The Patron Saint of Change

The Patron Saint of Change

“Oh, I HATE change!” she said.

And she shook her head and she closed her eyes and shuddered again. “Hate it!”

“Really?”  I said, “Because change sure loves you.”

Change loves you.  Look at how change is always present in your life, swirling around you and taking you in new directions.  Change wants you to notice what’s happening right now.  Change points out the infinite possibilities in each new moment.

Change wants to keep you from dwelling in the past (which is a dream) and from fretting about the future (also a dream) and keep you right here, in the gift of the present moment.

And the present moment is our one big chance to create something new.  Our ability to make something out of apparent nothingness is miraculous.  But it is only possible thanks to change.

And change is so forgiving.  If we miss our chance to change a minute ago, here change is again, fresh as ever.  Sometimes change shows off with a fabulous sunset or a look from a stranger across a crowded room or a big, unmistakable transition like a birth or a death, but mostly change just dwells right here with us in each heartbeat.

Feel that?  Each breath is change.  Each meal, each step, each smile – we are ever-transforming.  Things may feel the same, but it’s an illusion, like gazing at a stream or a waterfall, which appears static but is actually nothing but movement.

So: with us all the time…located in the present moment…contains infinite possibilities…forgiving…eternal…generative, creative…omnipresent…

Change is not just good: change is God.

Let me say that another way —

Change is not just good: change is the presence of the Divine.

Now, I don’t believe that the Divine cares how you feel about It.  The Divine just keeps being the Divine whether you believe or don’t believe, notice or don’t notice, call It by one name or another name or don’t call on It at all.

But I find my life goes more smoothly when I cooperate.  And when I quit trying to have control over that which I clearly have no control.  Much like arguing with gravity, hating change is rather a futile effort.  Better, maybe, to allow the laws of gravity to support you, and to allow the laws of change to enlighten you and to reveal more love to you, so that you may be in closer relationship with the Divinity of every beautiful, fleeting moment.

Prepare To Be Uncomfortable

Recently a client asked me how to tell the difference between the natural anxiety a person has when they’re moving forward into something new and the gut instinct that something is truly wrong for them.  Good question, right?

And the answer is: I don’t think you can tell the difference.  At least not right away.

Both of those feelings are so profoundly uncomfortable that it’s easy to see why some people stay stuck in the familiar.  As my wise friend Amy Ahlers once told me, “If you are out of your comfort zone, you can expect to feel uncomfortable.”

I think the only solution is to take a few deep breaths, recognize that discomfort is part of change and then take a few small, manageable steps toward the new thing.  Then you can look around and see how it all feels: are you feeling supported and excited?  Are unexpected angels conspiring to help you?  Are you enjoying yourself?  Or are there roadblocks and potholes and feelings of wrongness?

Only once you have taken a few steps into the unknown territory can you determine if you should keep going or not.  You can’t tell from where you are.

But do not underestimate how very uncomfortable it can feel to start to play in a bigger arena, to put your self out there, to begin a new work.  You will feel vulnerable, afraid and very….exposed.  And here’s what’s worse: no one will give you credit for your bravery.  They will just sort of assume that it must be easy for you to publish, to perform, to create, to change your world.  Because that’s just how cool you are.

(And also notice that you make that assumption, too.  When your friend releases a new CD of original songs or mounts a gallery show or puts up their Etsy shop, you don’t automatically think of all the blood, sweat and tears they must have poured out to accomplish that work.  You just think, “Oh.  Cool.  They did that.”  So maybe next time give them a bit of a pat on the back, nu?)

You must hold your own hand, talk yourself off of whatever ledges you find yourself on, reward yourself with lots of treats, surround yourself with a few compatriots who will acknowledge your efforts and then…keep walking.

Pay attention to the foreboding feeling in your belly, but don’t let it make your decisions for you, OK?