The only thing that is a constant force in our lives is change. If it is relentlessly happening to us at every turn, then what makes it so difficult to maneuver? Adjusting to new norms is actually the norm in today’s fast paced world we live in. The difficulty in coping with change stems from the inconsistency and the gap between what is our current reality and what is yet to become our new reality. It is your perception, attitude, and view regarding the change that starts to create either an acceptance or resistance cycle to what is taking place. There are also two core categories of change; change that is forced upon us unexpectedly by our environment, the circumstances around us, or the people in our lives; change that is of our own making through the conscious choices we make.
Regardless if the change is unforeseen or expected, the transformation transition stage between what is our current existing reality versus the prospect of what the future will bring may cause unease. The resulting tension from the anticipation can be positive or negative, depending on our level of awareness, our attitude about the change and our comfort level, and our level of resistance to what is happening to us and around us. Discomfort takes hold as we experience fear about the uncertainty of the unknown and unfamiliar circumstances we find ourselves in. Not knowing or not being in control can cause a great deal of restlessness and can also be paralyzing.
Our comfort or discomfort level, however, can serve a purpose if we are receptive and open to the message it brings about the current situation, place, or relationship we find ourselves in. If we sense discomfort then we need to question and explore what doesn’t belong, what is not aligned relative to our values, and the essence of who we are. Staying in a situation, place, or relationship that doesn’t support who we are or who we are becoming, erodes our authenticity and wellbeing. The discomfort is our underlying true self, screaming at us to pay attention before our health becomes compromised. It is beckoning us to be inquisitive and aware of how whatever is going on in our lives no longer serves us or is possibly calling attention to how a seemingly “unwanted” conscious change is serving our “unconscious” needs.
Our experience of how past changes impacted us influences how we react to current changes. It is helpful to remind ourselves that we have survived a change in the past and the same skills that got us through before can be reapplied to whatever current transition we find ourselves in. Whether we realize it or not we all have a reservoir of past experience to draw from. Our experience with change began well before we are born as we started our transformation within our mothers’ wombs. From the moment we took our first breath we began to learn the critical things we needed to survive, grow and develop and be in the world. We shifted from being held to crawling to walking to learning to speak, and beyond. We became increasingly independent in navigating the process of becoming who we are and taking our place in our world.
Change is all about getting comfortable with the discomfort, getting out of our comfort zones to grow and develop to our full potential. To do this, we must be willing to learn to let go, often even before we know what waits on the other side of letting go. If we didn’t have this basic ability within us already from birth, we would never tackle the brave act of defying gravity by standing up on our own two feet, letting go of leaning on or depending on people or nearby objects, and taking our own independent first step!
Change can be gradual and natural, or it can be sudden, disorderly, and chaotic.
When life change happens, we are brought to the threshold. We face having to make choices on how best to proceed. To thrive in these times of turmoil, we must act. If we embrace ownership and responsibility to maneuver our way through the chaotic maze that lies ahead this will lead us to personal growth and we might end up in a better place than we could have imagined. If we stick our head in the sand and hope that the chaos passes this can lead to stagnation and adversity. We may feel we are choosing the security of the status quo by holding on to the familiarity of what is, when in effect we are limiting not only our potential but also the possibilities that are waiting for us.
When we are dealing with change, the anticipatory anxiety that kicks in can be put towards good use looking for the underlying potential opportunity that could come out of the discomfort. We can sit with the discomfort; identify what feelings are surfacing and what issue or challenge needs to be addressed. Then we can kick into action to develop a plan, find a support group, tap into the creative process to unravel stress and strain.
Letting go of what no longer serves us allows us to make room to learn new things that may now be needed. We need to take stock and identify what new skills are required to help redirect our career or re-balance ourselves.
The key is to act. Even one small step at a time to move forward creates momentum.
Approaching change with an open mind and an attitude of gratitude allows us to fully be present to the lesson before us and we can reap the benefits of embracing new prospects. Learning to accept change as a normal phenomenon, and being comfortable in the unknown space between what is and what will be helps us to be resilient, to adjust, cope, and thrive in changing times.
One of the tools and actions we can use to help be our guide is the curiosity to learn new things, try new avenues that can direct or re-direct our path during the changing times. The labyrinth, symbolic of way finding, is also associated with the opportunity to explore these different paths and possibilities. It is an ancient curiosity tool, dating back to 5,000 years used for personal, psychological, and spiritual transformation. Originating in Greece, but also found worldwide in Spain, Egypt, India and even locally here in Oakville at Joshua Creek Heritage Arts Centre. Schedule some time away from the daily chaos and visit our labyrinth. It is a single path, 1.4 km in and 1.4 km out, on mowed grass. Give yourself ample time to stroll and ponder while you wander. It may take 45-60 minutes depending on your pace.
You can also join in with our community to explore the powers of the Labyrinth, and register for the A Labyrinth Journey: Through Mindful Practice and Art on Saturday May 28th from 1-4pm. In the midst of the uncertainty we experience during life’s ever changing crossroads, come for an afternoon of way finding to “experience mindfulness through meditation, a labyrinth walk, and reflective creativity”.
Walking the labyrinth helps ground us, brings us back to the present and unwinds our minds, tuning down our anxiety about the past or the future. It is used worldwide as a way to quiet the mind, and encourage mediation, insights, reduce stress and to recover or discover our balance in life. Spending time in silence walking the path gives way to insights that surface from self-reflection, and opens our hearts clearing the way to find answers to questions long asked to find healing.
Visit our website to explore the wide range of programs to support your way finding!