Embracing change

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Last week I wrote about the Winds of Change have spoken – you can read it here: Click here little did I know at the time that my security rug was going to be pulled out from under me again.

 

Towards the end of last week, I received the news that all the residents in our complex will need to relocate for approximately 8 weeks starting with the floor I’m on (ground floor). The complex management has discovered a problem with rising damp and feel that instead of waiting for the problem to get worse, they would rather deal with it now. Yes, the residents will be inconvenienced but will benefit us all in the long term.

 

I’ve just moved into this complex. I’ve only been here for two weeks. I’ve just nicely got my things in the place where I want them. Have my curtains hanging and my pictures on the walls. Now everything has to be cleared out and moved to another place only to be relocated again in about 8 weeks from now.

 

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Dealing with stress from unexpected change takes time:

Unexpected changes such as job loss or financial uncertainty, can turn life upside down and I’ve gone through both recently besides other stress relating to health (my own and my mom) and my mom’s death. Dealing with stress and a “new normal” can be slow and painful, but it is possible.

 

Stress affects our health and relationships. Even if we do not talk about it, those around us – our family, friends and co-workers – still pick up on our body language.

 

As much as I fear the unknown, the unfamiliar is not to be feared. It can be a chance to turn your life around. During the last few major changes I have learned a few things . . .

 

Don’t just do something: Sit there: When I’m facing major change in my life, my natural instinct is to go into “action” mode and DO something, but there is actually a lot of value to just sitting quietly instead. You need to allow yourself an unproductive period before you can blossom.

 

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Make yourself little: When you suddenly have to deviate from familiar routines, it can seem as if all your supports are gone. It is absolutely crucial, while absorbing the shock of the new, to make yourself feel well taken care of. Preparing nutritious meals for the week in advance is helpful. If you are able to spare the cash, have someone come in and clean the house. It is important for you to take care of yourself, but don’t let the pizza boxes pile up.

 

Ignore your inner reptile: There’s a part of the human mind that is referred to as the “Lizard Brain”, because it existed even in the earliest land animals. The Lizard Brain is concerned with survival, it likes the tried and true, so it is likely to  pop up right now, flooding you with warnings of “danger!” as you veer off course. It is like a misfiring car alarm: pointless and annoying.

 

Silence you inner know-it-all: It helps not to be too smart. Smart people don’t like having their minds changed. If you’re so smart that you can’t rethink your positions, all you IQ points won’t do you much good when your life is turned upside down.

 

 

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Look for new perspectives: Zen practitioners cultivate the “don’t know” mind: they work to assume they don’t know anything and in that way see the world afresh. This is a great way to approach change – because an opportunity to start afresh, to consider all possible. Ask naïve, wide-eyed questions of anyone who is doing anything you might be interested in trying. Listen seriously to arguments you might once have missed.

 

Try something new and slightly scary: Why? Because now is the time to explore what it is that you really like. Catch yourself off-guard, do something spontaneous that you have never done before and see what happens.

 

Be sceptical of common wisdom: It is dangerous to live in the aggregate, especially when you’re trying to figure out your next move. One year, everyone knows you need an M.B.A. to succeed at anything. The next year they will be telling you you’re wasting your time because there are no jobs anyway. Set your sights on what you want to achieve.

 

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Learn to live with uncertainty: The anxious feeling does not signal that you are doing something wrong, only that you are trying something new.

 

Say “really?” a lot: When you start to turn this sudden shift in your life to your advantage, you might shake up a lot of people, especially the ones who are not happy with the way you are living. To them, your efforts to move forward may feel like a glaring searchlight that needs to be switched off and fast. To their descriptions of the terrible fates that will surely befall you if you dive headlong into a new life, respond with “Really?”.  Alternatively, “oh yeah?”

 

Shed your old skin: Discard physical clutter, tired ideas,  old routines. Seeing things through another’s eyes can help. It is only when you have cast off what has been weighing you down that you can finally move on.

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The winds of change have spoken . . .

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I can’t believe we are heading for the middle of February already. It feels like an eternity since the last time I posted anything here. So much has happened over the last few months that it will be virtually impossible to try to fill you in on the details.

