There are three types of change in life. First; there’s the kind we know is coming but can’t stop. Secondly; the kind we make happen ourselves. And thirdly; the kind we can’t see coming.
In this episode, I look at the first kind and ask how we embrace change – rather than resisting it – as life moves from one season to the next.
We cannot prevent the change that comes from time doing its thing. But we can learn to gently release any anxious resistance we might feel towards it. That’s what we will do a bit of through this episode as we explore how to embrace change as part of life even when we find the idea of it uncomfortable.
- Types of Change to Embrace | 10:22
- What Embracing Change Makes Possible | 21:03
- The Risks When We Don’t Embrace Change | 30:43
- How Do You Embrace Change? | 39:06
- Anticipatory Grief | 42:11
- Conclusion | 49:56
Types of Change to Embrace | 10:22
We have an obsession in the modern world with fighting time. Fighting natural processes and the movement of the seasons. I want to ponder in this episode what could happen if we surrender this need to control, fight, and dominate nature.
The dawn signals the emergence of the sun on the horizon. It is coming whether we wish it to arrive or not. Likewise, a few hours later, the sun will disappear and the dusk will take us into the night. To wish for the day during the night and night during the day is to waste our energy and emotion on the unchangeable inevitability.
We waste a lot of energy on things we cannot change. And we neglect the things we can. We might also neglect the slow and steady becoming of our lives.
Ageing (our own and others) | 10:32
The modern world holds age and ageing in a strange way. We judge it, shame it, and hold it as something to fight.
So it’s no wonder why we’re afraid to embrace change if it’s collectively judged so harshly. And it has become an act of rebellion to accept and invite the changes that come from natural ageing. Even though it happens to EVERYONE. All of us.
Evolution of Belonging(s) | 13:32
There are other things that naturally change with the passing of time.
Maybe you’ve experienced the evolution of a community you’ve been part of. Whatever things are like right now is not how it will stay. Communities change as members drift in and out, novel ideas become old, and challenges shake things up.
Our resistance to change can mark the beginning of the end. Whereas if we embrace and roll with it, changes can keep a community fresh and moving forward.
Over time the novelty wears off. We eventually get used to and bored by the things we own. And as newer versions are released, our old product feels tired and outdated. But we can use this awareness to change our relationship with stuff. Bearing in mind that however shiny and exciting something appears right now, over time it will become like everything else.
Relationships | 15:46
Relationships change over time. They move through seasons of growth. They might experience periods of stagnation. Change is always present whether we want it or not, so it takes deliberate work to maintain healthy connections with people in our lives.
Education | 17:04
There’s an episode of Rick and Morty when Jerry is creating a solar system model with Morty and he starts to add Pluto. Morty tells him that Pluto is “no longer a planet.” When Jerry confirms this to be true he resists it. He learned in 3rd grade it was a planet and refuses to believe anything else.
Embracing change is a bit like a muscle. We need to keep doing it in order to grow its strength and effectiveness. Are we open to change, or do we resist it like Jerry?
Work | 19:02
We can expect workplaces to change over time too. As well as external conditions that give rise to certain needs in the wider world. Everything is impacted by everything, and we must be ready to expect the professional impact from shifts in the world at large.
What Embracing Change Makes Possible | 21:03
“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”– John Allen Paulos
Everything and everyone is in a constant state of becoming. We are always becoming, and we never fully arrive. If we embrace this state we can experience some positive effects:
Hope and Hopefulness | 21:54
C.R Snyder referred to hopefulness as the “perceived capability to derive pathways to desired goals, and motivate oneself via agency thinking to use those pathways.”
If we live within a spirit of hope we can be resilient in the face of change and we can also be intentional and active in response to the change that happens in life, even when we don’t like it.
Depth | 28:10
When we allow change to be, we build on what has been before. Rather than living at the level of how things appear to be, we can embrace what going on deep beneath the surface.
Clarity and Vision | 28:50
“We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”Richard Rohr
Embracing change isn’t just something we do in our minds. It’s a dance we do with our lives.
Our Best Work | 29:35
We are not limited to what has been before. That is all just a prelude to what is still to come.
When we relinquish the power of trying to replicate/imitate/return to the past, we are free to build on it and create something completely new with our lives.
Perspective and Wisdom | 30:06
We are part of a much bigger story. We are not the hero, we are part of a beautiful ensemble. When we embrace change we are better able to meaningful connect dots around our lives. Change is what brings perspective and wisdom. It’s the stuff we can pass on to future generations and other people we encounter.
