Monday, June 10, 2013

The Challenge of Change


“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” 

Anatole France

“Change always comes bearing gifts.”

Price Pritchett

“The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.”

Japanese Proverb


There are a lot of changes occurring in my life.  Some of these changes are personal and others professional.  They are all creating a certain amount of stress in me.  The stress manifests itself as fear, confusion, apathy, irritability, fatigue and/or indecisiveness.  As always, I’m not going to share the specifics.  I’m not trying to be cryptic or vague.  This is not a cry for attention or help.  I don’t share the personal details for the following reasons:
1.              My problems are not for public consumption.  That’s a nice way of saying that they aren’t anyone’s business.  I’m not a celebrity or a reality show star. 
2.              The problems really aren’t important or instructive.  What is important and instructive is my response to them.  What also matters is the emotions that accompany my problems, because in that most of us share common ground.  Besides, whatever I’m struggling with today will be gone tomorrow or next week and I’ll have different struggles.
3.              My struggles often affect others and I need to protect their identities.

Still, whatever my struggles are, I continue to arrive at the same conclusions.  My struggles, especially my emotional state, are a form of self-sabotage designed to keep me from being in Purpose.  Therefore there are only a few remedies that have worked consistently for me. 
1.              Prayer and worship.  Bringing God into every area of my life brings in a spiritual dimension to temporal situations.  This is very mystical, meaning that there is no rational explanation.  I can’t explain how it works.  It just does.
2.              Action.  Doing something, especially something that aligns with Purpose almost always changes my mood.  And it creates something such as a new blog, a cleaner garage, a better relationship with people I love or a smile on my face.  This is also the reason I have more than one goal.  If I can’t work on one, there are always others.
3.              Talking to the right person.  The phrase “the right person” is important here.  Also, the right number of people is important.  Talking to the wrong person or talking to too many people tends to bring confusion.  It also tends to be a delaying tactic as a substitute for real progress.   A quality of the right person is someone who will listen without judgment, but will still offer correction when necessary in a way that makes you feel better despite the correction.
4.              Study.  I cannot count the number of times reading or listening to a book has completely changed my mood.  Whether it’s a new idea or a revisited idea, I am always refreshed in my spirit when I am refreshed in my mind.
5.              Exercise or diet.  A lot of times my issues are not emotional, they’re physical.  I need to go for a walk, eat an apple, or more, or drink a lot of water.  Stress dehydrates.  With regard to stress I recommend http://stress.about.com/ for some great tips by Elizabeth Scott.  I also recommend her book 8 Keys to Stress Management.
6.              Be mindful or present to each moment.  This includes being aware of the inner body and breathing.  I am always amazed at how rarely I exhale.  Exhaling releases tension.
7.              Practice gratitude.  This is a way to not only be mindful of the present, but to enjoy the past and look forward to the future.

With regard to change, it is also worth noting that positive changes such as graduating, getting married or leaving a bad job can bring stress as well.  The suggestions above still apply.
The person who wrote all this and the person who writes all these blogs is the person I want to be.  That’s one of the reasons I write, to remind myself constantly of who I want to be and can be.   It’s really not that hard.
All I have to do is Get Started and Keep Going.