Nothing is ever the same.
Even souls Change, grow older.
Buddha’s primary lesson: Everything changes.
Jesus states: Do not be anxious about tomorrow.
Change is the certainty of uncertainty. It is the constant reminder of our impermanence on this Earthly realm. Change ultimately signals death of the “wise-gift-body” with which we have been adorned. Change ultimately equals death, the ultimate uncertainty for many.
Time is the construct that marks Change—a practical measure of marking the changes in our lives by minute, season, year, lifetime. There is but one elusive moment that defies Change and Time. It is the Now. The Now is this exact moment as it is. Everything after Now is new.
Change is the hobgoblin of the status quo.
Change is the new.
Change is constant goodbyes, hellos.
Change is growth, expansion.
Change is decomposition, atrophy.
Change is exciting and fearful. Change is opportunity and threat.
Change is a car crash, a promotion, a falling star.
Change is a glacier’s crawl. Change brings a pearl to an oyster.
Without Change, we do not evolve.
Change is constant. It is always knocking at your door. You can cover your ears. You can pretend that you are not home. You can sit in fear and say, “Go away!” You may, however, wish to peek through the peep hole of the door and ask, “Who’s there?” You may even want to invite Change in and have a conversation. There is sometimes an assumption that Change, like Time, is not on our side. Yet Change, no matter how abrupt or brutal, is part of our spiritual growth. It’s part of everyone’s path.
When we engage with Change, we understand it better. When we resist it, we suffer. As we accept that Change is a basic and fundamental part of life that will go on existing with or without us, we will suffer far less.
We are not powerless in the face of Change. Our power lies in Acceptance, engagement and navigating within it. Change can direct us towards our Truth or away from who we really are. Discernment is key.
Change can make for a path correction, a lesson learned. Human beings are geared for Change as we are hard-wired to find our Truth, in this life or another. On this Earth, we are geared for Change in order to Awaken, to be Conscious and to recognize our own Divinity.
Holding on to the Shore
There is a Hopi Prophecy about a river that is flowing very quickly. People along its banks are afraid. They resist the flow and hold onto the shore. After all, they could be torn apart by the rapid-flowing current if they step in. The wise elders, however, say, “Push off the shore and get into the river.”
“Create Communion with those in the flow and banish the struggle,” they call out. “In this way, we act in a sacred manner.”
Resistance is the primary contrasting Energy to Change. With resistance, we are holding onto the shore. We may also be holding onto “the devil we know.” We could be attempting to manage or prevent uncertainties or we may be trying to control our environment. Often times, we attempt to will the Change away, sometimes with every cell in our body. We desire to wish the Change away or deny that it has even occurred. On the most mundane and everyday level, we resist Change simply by implementing routines that can become rigid.
When we are complacent, we are also in resistance to Change. Yet complacency is more dangerous in a way because it is subtle. Complacency doesn’t feel like resistance because when we are in it, we are in “cruise mode.” It is driven by security, rigid routine and a lack of knowledge of our Infinitude and Divinity. Some might say: Complacency is a sin.
In contrast, we can sometimes resist Change through distraction. Staying constantly busy may seem like Change in itself but don’t be fooled. Busy work and multitasking is not real Change when it is acting as a subterfuge to direct our attention away from the Change we may be avoiding. Complacency does not allow for growth.
Whatever our resistance of choice may be, the result is the same. When we attempt to contain ever-Changing states of being within or outside of ourselves, we stagnate our own growth and we expend tremendous energy (the same energy needed to flow with Change) in trying to maintain the status quo.
And the irony is that in resisting Change, we Change. This kind of Change manifests itself in suffering and fatigue caused by resistance. We transform into a state of stagnation and denial and shift away from growth and learning. When we resist, we Change for the worse, not the better.
It is interesting to note that those suffering from clinical levels of anxiety are also those with low tolerance for Change and uncertainty. Routine helps manage anxiety. An extreme example of this is a person suffering from Agoraphobia. This person will establish the routine of never leaving their house as a method of managing Change and uncertainties.
They are holding onto the shore.
Dealing with Change
How we deal with the Change that occurs in our life is key to how our life in general will unfold. As Change will inevitably be happening throughout our entire life, it makes sense that by having a healthy attitude towards it, we will have a healthier approach to life in general. When we welcome or even initiate Change, we are exploring our limits and discovering where our Truth is really held.
