One of our biggest fears in this life is change. For the most part, we are creatures of habit, and want to ensure our comfort and survival. In doing so, we spend a lot of time thinking, planning, evaluating, analyzing, worrying, comparing, controlling....While it's helpful to have some plans in place, we cause ourselves a great deal of harm when we listening to the Mind and become unconscious of the moment.
Changes can be scary. Especially the unexpected ones. These is what we try to prepare ourselves for, yet often we cannot. A sudden move. A decision to go back to school. Leaving a job. Committing to a relationship or a relationship coming to an end....all can be challenging and painful.
Because many of us are so much identified with our thinking, our minds start to activate and show us potentials based on our prior experiences. We can get into fear or anger when we feel like we are not in control. Sometimes, depression can result from this feeling of helplessness.
Loving Compassion... (really just try it)
It's important to be kind and compassionate to others and ourselves when unexpected change strikes. Blaming, self effacing thoughts, or attacking thoughts directed at others do not help. The best "hack" to kindness and compassion is to breathe. Let your body know that you are here and now, and that you are taking the time to sit with the changes that are taking place.
Start Breaking the Cycle
When we can breathe, and observe or notice what is happening in our minds, we can start to break unhelpful emotionally and cognitive patterns that keep us in fear and stuck - I now look at challenges, like unexpected changes, as opportunities to uncover yet another layer of fear or hurt or past drama/trauma, because often that's what it's all about- our bodies are reacting to something that we judge to be a certain way, and our mind connect that to an unhelpful "story."
Somewhere, A Window Opens
I was hoping to get into a Clinical Psychology PhD program this Fall- I was aware of the statistic that most applicants to the particular program (and institute) that I wanted were turned away (in the 90th percentile). When my application was rejected, I consciously made the effort to breathe, sit with the feelings that arose, and notice what my mind was saying. It was painful, yet I chose awareness and
to be compassionate. Not long after that, I was made aware of a 1 year program that boosts applicants chances of being accepted into the program by 87%- and it would be a great way to test the water to see if that track was a good fit for me. Better yet, all the credits can be used towards my PhD. After a great deal of research, I realized that this was actually the best-case scenario for me. It can be hard to remember the old adage, that when a door shuts, a window opens, yet I've known this to be the case most often. When life gives a perceived disappointment- just wait to see what lies around the corner.
Big Lifestyle Change
I've also made the sudden decision with my partner of 5 years to move in together, to share expenses and to commit to our relationship in a new way. My mind and body (because our bodies are where our emotions are felt) like to let me know of some of my fears and anxieties about this level of commitment. Yet I trust that this is the right direction for me and for us, and I know that no matter what, I will always be there for myself- to breathe, and ensure that I am OK. If it doesn't work out, then I will cross that bridge when I meet it. And isn't that life? We go with what is right in the moment, and that's all we can do.
Choose Awareness In Times of Change
When we come to realize that we are OK, despite change, and that our minds will try to convince us of stories or bring up painful patterns of thought and emotion, we can choose to be aware, and move forward in an intentional way.
- Sit with change and breathe
-Notice what your mind is telling you
-Notice how you feel in your body
-Continue to breathe
-Engage in a creative activity, such as journal writing, painting, drawing, collage making, or go out and focus on your senses- the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feel of your surroundings.
-Know that you are engaging with Life in a very real way.
-Continue to breathe
I Welcome You.
Unexpected change? I'm nervous, yet I welcome you. I welcome the opportunity to learn and growth. I'm open to making mistakes and taking risks. I breathe into you. I accept you, because change is life, and life is change.
I hope that this blog was helpful even in the smallest way. Be well, all!