Everything changes. Again. And again. This is a primary law of nature. One of the most paradoxical aspects of human existence is that we start out in life believing that we can control or stop unwanted change—If I’m a good girl, life will be the way I want it. If I follow the rules, nothing bad or too unmanageable will happen to me. If I pray hard or keep my intentions clear, life will unfold to suit me. If I exercise and eat healthfully, I’ll avoid aging and perhaps even death—the biggest change we fear the most. The very idea of change can threaten our feelings of safety, whether we perceive it as undesirable or beneficial.
Our belief that we can control change brings only unhappiness.
But we can learn to relate to change in a positive way if we give up the illusion that we can avoid change by pushing away reality and hanging on to what we want to happen. It’s a stubborn thought pattern that quickly leads to suffering, because change is happening every moment in countless ways around us and in our bodies and psyches. We are part of a great heaving sea of energies in flux, from the smallest atomic particle to the hundreds of billions of galaxies in the observable universe.
Everything changes. Nothing is permanent. Luckily, change and crisis can also invite personal transformation, where our whole being is renovated and revivified in a positive way. Then we interact with the world differently—with an expanded viewpoint. We feel more“ourselves” than ever before, and others see us as reborn.
A positive relationship to change means:
We accept that everything in life, including ourselves, is naturally transient and impermanent.
We trust that deep within us are the resources for dealing with any change, no matter how difficult.
We open to the special opportunities for growth and understanding that change or crisis brings.
We can be aware where change is needed and can initiate it.
We are grateful for the life we’ve had and are curious and hopeful about what will emerge as we learn to embrace change.
Finally, we need to remember that every significant change is usually preceded by chaos. It is an intense energy that destroys the configurations of the past and opens a space for the new to be born. This too, is natural. When we surrender to chaotic dissolution, we can be centered and safe in the middle of the tornado, waiting for it to pass.
© 2014 Carolyn Conger