and how to make ease with it
Nature is always reminding us: Nothing remains the same. The caterpillar changes to the butterfly. Green leaves in Spring change color in Autumn. Even our thoughts and feelings come and go. Nothing remains the same.
And yet, even when we want to change, we often feel threatened and scared and it doesn’t feel natural at all. And instead of expanding we find ourselves resisting. Yet this resistance is also a natural part in the process of change.
Did you know that when you begin to stretch a muscle the brain’s initial response is resistance to the changing length of the muscle. That resistance comes from the brain sending messages to the muscle fibers telling them to contract in attempt to bring it back to the “normal” length? Why? It’s protecting your body from possible harm. Makes sense doesn’t it?
However, if you are prepared to stay with the stretch for a period of time (as in yoga class) a chemical feedback from the muscle tendon signals back to the brain saying” hey it’s ok here, it’s safe”.
As you continue to stay and maintain the stretch the resistance lessens and muscle fibers start to lengthen and change to a new length because the brain has acknowledged it’s safe to expand.
We can be so grateful for the divine intelligence that automatically makes those decisions and takes care of our bodies without us even having to think about it.
But what makes those intelligent decisions in other areas of change in our lives? What tells the brain, “hey it’s safe so you can let go of the resistance and expand now”.
Actually it’s the same intelligence. The intelligence that organizes everything: our body systems, plants, galaxies. This intelligence is the energy that continually guides us through life including the natural process of change.
But we also have a “memory chip” that generates thoughts based on real or imagined past experiences and this memory chip wants to protect us by maintaining the status quo. It fears change and generates thoughts that attempt to keep us from changing. (Does the inner critic sound familiar?)
Understanding the components of Change
• wanting to make a change
• initial resistance and ambivalence
• preparation for staying and maintaining the actions toward change
• relapse may occur
• change and transformation happens
Just like a muscle that’s stretched beyond the normal length creates an initial resistance in the brain, any change we attempt to make in our lives creates initial resistance also. But somehow, we expect that this shouldn’t happen.
Understanding the role of the “memory chip” and the role of resistance (protection) we can say thank you for trying to keep me out of harms way. And then tune in to that central operating system of divine intelligence that supports growth and reminds us that we are safe.
It doesn’t matter if change has happened to you unexpectedly or you are consciously choosing to change something in your life, there really isn’t a difference.
Compassion goes a long way. Be gentle, kind and loving towards yourself. Imagine how you would treat your best friend.
The ability to STAY with the discomforts that accompany change comes from knowing that the feelings of resistance are a natural part of change and expansion, just like stretching a muscle has initial resistance.
What’s helpful is the practice of mindfulness. Being able to stay with sensations, thoughts, and feelings without reacting to either push away or attach to the experience enables the capacity we have to simply witness our inner world of thoughts, feelings, and sensations without having to “do” anything about it.
In the long term our ability to stay present with constant change rather than running or fighting it, avails us to the unchanging divine intelligence that guides us towards new possibilities and growth. This intelligent guidance brings ease to the process of change.
Mindfulness is living and breathing and doing and being with an awareness of the inner silent witness, the ever-present unchanging awareness within us that can observe all that comes and goes in our world. When we rest in this place, we know we are safe and we find greater ease and peace within the world of change.
So play, have fun, make time for stillness and always love yourself up.
Love to you, you are love,
10 TIPS TO MAKE CHANGE EASIER
1. Say YES
Don’t spend time trying to figure out how you are going to make the change you want to make. Just be willing.
2. Say THANK YOU
Acknowledge resistance or ambivalence is part of the process and when it comes up say “thank you for trying to protect me”
3. DAILY STILLNESS
Include time each day for stillness. Remind yourself that the intelligence that organizes your physical body is also organizing the changes in other areas of your life and TRUST and have faith in that universal intelligence
4. INSPIRED ACTION
Take small baby steps towards the change you want to make.
6. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
Increase your capacity to stay with discomforts that arise from stepping out of your comfort zone.
Take the time to acknowledge changes you’ve made and celebrate each one.
Be ok with any relapse knowing that it’s part of the process of change. Treat yourself as you would a friend or a small child doing their best.
See yourself already where you are heading. Imagine that the change you want has already happened and you are living it.
Surround yourself with like-minded, like-hearted people who encourage you and keep you going towards the changes you wish to achieve.