The first step in making Peace with Change is accepting it as a constant. This Acceptance also includes the biggest Change of all─ the aging of our Body and the Change that will inevitably occur when we transition out of that Body at the end of our life.
Understanding and accepting this most major of Changes─ the fact that we and everyone we Love will age and eventually pass away─ is key in fashioning a daily Acceptance of the lesser Changes in life. At the very least, it can surely help put all that happens in life in perspective, saving us precious Energy along the way. For me personally, I have Peace regarding the realm of earthly death. I feel that this life is just a minute in the longer story of our souls.
It is also important to note that there are different types of Changes that can take place in our lives, often happening simultaneously. Change occurs from external circumstances. Change bubbles up from within. Change can happen that is beyond our control. In addition, sometimes we purposefully effectuate Change.
A Change that is thrust upon us from an external source isn’t always bad. Sometimes the Change can be positive, like getting a promotion, inheriting some wealth or meeting someone special. We tend to rush toward such Change. It is still good, however, to step back and look at what is happening. By taking a moment, we can first recognize that a Change is occurring and that it may have consequences upon our life. After questioning it, we may decide that it is something to go forward with or we may decide that it is not. We may not take that new lucrative job offer, if it doesn’t resonate with us and reflect our Truth.
Some questions we may want to ask when we are faced with a Change we can control are:
-Is this what I want?
-How does this Change line up with my personal Truth?
-If it does, how can I move forward with this Change in the best manner?
-If not, how can I take action to shift towards another direction?
-Are there forces out there such as cultural or family pressures affecting how I view this Change? -Do I need help in dealing with this Change?
-If so, how can I get the support I need?
Problematic changes thrust upon us by the outside world is what we hear about most and concern ourselves with the most in life. Such Changes might include the loss of a relationship, the loss of a job or unforeseen health issues, just to name a few. In such cases, the level of uncertainty escalates dramatically. Our Body’s fight-or-flight response gets triggered. Our ability to think rationally is affected and “worst case scenario” thinking takes hold.
When these kinds of Changes occur, our job is to recognize that the Change is happening and reflect on how it will affect our lives. Our job is also to feel the feelings we have regarding the Change and then seek a level of calm through breathing and relaxation techniques and/or seeking the support of others.
Once we reach a place of calm and rational thinking, we can then discern a course of action. Inevitably, when it comes to dealing with external negative Change, this course of action has to include total and absolute Acceptance. There is just no getting around that one. I personally like what Eckhart Tolle says: “There is no such thing as a problem, only situations to be dealt with.”
This is admittedly stoic advice, but it works because it breaks the Change down into something we can face and possibly take action on. My only caveat to Tolle’s advice is that part of dealing with situations of Change is acknowledging and processing the emotions that come with them as well.
External Change will often stir up Change within us. For example, the loss of a relationship can trigger old, unprocessed emotions that have been hiding within. These emotions could be related to loss, rejection or internal questions about our overall lovability and worthiness. This can be painful stuff. A Dark Night of the Soul may occur. Yet these moments represent a great opportunity to purge, surge and move on to an emotionally better place.
The opposite of working with and healing the emotions that Change brings up is to push them down and stifle them. The result will be the repetition of one’s own nightmare-like Groundhog Day, repeating the dynamics of that emotional pain until one day it is, in fact, purged.
In my opinion, personally effectuating Change is the only way to go if inner growth is to occur. In order to Change your life, you actually have to take proactive steps to Change your life. Although fear-based tendencies that suppress growth may exist, humans are soulful beings as a rule. We have a natural inclination towards wanting the Truth of our soul to bubble up and ascend to be its highest and best self. We need to take willful action to gain Self-Awareness and promote Healing processes in order to effectuate this type of change.
Effectuating External Change
There is sometimes a human tendency to effectuate some kind of external Change for the purpose of bypassing the painful process of addressing real internal Changes that may be occurring and the emotions that go along with them. An example of this could be something like:
“If I get that new job, all will be better.”
“If we move to that different city, we will be happy.”
“If I start a new relationship, I will feel loved.”
