Are you shivering in the winds of change?
Let’s take a look and see if any of this applies to you.
You may be a person who finds change motivating and inspiring. On the other hand, you may fear changes. You may crouch in the corner, hoping to avoid them, or perhaps you are somewhere in-between. It doesn’t really matter how you feel about it, because change will occur. It’s a regular part of life. Nothing stays the same.
Once we accept that we can’t control what happens outside of ourselves very much, and we relax into change, allowing ourselves to be open to the future, there is a whole world of discoveries out there for us.
Do you find yourself stuck in the past, in what was, instead of what is, or what could be (the potential in you and in life)? It is helpful to remember the past when it comes to happy feelings and events. This fuels your joy in the present, and gives you hope for the future. The trick is to enjoy the memories, but not to compare what you had before, with what you have now, You won’t benefit from carrying around a yardstick that causes everything new to pale in comparison to the old.
Sometimes though, we get stuck in grief. We have difficulty tuning in to our positive memories because they may hurt so much. If we carry the burdens of guilt, in addition to grief, we may allow this to obliterate those good memories. One day we will hopefully be able to see that the joys experienced in the past, and maybe even our pointless guilt, are actually the building blocks that teach us how to fully appreciate new happiness and gifts in life. Part of being able to move on, to feel pleasure and have hope again, requires facing our grief, or guilt, taming them like a lion tamer, and letting them finally rest in a less prominent place in our lives.
Grief over a loved one’s loss may well travel through life with you, sleeping in the back of the cage, or perhaps waiting quietly on its perch, ready to pounce when we are unprepared, and not expecting it. This lion of grief is a part of us, not always visible when we look in the mirror, but a shadow behind us. We have a choice about whether to let it pounce on us all the time, and to permit it to maim and impair the present and the future. We can choose how much we allow the shadow to darken our attitude, and our ability to live in the moment. We can view it as threatening and scary, or as powerful and beautiful.
When unhappy past events or behaviors that brought us mainly guilt, sadness and turmoil are the things that we keep on revisiting and can’t let go of, this tends to create more misery and destructive behavior. By repeatedly revisiting them we are training our brains to return to that groove, and to click and spin in vain. Our minds cannot easily bypass the rut or groove to enable us to hear the music that is beyond the rut or defect. Dwelling on the unhappiness of the past causes us to physically revisit the pain, as well. Our bodies react with unhealthy, often painful and debilitating stress responses, depending on where we hold stress in our bodies. We then tend to leap from one negative thought to another, perpetuating our own stress.
At times, it is true that you may feel your personal suffering will never end. Your fears may grip you to the point that you are paralyzed to act, and therefore, you tie yourself to the familiar even when it makes you unhappy and does not work for you. Your guilt over something you have, or have not done in the past, may eat away at you like acid. You may not permit yourself to take any risks whether emotional ones, business risks, or any other kind.
If you have experienced loss, regardless of the type of loss, or guilt has taken you over, your sense of self can become so shaky that doing new things and making different choices than you have made before, can become a herculean task. This may actually be a time when changing some things about your habits and attitudes becomes crucial and necessary, regardless of what you have lived through, or how you resist it.
Martha Beck , sociologist, author and life coach, says, “Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking, but a full-on metamorphosis.”
Once you accept that change is inevitable, and begin to work on yourself, rather than worrying about uncontrollable external forces, life will begin to take on a different shape. The ability to navigate your inner world helps you through your travels in the outer world. Once you open your heart and your mind to the reality that everything in life is impermanent, but that everything also renews itself in nature, relaxing into change becomes more natural.
“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.”-The Dalai Lama
Some Things to Remember.:
- You are more resilient than you give yourself credit for being. You have weathered change before.
Try hard to recall the stories in your life that have shown this to be true. If you can’t do it easily, ask a trusted friend or two to help you search your memory, and to give input.
- Stop being a victim
Claim your personal power now. Get help if you need to. There is power in your wisdom and in your kind actions towards others.
- Find the opportunity in every obstacle that presents itself. Do all you can to create your own opportunities, if they don’t automatically present themselves.
Life is full of opportunities and positive things, and not just trauma and tragedy.
- Nobody can be sad, unhappy, anxious or fearful 100% of the time, no matter what has occurred in life, or what you think looms ahead.
Pay attention to the times you feel good, no matter how infrequent. Note how your voice sounds, look in the mirror and witness your smile, as unfamiliar as it may be & stop dwelling on the times you feel miserable.
- Don’t discount clichés. You only have to eat the elephant one bite at a time, and if you bite off more than you can handle, there are remedies for indigestion! You might feel crummy for a bit, but it will pass.
It is true that some changes can happen swiftly and with cruelty. In those cases, you need to gather all the supports in your personal community that you can, and to employ whatever tools are available to you. There is nothing to be ashamed of in getting and using help. When one thing doesn’t work, it’s time to try another.
Most changes, though, involve choices, and you can take baby steps, test the waters, wade out a little deeper and keep going!
Iris Arenson-Fuller, PCC, CPC is a Life Stage, Family, Relationship Changes Coach, (credentialed by the International Coach Federation) who helps clients going through, or anticipating big changes. Iris helps clients navigate and fly through the winds of change. She has particular expertise in the areas of loss and grief, aging, sandwich generation/caretaking issues and in all aspects of loss, grief, growth and success related to members of the Adoption Community.
Contact me at facebook.com/visionpoweredcoaching.com
Visit my web site at www.visionpoweredcoaching.com
Contact me to talk about how I can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Iris also runs a free, confidential Facebook group for widowed women, called Widow to Widow Circle of Hope. offers small telegroups and webinars to work on various tough life and relationship changes, and adoption-related issues, as well as offering one-to-one help via phone with on line support. (Distance is no obstacle).
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