A very wise woman once said to me that change is the only thing we can be certain of in this life. I have to admit that when I heard this I got a knot in my stomach. I have been through some serious 180’s in my own life. I have approached many proverbial forks in the road and made life-altering choices, and each time my anxiety, if not actual panic, ran extremely high. But there is also a thrill attached to change and I have experienced that too. Why is it that this annoyingly inevitable phenomenon is so rife with emotions?
Change comes to all of us every day. Each morning we awaken anew, different both emotionally and physically than yesterday. Our cells are reborn, as well as our organs. The human body is renewing itself constantly. We would be dead quite quickly if it didn’t. The world outside ourselves also changes all the time. The seasons, the weather, the death and rebirth of the flora and fauna around us – all these changes take place without much input from us humans. And some of them pass without much notice. We go with the flow, more or less, and just get on with things. We may bitch and moan that the rain has kept us in traffic for an hour longer than usual, but we still do what we have to do. The big tree outside your home sheds its leaves and goes naked at least once a year, but it doesn’t make you cry. It doesn’t paralyze you with fear. It just is.
But life changes: and there are “choice changes” and changes that come upon us. Moving house, accepting a promotion or changing jobs, getting married or choosing a partner, and (most of the time) having a child, are some choice changes. Some schools of thought believe that all changes are choice changes on some level. But here I am speaking of conscious choices, ones that we are acutely aware we are making at the time. Planning goes into choice changes, and the emotions attached to them are sometimes conflicting, but often feel quite positive. There is stress for sure, but there is also excitement and a feeling of renewal. Choice changes mean that we are consciously moving our lives in a new direction, and newness is thrilling even if stressful.
By contrast, changes that come upon us exist in that grey area of life. The flow of life is like a river that carries us to various destinations on our life path based on our intentions, and we are constantly putting intentions out into the Universe with our thoughts and actions. The chatter inside our heads – our thoughts – is energy that directly affects our lives. But these can live on an unconscious level deep within us. Feelings that we honestly don’t know we have, lie buried, but still work on moving us in certain directions. People come into our lives unexpectedly and create an atmosphere of change and growth for us. In this last year there have been more changes in my life than I could have possibly imagined. After being unemployed for many months – I had been working in the mental health and addiction field – I now make my living as a writer. I have already published one e-book of poetry and am about to publish a second one. I have met my business partner, Kimmy, and we have started a blog and have a radio show on Blog Talk Radio. And I have resumed my healing practice after many years of believing I had lost the gift. And all this happened because Kimmy had no place to stay and my roommate and I took her in. Yes, perhaps it would have all happened anyway at some point, but who knows? Perhaps not.
My point is that I hadn’t planned on making these changes. The under-current of life was slowly carrying me along a new path. It brought a person into my life that changed me forever. Sure, I made some big choices along the way, but only after the possibilities presented themselves to me and I realized they were out there waiting for me to choose. I believe these types of changes are the most stunning as they have more to do with what goes on inside us than the external world, and truly alter us and our ways of thinking about ourselves. Life presents itself as an ocean of limitless possibilities. It can feel overwhelming and scary at first, but in the end it is really quite exhilarating. We are reborn.
Change is happening all around you all the time. You cannot stop it. It will rain, and then the sun will peek through the clouds. You will feel sadness, and then feel joy. Life is, by definition, growth, and growth necessitates change. You can face change with resistance and live in constant pain, or you can embrace it and live a richer life. We all emerge from change a little bit better. For all my kicking and screaming about change, I have to admit that going with the flow and following my heart has made my journey so much more rich and full.
Also by Andie: Acceptance, Gratitude, and the Law of Attraction
Related: Risk-Taking and Embracing the Unknown
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Photo: Jackie Popp via flickr