These external changes may indeed spark some internal Change by happenstance and, ultimately, learning through the repetition of mistakes, but more than likely they will prevent or delay true Healing and forward movement from occurring in the shorter term.
When we reach a place of peace within after Change has occurred, this is Equanimity. Equanimity usually happens after we have done the intense work necessary for internal Change to occur. We feel calm at our core and we are better able to deal with the constant influx of Change that may still be transpiring around us. We are less reactive and we may even find that much of what happens in our external environment doesn’t require a reaction at all. We don’t expend our emotional Energy on the drama that is unfolding, or give very little to it.
From a calm place, we can then apply our gifts of Wisdom, Intuition, Courage and Reason to best chart a course of action while at the same time realizing and accepting that we don’t have total control. With Courage, we set our intentions and actions. We have Faith that we will end up where we need to be even if it is not where we expected and may even require us to Change course again.
Each Change we encounter and/or facilitate is an opportunity for course correction on our journey towards Truth. We need all relevant elements engaged in order to best discern which course to take. Both varying from our Truth and varying from convention will cause anxiety. The key is discernment. Equanimity sets a perfect stage for this discernment and for the application of our internal Wisdom to occur.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates
The other option is to be a “beach ball.” We can bounce here and there in immediate response to whatever Changes are occurring around us. This is a state of constant reaction, often charged with emotion. We react without discernment to what might be causing our responses and what the long-term consequences of our actions might be. When we act in this way, victim Energy can take hold. “Life is something that just happens to me,” you may say. You may feel that you have no agency or Freewill to effectuate Change or navigate within it.
The worst-case scenario is to be that beach ball in life (i.e. in total reaction mode), bouncing nonstop around in a perpetual Groundhog Day (i.e. hiding out from what is going on and the emotions that are rising up because of it).
As hard as it is to imagine when we are in the thick of it all, we always have options in addressing Change. We can Accept Change and at the same time exercise our Freewill and agency within it. If we go too far in displaying Freewill, however, we may vie for the illusion of total control or fall into total resistance.
Holding onto the shore represents resistance. We can, instead, steer as we float in the current. Sometimes our sole agency when we cannot Change a situation is to simply Change our perspective. That is, to Change within.
The bottom line is that we are the ones who wear the ruby slippers. Our Freewill can effectuate the Change that best serves us and leads us towards Divine Will and our Truth. The building of the “new” in the face of Change can build a new perspective─ and even a new you.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Application of your Freewill can make you a Change Agent. I see it as vital that each one of us become the Chief Change Agent for our own psychological and spiritual development. Through Change, we can arrive at the correct alchemy that brings out our Truth and lets our higher self shine for the betterment of all.
On the other hand, there are those whose personal Truth it is to be a Change Agent for others through some greater action in the world. This could be through their involvement in a social cause, a movement or the application of justice, for example. Change Agents can act inadvertently or consciously. What they have in common is that they are in touch with their own personal Truth─ and that personal Truth includes the bigger Change they will effect in the world. This is different than attempting to be the “Chief Change Agent” for someone else’s inner Change. We can help others inadvertently (by example, for instance) and we can offer advice if invited, but that other people will always hold the title of Chief Change Agent in their own life, as you hold that title for yours.
Freewill gives us the agency to oversee how we effectuate Change (whether it be inner Change in our own lives or change in the world), while at the same time we acknowledge that there are greater forces at work. We can exercise Change Management by getting the support we need and by engaging in appropriate self-care. Change Management is not resistance; it is just working with the Changes happening in our life in order to assist a smooth transition and to alleviate possible negative side effects.
Whether if it be sudden or gradual, Change happens when synchronicities align to allow it to happen. Our job as Change Agents is to set the table as best we can and set our intentions accordingly, then see what happens.
An example of this is the story of the famous U.S. baseball player Jackie Robinson. Jackie became the first African-American baseball player in modern times. He was a Change Agent. His rise to fame occurred right after World War II (a war in which African-Americans soldiers fought valiantly despite the blatant racism that occurred within the ranks of the U.S. military). Robinson’s team manager was also a Change Agent. He guided the Change in the context of resistance. Mr. Robinson himself, however, was seen as the correct Change Agent at the time to implement a national Change within the ranks of US baseball; this change opened up the game to a diversity of players. Jackie did this simply by putting out the appearance of being unfettered by the racism he encountered and also by simply playing the game of baseball well.
