Scared of change?
Most people seem to shy away from change. I saw this in a recent survey I ran with a group of sales managers. Change came bottom of the list of what they enjoyed. But why this resistance to something that is such a fundamental part of life?
Some changes are welcome. The arrival of a new child. Starting a new job. Moving into a new home or finding the new partner of your dreams. We open our arms and our hearts to these changes.
Other changes we find harder. Such as redundancy or loss of work. The death of someone close. The emptiness when our children leave home. But all of these changes are part of the rich tapestry of life. We have to embrace the latter in order to enjoy the former.
The constancy of change
I’ve just spent a week in a part of the world that never seems to change. My family and I have been going to southwest Scotland for years. The timelessness of the place is part of its beauty. Yet this is an illusion because in reality it is always changing. Indeed, anybody who has spent more than a couple of days in any part of Scotland knows that you can never count on one day being the same as the next, particularly where the weather is concerned. And whilst the tide on the beach seems to move to an ever-constant rhythm the truth is that no tide is ever the same. Each day it will wash up something different and remove something else that has served its purpose.
As with life. Change brings the possibility of something new. It also gets rid of what is no longer serving us. When we resist change what we are actually resisting is the letting go. As modern humans we have learnt to deal badly with saying goodbye. Death for example is something to avoid at all cost. But death is a way of clearing out the old to make way for the new. In the same way that the tide cleans the beach and dumps new material on the shoreline. It’s a constant cycle of cleanse and renew.
The pain of goodbye
Sometimes having to say goodbye comes too soon. The early death of a parent, partner or child can leave us feeling robbed. It may not be a person that we lose. In my case it was my womb that I said goodbye to far too early, before I’d had the chance to put it to its intended use. When we suffer long and hard due to these losses it seems to come from the attachment we have to them. So it’s incredibly hard to let go.
But let go we must, so that we can embrace the new. To accept the path through life that we may not have consciously chosen for ourselves but is now the one presented to us. And to follow it with openness and curiosity in our heart. Don’t think for a moment that I am saying this is easy. I’ve carried enough grief for enough years now to know better than that. But at the same time I can see how that grief and anger can act as an internal poison that robs us of the inherent joy that exists in life.
Learning to dance in the rain
I have a sign on my bathroom wall: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” We all love the sun, although too much of it can soon get wearing. We dread the rain, but it can be incredibly invigorating. And cleansing. Rain on your face does far more for the complexion than the sun’s rays. And right now in this current drought the plants in my garden are gasping for a shower. Rain is a gift from the gods. Our ancestors would pray for it because they knew how essential it was for life.
So the next time the heavens open on your life try asking yourself these questions: What gift is this raincloud bringing? What is it telling me about what in my life is no longer working for me? What attachments is it pointing to that I might need to let go of? How can I harvest the nourishment that is in this shower and put it to good use?
In that way it doesn’t matter whether you wake up each morning to rainclouds or sunshine. Both can nourish you. Of course we still need the sun. We still need the ups as well as the downs. Learning to ride the waves of change like the surfer rides the waves brought by the tide is the secret to a fulfilling and ultimately rewarding life.