easily adjust our mindset when situations or circumstances shift. Others get upset, angry, disappointed, or defeated when life unfolds differently than we anticipated. And how we respond to change becomes the fabric of our life – it can lead to lethargy, depression, emotional turbulence, regret, resentment, tenderness, reactivity and spurts of aggressive behavior, and in extreme cases, even shutting down, paralysis, and withdrawing.
Change is a natural part of life, and everyone faces it at one time or another. Most of us are continually tweaking our behaviors, expectations, and personal desires…making small adjustments that reflect our changing needs or interests – some have even become time honored “change” rituals such as back to school activities, getting ready for holidays, morphing with the seasons, etc.
How you respond to change often depends on the results you think it will bring such as excitement if you think it will bring a positive flow into your life – or sadness if you perceive that something you were used to is gone or will be gone. You may feel excited about change that involves a gain, such as a new baby or a promotion to a new rank. But you may worry about a change that involves a loss, such as divorce or a move to a new duty station. Or you may find it much easier to make gradual adjustments than to face a sudden upheaval in your everyday life.
Accepting a sudden, unexpected change — like divorce, a diagnosis, a death, being fired, someone you love being hurt, something you are attached to being taken away or shifted, being transferred or simply turning the clocks forward or back for daylight savings time – can be the most jarring. You wake up and your world is different – or when tragedy strikes, our lives can shift in the blink of an eye.
That’s because we paint our world with a brush of consistency – even though we know that life is filled with inconsistencies.
This is why I regularly recite the serenity prayer. And whether you belive in god or not understanding the serenity prayer can make a huge difference in how we reeive existence.
The prayer goes like this:
Dear Lord, God, Universe, Higher power, divine creator (or whatever feels right):
Grant me the serenity to ACCEPT THE THINGS I CAN NOT CHANGE.
The courage to CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN.
And the wisdom TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.
We are all subtle control freaks! (some of us not so subtle). And when we think we have lost control, then fear, anger, anxiety, stress, and disappointment set in. But if we can accept an uncontrollable change for what it is… accept the reality that we do not have full control over what happens in life, then it becomes easier to be graceful when change visits.
If you don’t change…you don’t grow!!
The key is to go back to what we can “control” – our thoughts (through meditation; our words (through impeccable & conscious speech); and our actions (through, as the Buddha said, right action…coming from a place of stillness).
Change — even if we don’t want it — can be beneficial. Change brings us new opportunities to evolve, adapt, and move beyond limiting beliefs. In every change is a lesson. In every change is an opening for something new, letting go of the old; something fresh, letting go of the stale; something unexpected, stepping beyond limits. In every change we are reminded that we are an integrated thread in the universal fabric of existence – ever changing…ever merging. As one door closes – a new one opens. As one chapter ends…a new one begins. And this wild freight train of existence keeps on moving. We’ve all heard Ghandi’s quote – and maybe even posted it on Facebook or sent it out in emails – be the change you want to see in the world. This week, let’s use the mantra I AM THE CHANGE! with all that it brings and with all its scariness, uncertainty, loss of control, and transformational power. I AM THE CHANGE. Now let’s get busy.
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