The Risks When We Don’t Embrace Change | 30:43
What might happen if we continue to resist change in life?
Childish Immaturity | 31:02
If we fear change like ageing, we might fail to see the enjoyable and valuable aspects of different seasons of life.
Shallow Living | 31:47
We might spend all our energy and resources on the surface rather than allowing the natural depths that occur over time.
Stuckness and Nostalgia | 32:13
If we don’t embrace change we might get stuck in the past. As we move from one season to the next we might experience nostalgic blindness to the possibility of today.
“While restorative nostalgia returns and rebuilds one homeland with paranoic determination, reflective nostalgia fears return with the same passion.”Svetlana Boym
In her 2001 book, The Future of Nostalgia, Svetlana Boym pointed out a difference between restorative nostalgia, and reflective nostalgia.
Restorative nostalgia is driven by the belief that the past holds the key to that desire to feel happy and at home in the present. It is a drive to reconstruct and relive the way you believe things were in the past.
Embracing change is about honouring reflective nostalgia while rejecting the temptation to dive into restorative nostalgia. We can enjoy nostalgia. But we must never believe it.
Forever Fighting | 38:40
If we resist change, we might always feel like we’re in a tussle with our nature. Humans have a strange need to impose our will on it and dominate it. And yet as we all know, there are some things that can’t be resisted.
How Do You Embrace Change? | 39:06
So the question is, how do we actually begin to embrace this kind of change? It’s easy to say in theory, but what does it look like in practice?
Gratitude | 39:42
Rather than wishing to return, practice gratitude for fond memories. Instead of yearning to go back to the past, practice feeling thankful and allowing them to be.
Move With The Train | 40:22
Sometimes our resistance to change comes because we feel like we’re not where we’re supposed to be. But this can lead us to live like we’re walking towards the back of a moving train. Trying to return to where we were without realising that there’s no way to stop the whole thing from moving forwards.
Reflective Preparation | 41:28
Embracing change is about being prepared for life’s inevitable transitions. As much as we can be.
Embrace the mantra that “this too shall pass”. This applies to positive and negative situations alike. And we can learn to hold lightly to all things.
Anticipatory Grief | 42:11
Anticipatory Grief is the feeling of loss for something or someone that is still there. It’s a phenomenon most often experienced in anticipation of the impending death of a loved one. However, it can be experienced in all sorts of ways and about all manner of things. Even pets and holidays!
Anticipatory grief can bring us to a place of gratitude for what is in front of us right now in this moment. There are parts of it that can teach us what is important and give us an appreciation for the present. It helps us to hold lightly to the things which we have no control over. And it rips away the tendency to take things for granted.
But it can be paralysing, and can lead us to actively avoid things that we want to do, because we are afraid of their eventual demise. We might find ourselves withdrawing from important stuff over time.
I wrote a post about this a number of years ago, talking about how I stopped listening to one of my favourite podcasts at the time because I was overcome by the fear that it would end. Mad!
Keep a Record | 45:31
Embracing change happens when we keep some kind of record of our lives. It’s so easy to forget how far we’ve come.
You can’t watch your fingernails grow in real-time, yet they do.
One of the great benefits of keeping a journal is being able to see HOW MUCH GROWS in a short period of time.
What Would a Time Lapse of the Past Year Look Like? | 47:31
It may be difficult to comprehend change in our own lives because it can happen so incrementally. Sometimes it’s difficult to notice; a bit like walking up a hill via the slightest of inclines. It may take a very long time but with each stride you are closer to the top and only after a long time when you look back will you realise how far you’ve climbed.
There is no time lapse for us to instantly see our own progress. We can however reflect and consider the different points of our journey back over the past year or so. And it can become evident and encouraging to realise that we are perhaps not as stagnant or stationary as we feel.
Conclusion | 49:56
We’ve all written scripts about embracing, instigating, and absorbing change in our lives. These scripts can serve or sabotage us.
I’ve created a quiz to help you identify which aspect of change is currently having the biggest impact on your life. Whether you need to embrace, instigate, or absorb change happening in and around your life. You can find out by taking the quiz. Go to https://the-haven.co/change/change-quiz/ to find out more.
The Haven – Embrace Change Alongside Others
For many of us our relationship with change is made more difficult because we feel like we are on our own. It can seem overwhelming when no one around us sees things like we do. The burden of change is heavy to carry alone.
That’s one of the reasons I built The Haven the way I have. It’s a place of sanctuary and support, where you will find like-minded travellers exploring our themes together.
So if you would like to approach this season of change with the gentle support of a safe and caring community of loving misfits you are so very welcome to join us.