The short version is that in September 2017 I decided to sell my house and move to a smaller living space. Between all the negotiations, the packing and the moving life was one big mixture of feelings and emotions, sometimes tears, sometimes sadness for the loss of the life I was leaving behind but nervousness and excitement for the new chapter in life I was starting.

As much as we are not in charge of our destiny we can change our circumstances to live a life that is more in line with what will bring us joy and happiness. Sometimes this means that we have to leave others (and things) behind in the process.

“When the way you think, speak and behave resonate with your own deepest nature, life feels very good — you feel whole, content, in your power. But when these don’t align with your deepest nature, then things feel… wrong. Life feels uneasy. You feel out of touch, discontented, restless, unhappy.” – Melli O’Brien

In spite of the sadness and tears over the last few months, I do not regret the decisions I have made. I was forced into a position of having to get rid of most of the physical clutter that was actually weighing me down without me realizing it. In the process of physically letting go of all the clutter of the material possessions, I freed my heart (or at least tried to) of holding on to too much emotional clutter that was weighing me down too.

I feel so much better now. I sleep so much better now. I am at peace knowing that the decisions I made were the right ones for me. I can let go and let others take the responsibility now. I am free to live the life I am meant to live purely because I’ve been forced to let go emotionally and physically.

I have learned that we go through bad experiences to teach us wisdom and to give us the strength we need to continue on this journey called life. I have learned that the more you put yourself into a state of gratitude, the more you will attract things to be grateful for.

Be grateful for what you have, and you’ll end up having more.
Focus on what you don’t have, and you’ll never have enough.

I have learned that being happy won’t always make you grateful, but being grateful will always make you happy. It is almost impossible to sincerely appreciate a moment and frown at the same time. To be happy right now, does not mean you don’t desire more, it means you are grateful for what you have and you are patient for what is yet to come.

Gratitude enables true forgiveness, which is when you can sincerely say, “Thank you for that experience.” It makes absolutely no sense to condemn or regret an important life lesson. Gratitude makes sense of yesterday, brings peace to the present, and creates a positive vision for tomorrow.

We never need more than we have at any given moment. It has been said that the highest form of prayer is giving thanks. Instead of praying “for” things, give thanks for what you already have. When life gives you every reason to be negative, think of one good reason to be positive. There is always something to be grateful for. Good days give you happiness and bad days give you wisdom. Both are essential, because all things have contributed to your advancement, you must include all things in your gratitude. This is especially true of your relationships. We meet no ordinary people in our lives; if you give them a chance, everyone has something important to teach you.

 

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We need to be grateful for the present changes in our lives. We need to be grateful for all we have now, because we honestly never know what will happen next. What we have now will eventually be what we had. Life changes every single day, and our blessings will gradually change along with it.

A grateful mind never takes things for granted. What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude. The circumstance (or person) you take for granted today may turn out to be the only one you need tomorrow. As we express our gratitude, we must not forget that the highest appreciation is not to simply utter words, but to live by them daily. What matters most is not what we say, but how we live. Don’t just say it, show it. Don’t just promise it, prove it.

Gratitude includes giving back. In the hustle of everyday life we hardly realize how much more we receive than give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the aid of others.

The highest tribute to the people and circumstances you’ve lost is not grief but gratitude. Just because something didn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t the greatest gift imaginable. Be thankful that your paths crossed and that you got the chance to experience something wonderful.

To be truly grateful, you must be truly present. Count the blessings in your life, and start with the breath you are taking right now. We often forget that the greatest miracle is not to walk on water; the greatest miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment, appreciating it and feeling completely alive.

Letting go of control multiplies the potential for gratitude. Sometimes we put too much weight into trying to control every tiny aspect of our lives that we completely miss the forest for the trees. We need to learn to let go, relax a little and ride the path that life takes us sometimes. We need to try something new, be fearless, but above all else, do our best and be OK with it. Clearing ourselves of needless expectations allows us to truly experience the unexpected and the greatest joys in life are often the unexpected surprises and opportunities we never expected.

“Life should be lived with a little more GRATITUDE

and a little less ATTITUDE.”

Let us consider how fortunate we are – let us consider it every day. The more we count our blessings, the more blessings there will be to count.

What are you grateful for today?

How has gratitude affected your life?

 

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