“Just as the tumultuous chaos of a thunderstorm brings a nurturing rain that allows life to flourish, so too in human affairs times of advancement are preceded by times of disorder. Success comes to those who can weather the storm.” — I CHING no. 3
How do you respond when some aspect of your life turns upside down? How do you handle significant life changes like these?
- Rights of passage, like puberty, employment, marriage, birth of a child, ‘empty nest,’ divorce, menopause and retirement
- Changes in jobs, careers, health, location
- Death of (a) loved one(s)
- Family crises
- Environmental, economic and/or political crises
- Major shifts in your belief system as you grow spiritually
- Few of us know how to handle these big shifts. And so we often struggle to carry on with our normal routines without giving our stressed-out selves the care and attention we deserve.
When you’re going through a major trauma or change, follow these steps:
1. Acknowledge what’s happening! Honestly and openly face that you’re in major change, that life isn’t ‘normal.’
2. Be willing to really feel your experience and honour your feelings! It’s natural to feel fear or grief or emptiness… When we refuse to feel our emotions, we trap the energy inside. This interferes with our ability to move forward.
3. What new ways of thinking, feelings, behaviours and actions are being asked for by the new situation? Gradually integrate the new into the web of the old. This requires exploration, imagination and risk to ground the new energies. Create a ritual to let go of the old and welcome the new.
4. Nurture yourself. We need to give ourselves more care in times of major change – both good and bad. Get more rest and sleep. Give extra attention to your body’s needs for nutrition, exercise, sunshine and fresh air. Spend time with your best friends or perhaps a counsellor where you can safely share your thoughts and emotions. And don’t forget the power of journaling for expressing and meeting your deepest needs.
As difficult as they are to experience, major changes in our lives present opportunities for our greatest growth. Give yourself extra attention at these times and you’ll discover their gifts.
“It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.” — Madeleine L’Engle
“The trick is to know in advance of making any big change that you’re going to be thrown off your feet by it. So you prepare for this inevitable disorientation and steady yourself to get through it. Then you take the challenge, make the change, and achieve your dream.” — Harvey Mackay