Change is a constant. It is our privilege and our challenge all in one, but it's never wrapped up neat and pretty with a bow. Anytime one moving part of your life changes, the other parts jostle around to make room for it. So, change is usually messy, uncertain, and filled with both excitement and anxiety.
Change comes with both gains and losses. Changes we initiate ourselves are in pursuit of our ever evolving story. These changes are in hopes of continuing to increase our happiness, or the happiness of someone we love.
But some changes are thrown at us without our choice, like the loss of a job, or being left by a partner. While these are harder to digest on one level, there is one stress we are absolved of that that instance, it’s choice. We didn't choose it, our only power is in how we respond. And that is a great power. It's these stories where people turn an unfortunate event into a flourishing one.
I’m thinking of my friend who was bitterly divorced by his partner of 15 years, just a couple of years after their marriage. He was distraught, wounded, anxious, angry and sad. But he had no choice in the matter. Every day he picked himself up, and kept walking on. Only a couple of years later, he was content in a deep and much healthier relationship. His response to a change that he did not initiate, nor could he control, was to keep living. Those two years were excruciating. He was in constant pain, but he kept moving forward. He simultaneously felt the hit of the bomb in slow motion over and over again, while taking one small step toward re-balancing and reshaping his life. I’m so proud of him. I know that part of his resilience came from his ability to be embrace his own vulnerability. He had to let some walls down. Allow his friends to see him in the despair he was in, but he didn’t expect anyone but himself to get him out. Through the purifying fire of his pain, he created a new life.
Changes we make by choice, come with the same upheaval. These types of changes come from a deep down knowing that something different is needed. It doesn't discount or reject our former choices. But the soul is on a long, and constantly evolving journey. These eruptions from deep within can rock your world just as much as the changes we didn’t choose. Added to that, there can be a strange guilt associated with it, as it seems you are tearing down a perfectly great balance and status quo, to make room for something different.
Recently, another friend told me she’s moving her whole family, husband and two kids to another country. Imagine! She’s risking her career, her relationship with her husband may or may not withstand the move, and her kids are going to enter into an entire new world with another language, customs and atmosphere. But she just knows she has to do it. For many reasons, her life needs this change. It’s taking a ton of courage, and a lot of effort, but she’s unstoppable. Again, I’m inspired to watch her listen to her gut and walk down a new road.
Sometimes relationships, or career steps that you'd worked hard for and once brought you great joy, need to be released to realize your next steps in life, and this can be extremely hard. Yet the change is as necessary as any. Our spirit has a deep knowing. When it speaks to us we have to listen.
There's no doubt such changes bring anticipation of something hopeful. There's also no doubt they will carry a measure of fear and sadness. As we face the unknown, and voluntarily let go of huge elements of our former self. But resistance to these types of changes is just swimming in our own internal struggle. We have to keep walking forward, even if it means voluntarily walking through a fire to get to another side of ourselves.
Whatever the changes, now or on the horizon: embrace. Embrace the voice of your soul, as it is on a journey unrecognizable to the daily rigidly patterned world. It is a song being sung deep in your heart that gets let out one note at a time, over the long course of life, and each breath is as unpredictable as it is beautiful. Let down your resistance, open up to possibilities beyond your imagination, and embrace change.