What’s your relationship to change? Do you love change? Are you allergic to it? Are you in between? Does it depend on the kind of change?
The truth is that a lot of us are afraid of change.
Sometimes we think that life would be more fulfilling if things remain the same. We even refer to previous times in our lives as the “good” old times.
Yet, wherever there is life, there is change. If we are alive, change is unavoidable. Consider this: for a seed to become a tree, it needs to go through thousands of changes. If there were no changes for seeds, we would most likely not have flowers, shade, shelter, fruits, nourishment, oxygen or trees!
Now, for humans change is sometimes a delicate topic. Considering change; especially changes in our behavior, communication, habits or personality could be hard when there’s an underlying fear that we might lose something we value in the process.
For example, when we think about the possibility of changing our language and the way we communicate, we might fear losing acceptance from others or our own way of being. When we think about making a change in our diets, deep inside we might be scared of losing our family’s love because we are not eating the dishes that once brought connection and a sense of belonging. When we change our routines (say, skipping happy hour to go for a run), we might worry we will lose some of our friends. If we change our habits, the part of us that’s in charge of keeping us safe, questions our ability to make a change while keeping our sense of safety.
If you’ve been thinking about a change you’d like to make, you need a mindset shift. You can calm that part of you that wants safety by looking at life as a continuum. You’re still here. You’re still alive. You’re still you. If you consider that your life experience is ongoing, then you can actually embrace change.
Can you imagine what it would be like if every seed resisted change? There would actually be no life on this planet!
So, if you’re ready to stop resisting change you can take guidance from nature and follow the seed’s example by:
- Being aware of your seasonal rhythms (growth in the spring, expansion in the summer, going within in the fall, letting go in the winter)
- Going to our inner depths where our nutrients truly are. This means really getting to know ourselves, our qualities and capacities.
- Growing strong roots that connect to other roots to get the support we need so that we can grow healthy shoots when the time comes to expand out. Spend the time and energy needed to find your community of learning and support.
- Befriending discomfort. Sometimes, when we need to expand or give birth to something bigger we experience some temporary pain. The seed cannot grow without breaking out of its initial protective shell.
- Providing shelter, food, comfort and support when we become a tree and see that other seeds need us.
As someone who has had changes in almost every aspect of my life, I make it a practice to notice the changing nature of plants, flowers and trees. This awareness lets me understand that repeating behaviors −such as eating the same foods I ate when I was a child or communicating in the same way I did when I was a teenager− are now unhelpful. Noticing the habits that no longer serve me help me tend to the current needs of my body, mind and language so that I can have full choice to become a healthy human being, who like a strong tree can provide comfort to those who need me.