This week I had prepared an entire piece on what it means to be grounded, and then I received the most inspirational and loving email from a dear old friend. She suggested that I write about change and how it brings about “new opportunities and room to dream.” She should know – she has inspired me for years with how she’s managed to turn major changes into a beautiful life, filled with friends, family, work and wellness.
So, what is it about change that frightens us so? Often times, when we are faced with a major life change, we go through a period of fear and anxiety. It’s totally ‘normal’ for us to experience these emotions; but more often than not, when we reflect on the event after the fact, we feel quite differently. We use the phrase “hindsight is 20/20,” as we move forward describing the stress that occurred beforehand as nothing more than a nuisance. We forget how angry, mean, tired and frustrated we were as a result of our living in a place of fear. We forget that we may have hurt people along the way – which is not a healthy way to maintain and grow relationships. Now, what if we could take the same challenging situations and develop a new perspective about them, before we give in to stress? Can we actually choose to feel excitement, anticipation and possibility in the face of major change?
I believe that in most cases, we can. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. As an example, sudden death in a family rarely gives us the opportunity to choose our perspective. But many other life changes offer us enough time to consider a different approach: One that is healthier and more in-tune with our true Self. This raises a very specific question for me: are our reactions based on how we think we should act? Or are they based on pure emotion? In other words, are we doing/thinking/reacting to a life change in a manner that is consistent with what we’ve seen and learned throughout our life? Or are we truly feeling stressed, anxious and scared about the event? Nature v. Nurture. It’s an interesting thought.
Personally, I feel that our responses to life events are conditioned over time. This isn’t to say that our feelings aren’t real or valid. All feelings are real and valid. But it is to say that somewhere along the way we learned how to react to things, such as moving or employment changes, in a life-depleting manner. Instead of learning to embrace change and view it as the opportunity it is, filled with endless possibilities, we see it as something to be scared of and a source of worry. But change is one of the few things we can always rely on. Whether we like it or not, change is always going on around us and in our own lives. Change happens. And we desire change. If you take a minute to think about that, you’ll see just how profound that simple statement is: We desire change, and yet we fear it when it comes. It doesn’t make sense.
Perhaps we can look at it this way: many of us (myself included) daydream about all the “changes” we will/can make to improve our lives. We think: if I were thinner, richer, taller, shorter, had a degree, etc. I would be happier. These daydreams are dreams of change. And yet they are not remedies to the internal void that we seek to fill with these changes. They may definitely improve the circumstances of our lives, but eventually, they are not enough in and of themselves. So, the greatest change we can make is the change within – which is a change in attitude and perspective.
When we shift our internal focus to one of possibility, the world opens up to us. This is what my friend was talking about – and this is what she has done in her own life that I find so incredible. In moving to another country, she opened her heart and her life to the possibility of creating. She made choices that were life-affirming, which resulted in her being happier and more fulfilled. Sure she was nervous about leaving everything she knew behind her, but she quickly learned the value of change.
Change brings the greatest opportunities for personal growth; change allows dreams to become reality.
So, the next time you’re faced with the end of something old, or the beginning of something new, you will have a choice. Will you choose to see it as an opportunity for greater happiness and wellness; a chance to pursue your dreams? Or will you choose to reinforce old reactions and behaviors that may no longer serve you? Just a thought.
In Love and Light,
(P.S. I’ve added a new Poll to the sidebar – please vote through July 31st! Thanks!)