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Managing Change

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Change happens. The only thing we can count on with certainty is that things will change. There are two types of change: cyclical and structural change. Cyclical change is the more common type. The cycle of the day, week, month, the cycle of the seasons, and the cycle of aging are some examples of cyclical change. Structural change is more disruptive; it leaves us permanently and often profoundly changed. Some examples of structural change include births, deaths, marriage, divorce, and relocating to a new place.


When change is looming, we are either excited or fearful. Both feel the same in our bodies, the only difference is the meaning we give the feelings with our mind. Having navigated thousands of cyclical changes in our lives, we know how to navigate this kind of change. We can take what we know from cyclical changes and use it to help us navigate the more disruptive structural changes.


The cycle of change looks something like this: as we move from something that is known, our body gives us signs that change is coming (knees ache or we get an uneasy feeling in our gut). Then the change makes itself know and we move into a place of dis-ease as we try to make sense of what is happening. Usually at this point, or mind is busy resisting the change, because for most of us, our automatic response to change is to say, “No, I can’t (or don’t want to) do that.” We can use the tools listed below to move from this place of resistance into what I call “floating in the Void.” The Void is the magical space of creation where all things are possible. It is the space in which we co-create whatever is next in our lives. In order to access the Void, we have to place our trust in something greater than us. Whether you call it the Universe, ultimate consciousness, or God, this energy is conspiring on your behalf to improve your life. The more we can trust in this energy, the more gracefully we navigate the change and the better the outcome will be. Once we have created the next phase, we will land in the new space we have created and it will make itself known to us. The cycle of change will be complete for the moment.


As we move through the cycle of change, we have a number of tools at our disposal to help us access the creative energy of the Void. 


1. The breath is the most accessible tool you have. When you’re unsettled, your breathing gets shallow and more rapid. If you spend just a few minutes each day tuning into your breath you’ll become much calmer. Practice breathing deeply and evenly. Inhale for a count of four, pause for one, exhale for four, pause for one and repeat. Eventually you can extend both the breath and the pauses between. If you get dizzy, stop and breathe normally.


2. Journal regularly. You can use a journal to work out problems or dilemmas on paper. Another helpful technique is that when you’re finished with the change, write down what went well and what you’d like to do differently next time. Then the next time you’re in the unknown place, you can read through what you wrote to remind yourself of what you need.


3. Get support. We are not meant to go through challenging times alone. Get the support of friends, family, and professional help. Friends and family can give you emotional support, and coaches are trained to help navigate clients through times of change. 


4. Be gentle with yourself. Try to eat healthy, nutritious meals, get plenty of exercise and plenty of rest. Practice yoga and/or meditation to help quiet your mind. 


5. Cultivate trust. The Universe is, indeed, conspiring on your behalf. It wants to work with you to create a better life for you. Practice giving over your worry, anxiety, doubt and fear. Literally and figuratively hand it over, saying “thank you for taking this from me. Please help me replace this fear with excitement (or joy, or peace).”


Change happens. Learn how to embrace it to live your best life.

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