What is it about change that upsets us so much?
It is happening all the time—cells in our bodies renew, day turns into night and back into day again, we outgrow a job or relationship. Why do we fight it? Usually the answer is fear. Even if what we have is not working—the job is now too small for our abilities or ambitions, the relationship no longer works on a fundamental soul level—we stay. Often we are afraid. Afraid of failing at a new job or being alone; we stay stuck and uncomfortable with the situation. The longer we stay, the more resentment and unhappiness builds. We stay until the pain of staying appears to
outweigh the fear of change.
What if we didn’t have to suffer through change?
It requires a lot of energy and effort to ignore our need to change. Energy that could be used to create the new life situation our soul is craving. Once we are able to accept that change is inevitable and stop putting energy into fighting it, our suffering eases. Acceptance of the need to change allows us to develop our adaptation muscles. When we are able to face the challenges that life brings us, we suffer less. We have the energy and awareness necessary to create change. Change is necessary for us to live our authentic life.
Experimentation in Change.
In my early Nia* training, the activity I disliked the most required us to change our body movement every 8 beats. There were a couple of reasons this wasn’t my favorite activity. The first reason was I struggled with identifying and counting the beats of the music. This was a new (and difficult) process for me. I had yet to develop an “ear” for hearing the beats in the music, awareness of the underlying structure of music. Second, the thought of coming up with a new movement every 8 beats scared me. What if I ran out of movements to try? What if I froze? Just the thought of changing my movement without planning it out stressed me out!
What if I really liked the movement I was doing and didn’t want to change? But practicing this exercise helped me develop my adaptation muscles.
I learned awareness—both of the structure of music and my body’s movements.
I learned that sometimes the most important thing you need to know is that it is time to change. Our life also has an underlying structure that communicates with us all the time. We have to be aware of the messages our life is sending us when something needs to change—so that message doesn’t have to get louder (and usually more stressful and painful) to get our attention.
I also learned that I was in control of my response to the need for change. I
could create huge, dramatic movements or small, subtle movements when it was
time to change. Faced with the need to create change in my life, I control the magnitude of the response. My response to change does not have to be stressful and painful. I can respond in the way that feels best to me at the time.
With time (and practice) the challenge to change my movement every 8 beats became one of my favorite exercises. I learned to be more aware of the music (and
hear those 8 beats) and more aware of my body (to create more comfortable
changes in my movement). I let go of my expectations, accepted that I would make mistakes, and found the joy in adapting to change.
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” (Joseph Campbell) Change is inevitable but we control how we respond to it and the level of change we allow ourselves. Dictionary.com defines change the following ways: to become different; to become altered or modified; to become transformed or converted. We have a choice when facing the need to create change in our lives. We can simply “become different” or “altered” by change or we can “become transformed”. Regardless of what you choose, I hope you find the JOY in change.