This morning I woke up and I realized it was FALL. When did this happen? A wave of sadness suddenly hit me as I realized the lazy days of summer and the warm hugs of sunshine are now a part of my recent past. And, the reality of colder weather and rainy fall days is now my present. This sudden “wake up call” got me thinking about change and transformation and how, like the seasons, it is inevitable and, like the seasons, it is such a natural part of life.
I have changed a lot lately. Letting go of a life I had become so accustomed to and reliant on is probably one of the most courageous things I have ever done. My life before my change was predictable, full of ritual and routine, and eventually, boring. I longed for a new life and the chance to reach for the stars and live out my dreams. After all, don’t we deserve to at least try?
When I started the process of change and specifically, a new career path, I planned but did not expect that I could possibly get what I really wanted. However, with time, creative visualization, and some self-belief and self-confidence, I am now truly living the life I want. I let go of structure and predictability and I entered the world of freedom, flexibility, surprise, and uncertainty!
With my job change, has come a huge amount of internal changes. I am feeling every emotion possible – every single day. And it is through this inner change that I am realizing so many of us hate change, avoid it at all costs, and tend to cope with change in this crazy way that looks something like this – head down, work harder, throw yourself into newness and, later, when the change seems to have happened, reflect back and see what you learned (maybe).
I am not sure this is a healthy strategy to cope with change. Throwing ourselves into busyness and survival mode to “get over” change may feel like it is helping until eventually our process of change becomes our new normal. But, I think it also skips over all the amazing feelings in between, as change is happening, and the moments of transformation that we could embrace along the way.
I’d like to suggest some ideas for dealing with the discomfort of change (which, by the way, I am still in but working through). I want to consider ways to be in the moment as we change. First, I’d like to suggest the time to acknowledge that we are in change, when we are in it (not after). To be in an experience, like change, can be tremendously anxiety provoking, uncomfortable, and downright awkward. However, I believe that in this discomfort, we are growing, and as we grow we become clearer and stronger in who we are. And, we allow ourselves to step into our own potential.
Secondly, I’d like to suggest that you prepare for ALL feelings to emerge and at a greater intensity. I think we often push our feelings down in transformation and hurry through to find feelings of security and relief (I know I do!). However, by skipping over feelings, we are likely to skip over the key experiences too. So, as uncomfortable as change may feel, try to feel all your feelings. If you are happy and excited – dance for joy and embrace the happy moments. If you are sad and lonely, embrace those moments too. They are feelings and they do not last forever but they are important and they are signs for us to pay attention to – more signs that we are growing and emerging.
Lastly, in the process of change, I’d like to suggest slowing down – I find this one incredibly challenging. I have the “gift” of being quick and efficient. However, in change, there is so much going on and so much to process. I feel that being busy and moving forward too quickly may just mean that we miss the lessons in the process itself. The lessons could be some extra rest and relaxation, some self-time to get to know your newly changed self on a deeper level, or some time to connect with people with whom you have lost touch (change can be an opportunity to reconnect). The process is as important, if not more important, as the destination.
Change is going to happen; we have no say in that. I cannot stop fall from coming so that I get a little more of summer (although I wish I could!). But, what I am encouraging is that we (yes, me included) view change in a different way and practice new strategies for dealing with change. Yes, change can be difficult; but, as I am learning, it can also be an eye-opening revelation when you can acknowledge that: “Yes, I am IN change RIGHT NOW!!”