Change, change, change. Nothing ever seems to stay the same. That’s because it doesn’t. The one thing we can be sure of is that things constantly change. Now this can be good or bad dependent on how you view it. So learning how to make changes in your life without a lot of stress and resistance can be a very helpful strategy.
In this article I am going to share a few things I learned along the way as a result of being faced with numerous challenges from several directions. Being able to allow what is occurring to happen without tripping out about it is one of the keys to making sustained progress in our lives.
Victim or Hero
As I just mentioned above, change is going to happen whether we resist it or not. But we all want to initiate change in the areas of our lives where we are less than satisfied. This is where we can learn to take control of the reins and handle any situation which occurs or which we put into motion.
Just hanging out and getting beat up by all the changes which occur around us can be enormously frustrating and energy-delpleting. We do feel like victims at this point. It does seem so very real that this is the way things are, and they are probably not going to change much at all.
To be able to recognize this when it occurs is the first step to waking up, accepting what is, and then realizing we do have options. It’s okay if we totally don’t buy into this at first, we just need to stay awake. This is the beginning of breaking away from a victim consciousness, and paving the way to developing a hero consciousness.
We are all artists painting away on the canvass of our life. Having forgotten we are in charge and do have many choices, it is easy to fall “victim” to many false beliefs we have picked up along the way. These beliefs are responsible for creating a very real and scary scenario for ourselves.
Once we see that this is the case, we can make some progress even though we still may feel completely stuck and unable to emerge from the quicksand of our illusions. Let’s now see where we can go from here.
Beginning on the hero’s journey can be a profound and exciting experience. It’s also important to realize to keep things light. Finding some humor in what is going on in our lives really helps us to let go of the stress, resistance, and fear. This may not be easy to do, but it certainly helps.
There is a psychologist at Stanford University by the name of Kelly McGonigal, who has written a book called “The Upside of Stress” in which she points out that our reaction to stress has a greater effect on our attitude, health, and success than the actual stress itself.
We get what we believe and expect. So if we worry about stress doing this or that to us, it will. That’s just the way things work in this great big universe of ours. Stress is merely a signal pointing us in the direction of something which needs to be addressed. Take the hint, move forward, and come up with some possible solutions.
When we are on the hero’s journey we learn pretty quick to look for solutions and to ignore failure and mistakes along the way. We just keep on going making whatever adjustments are needed.
When our feeling of fear, anger or whatever hit home hard, what will get us through will be staying awake to these feelings without having them have to go away for us to stay centered and present. It is this presence which allows us to observe ourselves fully in the moment no matter what we are feeling and/or thinking.
This is a very subtle process for sure, but it is what it takes in order not to be swept up by a hoard of feelings and thoughts which will drop us right back into victim consciousness. But when and if this happens, it’s okay. Not all is lost. We are still able to get up, dust ourselves off, and continue on our hero’s journey.
Watching the Stress Diminish
By staying awake, aware, and embracing life fully we get to the point of actually watching quite a bit of this fear and stress just melt away. Things begin to flow, and situations which we previously resisted become easy to handle. We have expanded to the point of recognizing our Essence, and letting go of any false images of whom we may have thought we were.
Stress diminishes quickly when we plainly see and recognize that we have been living based on many false assumptions about ourselves, others, and the world. It is our Essence on which we can depend. It is not affected by any outside factors, and it returns us to focusing on the things which we value most.
Whether it is focusing on our friends, family, creative expressions, enjoyable music and hobbies, or just the satisfaction we gain from a job well done, these values do much to allow us to rise above any perceived threats. Our Essence cannot be compromised by any of this.
We can find a way around any challenge once we identify with who we truly are. Victor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist as well as Holocaust survivor, had a term for this which he called “tragic optimism”. Having spent three (3) years in concentration camps in World War II, he returned home and embraced the many changes brought about by his experience.
Although he had lost all that he loved, including his family during the war, he realized he had the power to respond in a way which allowed him to see beyond the limitations of any specific changes. Instead of succumbing to bitterness and despair, he chose to move on with life in a way where he was able to inspire and bring value to the lives of others.
The “Good Old Days” are Now
The key to making changes in our lives without all the stress is to not resist what is happening. We can initiate change, as well as respond positively to changes which are constantly occurring, when we don’t expect things to be stable and stay the same. Once we accept this, we can gradually let go of the resistance we have created in order to try to keep things the same. Resisting change is like trying to plug a hole in a dam with your finger.
When we are adaptable, we see things from an entirely different framework. We are able to view all changes, whether desired or not, as just part of the flow of life. We don’t see ourselves as unlucky or as victims; rather, we stay engaged in life and identify opportunities which move us forward toward our goals and objectives.
The “good old days” are here right now. The lessons and experiences of that prior time have simply been transformed into new opportunities to learn, grow, and serve in the present moment. Those days empower us today to accept things as they are so that we may advance in ways that are beneficial to all involved.
Lose the stress involved in any kind of change by immersing yourselves in acceptance, presence, and observation. Stay alert and be the “conscious observer” of all that is transpiring in the present moment. In this way we are able to accept what is happening, reduce and eventually eliminate the resistance, and benefit from all the constructive changes in our lives.
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May you embrace all Change in a Joyful way,