In my last post, I wrote about a big change that’s happening in my life. I am not alone in this. Big changes are happening in the lives of many of my clients and friends. If you are anticipating or experiencing a big change—a move, a job change, the break-up of a relationship, a new baby—you may feel overwhelmed. You may even be frightened.
Big changes produce deep learning. But that doesn’t mean it is easy. However, if you move toward the change instead of running from it you are likely to deepen your learning and actually reduce your anxiety in the long run.
Here are some techniques you can use to move toward the big changes in our lives.
How to move toward change:
Be still for a moment
Often we avoid the inevitable by not staying in one place for too long. “If I just keep moving the change won’t catch me.” We get busy with a lot of other things, and avoid facing the change that is occurring or needs to occur. What we need to do instead is stop trying to escape.
Find a time to stop moving. Take 10 minutes to think about what is happening. Turn off the TV and constant media stream, and sit without distraction. You might take a short walk alone or with a friend. Or choose one or two people you care about and who care about you, and talk about what is happening. Be mindful of who you talk with. Ask them to not give you advice. Instead say that you need someone to listen and perhaps ask questions about your experience.
During this time of stillness and reflection, you may want to set some intentions for how you would like to respond to the change, how you would like to feel during the change and how you would like to respond when things do not go as planned. Keep these still, reflective times short. You do not need to overwhelm yourself and over-think what is happening.
I always say this. I am saying it again. Pay attention to your breath. Inhale. Exhale. Again. Listen to your breath. Feel your breath. It is consistent. Your breath will be there with you through this whole change. It is your closest companion on this living journey. Feel it.
Find a way to move your body. It will help your mind slow down a bit. Exercise will increase your capacity to handle the stress of the unknown as you embark on a new part of your life journey.
Seek out support from someone who has had, or is having, a similar experience. If you are facing a job or career change, the death of a loved one, the completion of a major life’s work, or a move, you are embarking on a shared human experience. You are not the first. You are not alone. Reach out. Find someone to talk to who has been there, or is there. Give them an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences, their resilience. You can support each other. You do not have to take their particular advice. This can be a space for the sharing of experiences, not a problem-solving space.
Face the shadows
Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that could happen? If that worst thing happens, what can I do?” Develop a plan (or two) for the biggest scariest fear. This is the art of flipping the light switch on in a dark room. Shed light. The shadows may not be what you think they are. And if the monsters in the shadows are scary, at least you know what you are dealing with.
Note: Facing the shadows—looking at our fears directly—is one of the hardest things for us to do. You may choose to explore this with a healer, or with someone you deeply trust.
In the coming weeks, I will write more about what to do once you are deep into the change. For now, may you find moments of quiet to prepare for the change that’s coming your way. And may you find people that you can talk to honestly about your experience.
Question for reflection:
What is one step you can take to turn toward the change happening and prepare for it?
Write an answer in the comments below or jump on over to my Facebook page and comment.