Change can incite so many feelings. For some it means feeling excitement, new energy, anticipation, joy, stimulation and possibility for what is to come. For others, change feels terrifying, constricting, uncomfortable, paralyzing, strange, and sad at moving on from what has been.
Regardless of your perspective, one thing I have learned about change, is that it is all about the timing. Not time itself (which doesn’t exist) but timing in the sense of the natural flow of things. If we are in the flow, change becomes something enjoyable and easy.
For those who positively embrace change with vigour, the risk is that they will jump too soon into change before the natural rhythm has allowed all the key pieces to move into place. This can result in chaotic change with lots of difficulties and stress around tying up the loose ends in a scramble. I’ve seen this with friends who have bought a new home. They went out just to look, to see what is out there, just curious, then they found the perfect place! So they had to scramble for financing, credit checks, to get rid of their old place, etc. Now granted, it all works out in the end, which is great! But it would have been a bit smoother if they had been realistic in their intentions before they “just went to look”. If we are looking, we have intention and thus, attention. Where attention goes, energy flows.
The more common scenario is that people resist change because previous experience has taught them that change is to be feared
and even avoided if possible. This also used to be my way of facing change. This is what I learned (the hard way of course): The more I resisted change, the harder change pushed back. The harder change pushed back, the more painful a situation became. The more painful it became, the harder it felt to change. But you know how stubborn power struggles tend to play out? Someone always gets damaged, and between change and I, it was always me that took the hit.
See, what I was resisting, was the inevitability of change. Change has to happen. Change is essential for everything in life to exist. Change is unstoppable and it is not personal. Once I got this, I felt pretty silly standing in front of the tidal wave flapping my arms shouting “PLEASE DON’T CRASH ON ME!” as if it had a choice. There is no choice with change, it simply does what it does. It is a force, and it is necessary!
I was reminded of the nature of change recently, over what I thought was a minor delay of change. I had an idea to disengage from something I was involved in because it didn’t seem to fit with where I was at or where I wanted to go in my personal growth. I had chatted with some trusted people about it who supported my choice to move on, but I had this little thing saying “don’t give up yet”.
So I indulged my ego’s little request and prepped to dive back in when I hit a huge patch of ugly experience. Ugh! At first I thought, I need to stand my ground and take up a fight here to address this ugly stuff. Yet, when I decided that, all my energy left me. That’s when I realized this was a change I was going to accept now or get more ugly from. It was time to move on. I made sure to acknowledge all the pieces that needed to be addressed properly, and moved into a much easier process of change before the situation became more difficult, and more painful. Clearly change had warned me it was happening, like it or not.
Now, this is not to say that when things become difficult you run away. Anyone who knows me, knows that is certainly not what I advocate. The key is to know the signs within and without yourself that a change is something that will benefit you rather than harm you. Once you recognize that a particular change is good for you it becomes easy to embrace it.
Here are some of my guidelines that I’ve learned over the years, to discern if a change is one to embrace with open arms:
Spark: when I get an inspiration that something is going to be changing, I feel a tug of interest that I call a spark. This feeling makes me want to pay more attention to a thought or idea and find out more about what it might entail. A spark can also appear as a déjà vu which for me is a signal to pay attention to the moment because it is likely informing me about new events on the way.
Paying attention to these factors can definitely help ease through a transition or change, and can also be used when working out big decisions. When we are open to the feelings we have that come with confronting a change, we receive the information from our environment and multiple other resources about how best to navigate the change which increases our confidence in the change process, plus supports our self confidence that we can come out of the change into a better space than where we started.
Remember, feelings are information, so give them their due attention. After all, it is for your greatest good!