As I sat down to write this morning’s post on change, I received a message from a dear friend. Denise wanted to let me know that her Dad died last night. I wrote about Bill in “Backgammon & Life” just six weeks ago. He’d been battling cancer and passed over to the spirit side at ninety years old. For Bill, this part of his spirit’s journey has ended. For Denise and her Mom, the journey just got a little tougher. Of course, Denise knows how blessed she is to have had the physical presence of her beloved father this long, but this is a difficult and life-altering change. Rest In Peace Bill Gruber.
Sometimes, changes are really tough: the physical loss of a loved one, a divorce, the end of a career, a big move, a major health issue.
Sometimes, changes are gradual: the aging process, the clutter filling up a home, the degradation of a relationship, the forgiveness of something that hurt you.
Thankfully, sometimes changes are wonderful and exciting and life-giving: being appreciated, a great new job, falling in love, a grandchild (or even better two).
Each time we experience change, we expand and/or contract. We can blossom through what’s happening or we can shrink. Many times both “blossoming” and “shrinking” are the result of one situation. If you’ve ever been in a relationship where you’ve recognized (sometimes after being in it for a long time) that you’ve become “less than” and made the decision to move away from it you might understand what I mean. In a case like that, oftentimes a person keeps getting “smaller and smaller”, and then, when she finally hits the “enough” point and makes the changes necessary to be fully living, blossoming can occur.
Sure, there are a small group of people who thrive on drama; folks who feel like they’re not really living unless they always have some tough or painful story to tell. Those individuals seem to be most comfortable WITH chaos and trade on a “woe is me” mentality. (I wonder how much of the chaos that we’re surrounded with, WE create!) If you have your identity really tied up in the “very sad story of my life”, I imagine changing would be really challenging.
When we have the choice to change something (as opposed to what we’re powerless to alter like Denise’s Dad’s death) we need to step back and look at our lives. We have to make choices, and making choices is scary for a lot of people, since it requires embracing a new way of thinking, instead of backing away or burying our heads in the proverbial sand.
We can make a decision to stay in a horrible job because trying to find another one- a better one where we’re respected or appreciated or not taken advantage of- is just too exhausting, or we can make an effort to change our professional lives. We can look at life as half-empty by holding onto hurts inflicted upon us by others, or we can make a change and fill our lives with amazing, wonderful people who genuinely value us. (Thank you amazing people in my life.) We can look at the aging process with disdain and remorse or we can change our attitude and embrace the knowledge we’ve gained on the journey, the relationships we’ve made and love we’ve shared.
What changes have you had to deal with lately? Which of those do you wish you had handled differently?
We can choose to change the way we move through life.
How about if we:
*complain less and be happy more?
*abandon worrying about (or waiting for) the future and embrace living in the moment?
*give up being “bored” and challenge ourselves to find great things to do with our time?
*cease grumbling about “how it used to be”and begin to learn something new?
*stop holding grudges and start holding each other up?
*minimize the stressful things and magnify the amazing things?
*quit jumping to conclusions and start jumping for joy?
*let go of feeling sorry for ourselves and reach out to someone who could use a hand?
*banish negative feelings and fill our minds with love and gratitude?
We often think that if we do A and B and C, we can make things happen the way we want, but change is inevitable. It’s part of the journey we’re on. The illusion of control that many of us have is just that….an illusion. What we CAN do is change ourselves to be the best person we can be; a light in the world, a harbinger of joy, and a bearer of peace.
As Rumi wrote, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
Wishing you a beautiful week,
©2015 Peace Full Home/Intentional Living
p.s. from “The Checklist from Z to A”: #20. Quit feeling sorry for yourself; change what you can control and give the rest up to God.