With autumn settling in and the ground hardening itself for the coming winter, we find ourselves in the time for settling inside our homes, lighting the fires in the fireplaces and preparing for shorter days and longer nights. Nature is truly wonderful in its constant demonstration of the metamorphosis of life.
With each change in our lives comes the opportunity to grow, to learn and to become more whole, but change, if it is major, can often be too difficult, too fearsome, and too removed from the reality of our lives.
In my career therapy work, time after time, a client will block their true vocation because acknowledging it means letting go of their old work, even if it is work that they no longer, or maybe even never enjoyed. In its place is a fear of moving into a new unknown direction. Often that direction means going back to school, learning subjects that are not only new but challenging on many levels. Adopting a positive attitude is of course helpful, but the work that really needs to be done is to address the root fear of the unknown.
Believing that change is positive is against our way of conditioning. We learn to do the same thing over and over again to perfect it. Our patterns are part of our everyday existence and even making small changes in them can cause discomfort. As children we are shown how to act and what to do. Creative ventures are considered dangerous and not encouraged by most parents who haven’t the time or energy to let their children explore new things. Our patterns become so rigid that even when we find ourselves in unhappy situations, sometimes ones as demanding as a career or a marriage, we do not leave those situations because they are all we know. Divorce and leaving a job are classified as the most highly stressful occurrences in life when in some ways, they could be classified as the most liberating occurrences.
When we observe nature and see how the death of winter breaks into the beauty of spring, we can recognize that allowing the death of the old in us can bring forth a renewal of who we really are. In order for there to be renewal and rebirth, there needs to be a total letting go. It cannot be done half-heartedly. Change requires courageous action and a strong inner sense of self. We must trust that no matter the outcome, we are choosing growth over stagnation and with that, the opportunity to gain new knowledge for the best teacher, experience.
Of course, there are risks, and it can sometimes feel like a given change was not for the best. You may find yourself in a situation that you experience as worse than the reality you were in before. There is a temptation to call this failure. But there is always a reason. You have given yourself the gift of a deeper understanding of who you are and you have learned from your new experience.
When my clients are experiencing the growing pains of change, I advise them to move carefully, to stay close to their intention for the change and to absorb the many insights that will arise from their new environment. Change is meant to be handled with awareness and compassion. There are some that use change to avoid uncomfortable aspects of their life. This causes harm to themselves and others. The change we are discussing is thoughtful, on both a practical and profound level. If for example, your intuition has been calling you to move to another state or country, support yourself by visiting, planning and being clear with yourself about the realities of the move.
When we move out of the old and into the new, we are forced to come to terms with our attachments. In this instance, letting go means we are aware of our habits and preferences and we are willing to do the difficult inner work of discarding what is no longer serving us.
If you are thinking of making some important changes in your life the following exercise will help you assess whether it is right for you:
Find a quiet place and sit comfortably. Take some deep breaths and relax your body, breathing deeply until you feel peaceful within. Try to rid your mind of thoughts and feelings.
Next link with your heart chakra in the middle of your chest. Try to experience the heart chakra. It can be a slight pressure, a movement, a light, or even an image.
When you feel you are experiencing it, make the change you are thinking of doing and place an image of it in your heart chakra and ask,
Should I make this change?
If it is a positive answer you may feel an expansion in your heart or a great warmth. Some will see bright colors or experience a feeling of excitement and joy. A negative response may be no response at all or a heavy feeling or a black or gray color.
If you feel fear in your heart visualize it as a huge black ball and throw it out of your heart and ask that it be taken away temporarily so you can feel the response purely.
If there are blocks around the change, ask to know them and write down any thoughts that come in about it. Blocks should always be worked through before doing any major changes, otherwise, they can sabotage the outcome.
Remember, it is better to make mistakes than to never to try anything new. Change is the way for personal growth. Don’t be afraid to be daring!