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Change Letting Go and/or Hanging On

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We enter life with a jolt, moving from the womb into the world, growing at a phenomenal rate. We exit the planet, sometimes over time, sometimes in a moment’s notice. Between these events, all that exists is the transition from one change to another. In life either we are moving forward or falling back, growing or shrinking, living or dying. So what makes change so difficult for so many of us? Why are we not comfortable with it and confident in it?

Our own focus is often the biggest obstacle we face. We seldom deal with the things we actually have control of: ourselves and the present moment in time. Instead we spend much time worrying about what we have done, or fearing what may happen in the future. In the midst of change, frequently we look for stability to balance the instability that change creates. In this country, the majority of us no longer have to forage for food and water. We do however, need to plan, long term, in order to make sure these things are available in our lives. Considering change, therefore becomes something we actively work at, however we often assume we can control the changes that will happen. Therefore, when we plan, it is wise to recognize that change will create some vista’s we are not able to anticipate. A line from John Lennon’s “Wheels” album comes to mind:
“Life is what happens to you when you’re making plans.”

People do not let go of beliefs, strategies, or coping behaviors unless they have new ones to replace them. Part of what makes change easier is the ability to see a replacement, in an anticipated direction, for the release of the old. If I am giving up working past 6 pm then what am I going to do at 6 pm that I can look forward to? If I am giving up swearing, what words will I use, what am I going to say when I get upset? As people in an evolutionary process, we have a responsibility to contemplate the things that we wish to hang onto, the things that work for us in helping us move towards who we wish to be. At the same time we have a responsibility to take the time to determine what it is, that we actually have control of, that we wish to change. Whatever changes we experience, we don’t always get exactly what we want. However, if we focus on identifying ways we can attend to our basic needs to be loving, playful, powerful, free and safe within the process, then we can always get some of what we need.

In a world where the externals are changing very quickly, we can strengthen ourselves for change by building our inner selves. Define what it is you believe in, what you value, what you stand for. Create a mission statement that speaks to you of the same. My own is Love, Laughter & Learning in the Light. It sums up a lot in a short statement. The process of creating it gave me a window into myself, a knowledge I go back to when the world looks shaky. As the inner gets stronger, external changes are less threatening. When we know what we can count on in ourselves, we have a freedom and a power to move in strength, whatever the change is that we face.