The last two months have given new meaning to the idea of living with change. Change is always a constant, but its recent accelerated rate has presented more than the usual challenge. When change is painful we often act with resistance, which creates another set of problems that can manifest as frustration, anger, or depression. The status quo is often preferred. In order to embrace change we first need to acknowledge it.
Then, difficult as it is, we need to accept change. That means looking realistically at what we can and can’t change. We can’t control other people’s motives, attitudes, shopping habits, actions, or how long this pandemic will last. What we can control is our own attitude, and whether or not to follow CDC recommendations. We can choose to create fun at home, limit news and social media, and act with kindness and compassion. In the middle of a world pandemic we can’t do life the way we used to just two months ago. Practicing quiet mindfulness and meditation will move us from stress and anxiety to accepting impermanence, and even embracing it.
If we’re going to embrace change, we each need to start with our self. Marianne Williamson, in her book The Gift of Change, writes, “The most important factor in determining what will happen in our world is what you decide to let happen within you. Every circumstance – no matter how painful – is a gauntlet thrown down by the universe, challenging us to become who we are capable of being. Our task, for our own sakes and the sake of the world, is to do so.” We are certainly in the middle of painful circumstances, but what happens to us won’t make the difference — what we do with it will.
In his book In Future Shock, Alvin Toffler refers to what he calls “islands of stability.” He says these are especially needed when change is rapid, and it refers to the elements in our lives that don’t change. These become our anchors. What are your islands of stability? A few of mine are my Higher Power, my spouse, my treasured longtime friends, and feeling connected with my community, even while staying at home. It’s staying in touch with family (either biological or chosen), reading inspiring literature, and going outside biking or walking with the wind in my hair and the sun on my face. Another island of stability is quiet meditation. I’m sure you can add to the list.
When we relax into change and embrace it, we recognize we are growing stronger, even when we’re afraid. We learn we aren’t easily broken, and move into a realm of calmness, peace, and courage. And from that emerges our growing wisdom. It is the reward for the hard work of navigating the storm because it strengthens the anchor that keeps us balanced and centered. It helps us establish a much needed new normal, leaving behind greed, hate, disconnection, inequality, bullying, and disrespect. Why would we want to keep that? Embracing change ushers in an opportunity to support love, share resources, bestow respect, encourage, promote equality, and practice kindness. In Brene Brown’s words, “We are being given an opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.” It isn’t often we have a chance to make changes of this significance.
Let’s fully embrace this COVID-19 challenge by acknowledging it, accepting what we can and can’t control, finding our islands of stability, and fully embracing the wisdom that is the reward for working through any change. The learning curve is steep right now, but we have our growing selves and each other, and both are a treasure! Let’s summon our most courageous selves to embrace and even welcome change, knowing that we will be kinder, stronger, and wiser because of the experience. Let’s meet each other in a place of calmness and peace. No one is in this alone – isn’t that a comfort!
Until Next Time – Sylvia
The baby bird fell out of the nest. Mom caught it on top and Dad pushed it up from the bottom. This is what we do for each other when we fall.
When we are kind, inclusive, and compassionate we become a shelter in the storm for others.