Changing perspective and finding new ways to do and be defines the process of transformation in life. ~ Chris Walker
Change is an inevitable part of life. We age, navigate through illness, are sometimes required to move, make new friends and let go of old ones. We are even required to replace broken appliances, cars and other mechanical appliances that we own. Some shifts such as aging are gradual and seem to creep slowly into your reality. Some changes like the birth of a child are expected and may even bring joy and growth into your life. But, unwanted change – the events that can happen in an instant and deliver complete chaos – are much less welcome and can deliver pain and suffering.
Sudden change might show up in the form of a car accident that causes debilitating injury; it might be the sudden death of a loved one or the unexpected ending of a relationship that you thought was solid. It might intrude into your life with you losing the job you loved and felt you were doing well at.
Although the ultimate outcome of change (sudden or expected) can be transformative growth, the ‘out-of-the-blue’ variety can be challenging to understand and to move through.
Here are some steps to help you meet and adapt to the scary moments of change that you never expected to have to face:
- Embrace and acknowledge the emotions that you may cycle through –
You may feel fear as you face an uncertain or unknown future; sometimes the experience of feeling afraid can bring out angry, frustrated or resentful responses that are a way to try to regain control of your life; feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness can expose your vulnerability and cause you to feel unstable and insecure about taking next steps. You may even visit ‘what if I had…’ scenarios as you find yourself immersed in feelings of despair or regret.
- Put a time limit on the emotions you are experiencing –
In her book, My Stroke of Insight, research scientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor gave herself 30 minutes a day to express all the negative emotions that accompanied her recovery from a sudden stroke. That tactic provided an outlet for any unresolved emotions while the time restriction prevented her from becoming stuck in counter-productive self-pity.
- Trust that within the chaos and fear, there will be clarity and a path to growth and greater awareness –
The thing about change and its ability to bring transformation into your life is that it takes time. Change, especially sudden change, requires time to adapt to the new circumstances. Getting to that point requires healing work such as Breathwork, spending time with supportive friends, or seeking professional therapeutic assistance. Your healing also needs you to have patience and trust that new directions will open up.
- Clear time in your life for reflection, and creating a vision of your future –
Use techniques such as meditation, time in the peace of nature, journaling to help you set small goals that move you forward every day. Know that in taking small steps, you are building your resilience and strength to cope with change.
- Reach out and always know you are never alone as you move through change –
Seek the advice of others who have experienced similar circumstances to see what is possible. Others’ experience shows you how to problem solve and move through any obstacles or setbacks you may encounter.
- Track your progress and celebrate the new life views that you adopt –
Take the time to see how you have grown and changed some aspects of your capabilities or awareness. Any change but especially sudden traumas can knock you off balance and can take incredible amounts of courage and determination to regain your footing. Be sure to embrace and applaud your shifts and transformation.
Making the Choice to Embrace Uninvited Change
Despite their intrusion into a planned life, making the choice to surrender to unexpected detours can provide rich and fertile opportunities for growth, renewal and personal freedom.
You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be ~ Marianne Williamson
For more information about Breathwork, connect with John Stamoulos at www.johnstamoulos.com