In the face of change

a door opening giving a glimpse of a blurred out garden

My work, essentially, is about helping people to deal with change.

The scope of that is fluid. Some people crave change but are trapped in cyclic patterns. Some people are paralysed by the prospect of change. Some people have become stressed and strained trying to control changes that, in truth, are out of their hands. Some have fallen into powerlessness in the face of what they cannot affect.

Change is integral to a mortal life. It is simply impossible for us to live in stasis. And yet in some fundamental ways we are constantly seeking to maintain or return to stasis. Our survival depends upon us remaining within some pretty damn confining parameters; biologically, psychologically, societally…humans have limits on how far they can stray from the box.

So we live on a knife edge – we need just enough change. Just enough to keep us alive, not so much that we cannot survive.

But what is just enough change? What is being alive? How much is too much to bear? That’s up to us to decide.

But what I’ve noticed is that most people have a problem with change. Most people’s ability to cope with change comes into conflict with their desire for a whole heart and a full life.

And I wonder if it comes down to some simple prioritisation.

I can give people tools to empower themselves in the face of their challenges. But when it comes to the kind of changes most of us face, perspective is the most important instrument we have.

And perhaps it helps us to simplify the question to this: are we going to prioritise survival? Or are we going to prioritise life?

Most of us have been given the gift of a relatively safe environment – how we choose to approach the changes in our lives is not going to influence whether we live or die. But it can certainly impact whether we live – whether we get to enjoy our lives, whether we can approach it with a whole heart, whether we’re able to give ourselves fully to the moments laid out before us.

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