Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Subject to Change" On the Front Door of Life

We all get comfortable periods in life, and “expecting” each day to be the same is just an unconscious part of our thinking. We grow into our lifestyles, adapt to the way we like our home, personal life, work life, health and how we raise the kids. Our daily routines are rituals that we give no thought to, because we are on automatic pilot mode. We hear others talk about sudden health issues, family breakups, financial fallen, and job madness. We move on as though we won’t get hit by these changes. When change does happen, and it disrupts all that we have known, we tend to resist and suddenly we are all out of sorts with life.

My first major change in life occurred at age 27 and it was a mystery illness in many ways. I found myself in a maze of great physical pain and odd symptoms but a variety of doctors who were unable to adequately treat me. That change had such an impact in my life and I really didn’t want to accept that my life needed to continue carefully in a new direction. Accepting change means we ourselves have to look at what we have in our ownership of the change. However sometimes we don’t recognize our part to play in making the change. Today I am able to see that I didn’t make the necessary changes in my life for my new health condition.

When I look at change in my life I recognize those changes that were wanted but still had great challenges. My move from Cincinnati, OH, to Houston, TX, was one that I was so excited about. Not only was I starting a new job after being jobless for 3 months, but I was moving where the weather was warm and dry instead of so many dreary cold days! There was no way to mentally prepare myself however for a move to Texas and a new job. I was just turning 34 and moving away from all my friends and family, 1100 miles away. At first it felt like a vacation as I made friends immediately, and playing on the lake like I so commonly did in Ohio. Life felt great, but as time went on, things got tough. Before I knew it I was slammed with another major change and I had only been in Texas nine months. Another move, this time to Austin, TX, which included surprising changes that blew me away.

The odd part about change, good or bad, is how it can make you grow and continue to open other doors. The problem we face with change most times is the patience to see it through. I read a book once that talked about change and our normal resistance to it. The book suggested that every home should have a sign on the front door that reads “Subject to Change”. That meant a lot to me as I realized that many of the changes which turn into life changing events, come either unplanned, not on our timetable, or the end of something or someone we loved dearly. What we have to come to terms with is change is subject to happen at any time. Our wakeup call is that change is suppose to occur. If we decide we can’t accept the change, then we are in for a world of hurt.

Three years into my daughter’s life that I was so delighted to have with me, another major change hit….but this time the biggest of all booms! At age 40 I found myself in the hospital being brain monitored and dealing with the mystery illness again. It has now been 5 years, and I am disabled as a result of this mystery type illness. With this illness has come a continual revolving door of nonstop change.

I know now that change is something that can happen every day. The loss of health, job, and friends is still a change I struggle with however it has ironically opened up doors also. Now, I don’t think about all the hours away from my daughter while at work. I’m able to be more at peace with my home not looking perfect because my health is priority over it. Writing and poetry have been great gifts to me that I never saw before. I have accepted that change has knocked on my door so many times that hopefully one day I may find that change will show me a healthier body soon!

Subject to change is our purpose in life. If we resist or refuse to accept it we will close those doors that are being presented to us, to walk through and embrace those opportunities that can come with change. Here are five tips that I have identified in helping me with ongoing changes in my life.

Tips For Accepting Change

1. Expect Change - Allowing and accepting events in your life to happen, planned or unplanned, but definitely involve changes that we should always know are just around the corner.

2. Change You – Changes that disrupt our day-to-day life come to us two different ways. There is change that happens to you, and also change that happens within you. We can’t control what will happen, but we do have the ability to control what we do with the change. Be alert and quick to recognize that you are about to enter a new phase of life.

3. Seek the Opportunity – When you see that you are having a hard time moving from where you are, to where you need to go, envisioning where the move could take you may help. Look at the big picture, and see what positive options there are. Sometimes it is scouting our location, or even trying new relationships. Once you have built some trust in the new, it will be easier to leave the old.

4. Let Go of the Old – One of the toughest things in life is to let go of a loved one we have lost. Letting go of our sense of security or relationships can be awfully scary and difficult to do. One of my favorite reminders that I say to myself is “Let Go, Let God”. The best gift we can give ourselves is peace, and only by letting go can we reach that blessing.

5. Keep Growing – Making strides towards the things that will benefit you also keep you moving in the right direction in any transition. Whether it is in your personal or business life, when you recognize an opportunity to expand in ways that will reap rewards, go for it. It is all about our growing and knowing that a breakthrough does lead to better days.

One of the things I say to my daughter a lot is “Everything has a beginning and an ending”. That may sound morbid but preparing her for what to expect at the playground, school, birthday parties, or chores around the house,etc. is to help her understand a head of time that these things all change and we move on through life as it was meant to be.

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  1. Excellent post, Christine! Change is hard, but your tips for accepting it are very helpful!

  2. Just read your poem Christine-it is clear that it came straight from your heart and mind...

    your posts regarding change is excellent-I will be back for more reading...