When my mom was dying over the summer of 1995, my supervisor, an older woman, told me that in the first few decades of our lives, change is usually experienced as positive: birthdays, graduations, beginning a career, establishing families and independent households… These are all exciting, longed-for changes. As we move into midlife, change starts to more often feel like loss: a job loss, a scary diagnosis, deaths of parents and spouses, moving, kids leaving home, aging… These changes, even though sometimes eagerly anticipated, feel painful. And they accumulate. We get tired of feeling like there’s no stability and life’s out of control.
Some “comforting” truths about change:
To be alive is to change. The cycle of death and rebirth is embedded in creation. Look around you! Spring is springing after a long winter.
All change is a loss of some sort, even changes we choose and anticipate. Therefore they hurt, and grief must be felt.
Change follows a predictable pattern. Death of the old must happen before new life can be born.
Acceptance and leaning in is the only way through death to the other side, where new life awaits. Resistance is futile. Addictions, distractions, and denial delay the new life that wants to come, and we can easily get stuck in them.
Our bodies and our souls are our peaceful center. While you and I are alive, we have our bodies. Our connection to the Ground of Being, which is our soul, evidently endures beyond death. Practices that nurture and strengthen our mind’s awareness of our bodies and our soul’s connection to Source help us walk our change journey peacefully.
Some practices to strengthen our body awareness:
- Work hard. Get sweaty and tired and dirty.
- Go outside. Feel the sun and wind and rain.
- Practice yoga or tai chi. Walk or run. Any form of body-aware exercise will do.
- Find a piece of ground that feels good and go there consistently and frequently.
- Pay conscious attention to your body, toe to scalp.
- Eat mindfully.
- Forego alcohol and other distracting habits, for now.
Some practices to strengthen our soul’s connection to the Ground of Being:
- Pray honestly. Tell God how you feel and what you want.
- Engage in ritual, first thing in the morning and throughout the day.
- Say “thank you” frequently — to yourself, to others, and to the Universe.
- Meditate. Pay attention to your breath moving in and out.
- Eliminate distractions. Keep a Sabbath day.
Change is life. Life is change. How do you stay peaceful in the midst of change?
If you’re feeling pushed around by change and loss, I can help. Contact me to schedule a complimentary one-hour clarity conversation. I’d love to talk with you!
Photo credit: www.jamesaltucher.com