As humans, most of us fear change.
It seems with change always comes the unknown, something we are prepared by evolution to fear.
If that is true, it means we are being normal, reasonable human beings when we feel resistance to change. Realizing this does not remove our discomfort, though.
Here are some ways to go about dealing with the discomfort that accompanies the unknown of change:
1. Go all Zen and limit your engagement with reality to the present moment. This is always good advice and can, in fact, be life-saving at times.
2. Understand the process of change a little better. Insight always brings enlightenment.
The best description of our ongoing relationship with change, is this one, offered by Martha Beck, PhD.
We are in a continuous cycle of change, ever moving in an upward spiral (hopefully), but always going through the same sequence of overlapping stages.
Change is precipitated by a catalyst (disaster, boredom, etc) that can come from inside or outside of ourselves. This catalyst causes us to find ourselves in the (in)famous Stage One: Death & Rebirth.
Stage One is where we feel like there is only chaos around is. We are floating in primordial soup, so to speak. Nothing seems created in our lives. All is goo. It is very unsettling to find oneself in this foggy place where nothing is certain, nothing is as it seems, hardly anything is even recognizable and everything familiar seems to have deserted us.
This uncomfortable stage is essential for any change to take place. The bigger the change afoot, the worse this stage will seem. That is a good thing – the more chaotic you experience your life in this stage, therefore, the larger the reward that is awaiting you.
Martha compares the entire change cycle to the metamorphosis of a butterfly’s life cycle. This first stage is, in those terms, equal to the stage of the butterfly caterpillar enclosed in a chrysalis and dissolved to a rich liquid, which will reform itself into a beautiful butterfly in time.
There is so much of a caterpillar that does not resemble a butterfly, that a complete transformation is necessary, starting from scratch, in a sense. Dissolving into goo that is not even close to either what it used to be, or what it will soon be, is therefore essential.
This is what is happening to us too. Quite a frightening thought, that – dissolving into something unknown and hoping that it will end up better than it was, and certainly better than it is!
How to deal with such radical change? Be as quiet as you can. Make as few outer moves as possible. Rest. Be safe. Wait. Accept that pain is part of this stage. Grieve losses. Believe all is well. Ask for support. Be very, very kind to yourself. Understand how hard it is for you to be here. Stay present. That is all.
Soon, you will start getting flickers of hope, and that will indicate that you are becoming ready to move on.
Until then, may you be well.
May you be free of suffering.
May you love and be loved.
May you find the healing that you seek.
May you find peace.
[Stage 2: Dreaming & Scheming to follow.]