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15th Jun 18
What is it about change that makes most of us feel uncomfortable? It's interesting that we view change with suspicion or even fear, almost as though we're preparing ourselves for a loss rather than a gain. I suppose it all boils down to the human norm of preparing for the worst to happen and whilst preparation isn't a bad thing in itself, expecting the worse to happen just leaves one in a perpetual state of heightened anxiety and there's certainly no fun or benefit in that!
Perhaps you find yourself going through some change right now and perhaps you find yourself resisting that change? There is one sureity in life and that is change is the continuous constant in this beautiful world of ours. We all respond differently to change. Some are naturally more flexible and handle change smoothly. Even those that can easily adapt when circumstances shift will still experience times of upset or anger, disappointment and defeat as life unfolds differently to how it was anticipated. Ultimately, it's how we respond to this ever changing flow as we move through life that defines our peace of mind.
Change is inevitable, it is inescapable and it's something we all face it at one time or another. Most of us are continually adjusting our behaviours, our expectations, making small tweaks that reflect our changing needs or our interests. Change can be liberating! Think of the satisfaction of a good old declutter or a day out somewhere completely new. Unexpected change can throw the best laid plans straight out of the window. Our response to change often depends on the results we think that change will bring but in fact it is our relationship to change that really determines whether we can feel fulfilled in each moment.
The serenity prayer offers profound guidance and it's the last line that holds the key:
How difficult is it to understand that there are things we cannot change and that there are things we can? Once we become aware of the difference, then we've made that first step towards moving through change with greater ease. Our only real control is over our own thoughts and actions and whilst we can control our actions, we cannot control the outcome of those actions. We cannot control what other people think, say or do so if we can accept that everything outside our abilities will take care of itself, then we will be somewhere near that elusive peace.
Try this little exercise. Right now in your mind’s eye, conjure up a challenge, a difficulty, something that has been irritating you, annoying you, frustrating you. When you've got that clear, ask yourself: what is it that I have absolutely no influence or control over, yet it keeps playing over and over in my mind? And now take a deep breath in and on the out breath, give yourself permission to let it go, just release it along with all that tension it creates.
Now ask yourself, what's one thing that I can do right now? What action can I take, what words can I speak that will move this situation in the direction of a higher outcome? Become clear on what that is, take a deep breath in and on the out breath, let that go too.
The next step in moving through change after awareness is acceptance. Accepting that we are exactly where we are meant to be, accepting that we will always be exactly where we are meant to be and during that acceptance we can take ownership of who we are, seizing those opportunities with both hands instead of shying away from them or living in fear of them. Each and everyone of us can be that person who rides the waves, weathers the storm, goes with the flow rather than allowing ourselves to be a victim.
So now you've identified what challenge you face, what it is you can't control and have accepted that, place your attention on what you can control right now and move yourself in the direction of what will serve you and finally, release your attachment to the outcome. Release all expectations and with a long, slow deep breath in, seal in the serenity in accepting the things you cannot change, seal in the courage to change those you can and as you breath out, seal in the wisdom to truly know the difference.
May you find that peace.
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