I have noticed that with personal Change, sometimes we have the luxury of being able to pace how it shows up in our lives. We can do some work to purge old Energies and Heal some wounds. Then we can take a break to gather much-needed Energy before we start again with the next layer of Change. Other times, Change comes on all at once and without warning. The ending of a relationship is a good example of sudden Change where we may also experience a Dark Night of the Soul. Either way, management of the Change occurring is about the ways in which we embrace Change in a healthy way, and do not resist it.
Really, I am Fine the Way I Am. I Don’t Want to Change.
There is a magical sweet spot whereby we can integrate loving and accepting who we are with the desire to Change, improve and move more towards our Truth. When we accept the Divinity that lies within, we realize that we are always lovable and always perfectly acceptable. As we dive deeper into the Divine, we naturally begin to shed away anything that conflicts with our connection to this fact. At the same time, we bring in those things that move us towards it.
As we reconnect with ourselves and our Source in the midst of Change, it is wise to use caution. We must be careful that any resistance we may have is not just an excuse to avoid the work that Change brings, especially as we recognize our own Divinity. We may lie to ourselves and say everything is fine. We may fall into complacency. If we do this, we will not wake up.
We are Changing all of the time! To resist this is to deny it.
Acceptance is key when dealing with Change in our lives. First, recognize that Change is always occurring and that it will not stop. Resistance to Change really is a futile act that only leads to suffering in the long run.
Equanimity gives us a calm place from which look at Change and discern the best course of action. Equanimity also makes us less reactive and gives us greater access to Intuition, Wisdom, Reason and Courage.
Freewill gives us the agency within to manage or direct Change.
Faith allows us to live and move forward in the context of constant Change, embracing uncertainty and trusting the Universe to take us where we need to go next.
Nonattachment mitigates resistance to Change and makes us more Accepting.
Living in the Now gives us Peace within Change. When we are in the moment, the last moment and the next moment don’t matter. To the extent that we can, living in the Now also gives us a break from constant Change.
For inner Change, both Self-Awareness and Healing are key components. Love assists with both of these processes.
Patience (Perseverance) supports Change in many regards.
- Take inventory of areas of your life where you might be resisting Changes that are beyond your control. Are there forces such as cultural or family pressures affecting how you view this Change? Do you need help in dealing with this Change and, if so, how can you get the support I need? How might you be more accepting of these Changes at this moment? Now look at the Changes that are occurring that you do have some control over. Some questions to consider for these kinds of Changes are: Is this what I want? How does this Change line up with my personal Truth? If so, how can I move forward with this Change in the best manner? If not, how can I take action to shift towards another direction? Write your responses in a journal or notebook and review what you wrote often to see how these responses themselves may Change over time.
- Take inventory of the areas in your life that you would like to instigate Change, but haven’t yet. For example, what is the one activity that you have always wanted to do or try? Write down the first steps you can take for each of these pro-active Changes in a journal or notebook.
- What Changes do you fear the most? How might you be able to live through them? Write your responses in a journal or notebook.
- How has Change occurred in your life so far? How are you a different person than you were five years ago? One year ago? Last month? Write your responses down in a journal or notebook.
- Take a trip to see something new. This is a great way to learn about Change in a fun and non-threatening way. Through traveling, even for a day to a nearby town or attraction you have never been to, you can experience constant Change as well as a complete Change of venue! Make sure to take some time at the end of your adventure to reflect in a journal or notebook.
- Reflect upon how you have handled Change in the past. Asking those close to you for insight might be a good idea. What are some negative reactions you had, and why did you have them? How might you react more positively in the future?
God, please grant me the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed, the courage to change that which can be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference. (Serenity Prayer)
I Accept Change and Embrace Uncertainty with Courage, Faith and Love
I Open My Heart to Change. Please Guide Me
I Release Control and Trust the Universe
I Am the Change I Want to Be Now. I Am _____. (i.e., I Am Intuitive; I Am Loving; I Am a Poet)
I Am an Agent of Change; I Can Make Change
When I Change Myself, I Change the World