“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
Here’s the thing about change. We invite and resist change, we welcome and deny change, we are oblivious to it, we observe and marvel at it, we are constantly immersed in change and we strive all our lives to place parameters around it. And yet, change is ubiquitous and unrelenting, it is arguably the most powerful vehicle for growth and transformation. Our relationship with change is often perilous, as we struggle with our perceived lack of agency in the face of what often appears to be some kind of callous trick played by the universe. Dealing with change becomes more difficult as a result of the nature of the change and the amount of change we experience in a particular time span.
It seems to me that struggle arises from our tendency to judge or evaluate the change, rather than simply observe, acknowledge and be witness to the experience of this change in our lives. If we could learn to approach change with a sense of curiosity and perhaps even an element of awe, then we might drop our negative perceptions and reactions.
Fear and anger underpin so many of our responses to change. These are powerful, primordial emotions that are hard-wired into our psyche and physiology. We default to these fundamentally protective yet potentially counter-productive feelings because we are conditioned to do so by the society at large. The duality and ambiguity of our relationship with change stems from the conflicting messages we receive from popular culture and pop psychology. We are rarely shown or taught to sit with discomfort. Instead, when we experience a significant loss we are told to ‘move on’, ‘get over it’, ‘deal with it’. These ‘fight/flight’ actions don’t allow us to observe the impact of the change in our lives. It is little wonder that grief is such an accumulative experience, if all we ever do is try to ‘overcome’ the effects of loss. And let’s face it, change is always a manifestation of loss.
There is perhaps another approach, that of embracing change as if it were a familiar friend, not fearing or fighting it as if it were our foe. If we accept and allow the existence of the emotions caused by change, then in time, we can create space around these feelings. They will eventually soften and evolve into something that we can live with. Eventually, the discomfort eases and the emotional disturbance or pain dissipates. Partly as a result of other changes, but mostly because of our willingness to welcome change and simply allow it to be. Of course, this approach requires us to trust that life will look after us, it requires acceptance of our small yet significant place in the grand scheme of things and it invites us to have faith in our own power for self-actualization. To believe that in the midst of a tempest, we can still set our own course, navigate rough seas and steer ourselves to safety is perhaps the greatest gift we can receive and give to ourselves.
“Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
Link to Cinova’s blog: http://cinova.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/weekly-photo-challenge-change/