Change Is In The Air: How Are You Holding Up?
In case you don’t know me all that well, I’m a reflector. Which means I spend a lot of time in contemplation. This takes the form of me thinking about my own actions, the actions of others, the state of world affairs, the challenges that abound in almost every arena.
When I sit and reflect on the last few years, here’s what I realize: the world is changing, FAST. And not just in any one particular space. The political landscape is changing, technology is changing, the way we relate to one another is changing -- and these are just the tangible, clearly identified changes. There’s also the very subtle but no less impactful energetic changes that abound. If you take a moment to stand (or sit) still in a public space and look around you , you’ll notice an energy of hustle and bustle where there used to be comparative stillness, an energy of disconnect where there used to be connection, and perhaps an energy of trepidation where there used to be certainty.
In and of itself, I don’t think any of these changes are bad. After all, change is inevitable. It’s a part of life. The challenge is this: as the world around us changes, we are called to change too. And herein lies the struggle. You simply cannot stay the same while everything around you is changing; if you do that, there will come a point when you no longer “fit” in the new world around you. So, you’ve got to change to some degree or another even as things around you change.
Which brings us to the all-important question: how are you when it comes to change? For so many people, change is uncomfortable. I know that I have times when I feel extremely overwhelmed by how things are different. I don’t consider myself old by any stretch of the imagination, and yet, when I look at my kids and the world in which they live, I sometimes feel out of touch. I mean, I can actually say to my kids – truthfully, with no exaggeration –that “when I started my first job, there was no such thing as email” and “I didn’t have a cell phone when I was growing up.” And when my children saw a rotary phone in a museum a few years back, I could tell them exactly how it worked – and they were utterly baffled!
The truth is the world today is changing at a rate that’s exponentially faster than at any other time in history. I’d hazard a guess that the technological advances in the last decade alone are greater than what was experienced in the century before it. And I know that any and all workplaces are changing at similar speeds, just by virtue of the fact that they have to do so or they’ll find themselves irrelevant.
Similarly, every single one of us has to figure out how to be with change, how to adapt, how to dance with it (even if you don’t embrace it). Figuring out how to navigate change is essential to avoid being overwhelmed and, perhaps most importantly, feeling disconnected from the world around you.
So, what’s the best way to navigate change? Well, here are a few suggested strategies for you to try:
This first step is an obvious one: remember that change is inevitable. It’s neither bad nor good; it just is (which is another way of saying that change in and of itself is not subject to judgment, so let it go already!).
Take time to be still every now and then. In the stillness, notice what has stayed the same, even as you notice what’s different. Not everything changes at the same rate.
Stay connected to others in your world (this is a really important step !). Don’t isolate yourself. Allow these connections to be your anchors as things evolve, so you don’t start a narrative of being alone in a challenging, changing world.
Find the rhythm of change as it’s unfolding. Allow yourself to be “in flow.” Don’t try to keep things the same, and don’t try to force change. There’s a natural rhythm to “change” – find it and embrace it, dance with it.
Express gratitude daily, for what is, for what has been and for what is coming. Gratitude will allow you to release whatever anxiety you might have about the whole “change” thing.
Bottom-line: change is inevitable. So finding a positive way to be with change is a good thing. Stop fighting it or forcing it. Just allow it to be. And as you do so, notice that life – even when it’s hard, or confusing or not what you expected – really is good, when all is said and done.