Well, 2011 has certainly started with a bang. Or according to where you are, a blow, (Qld’s Cyclone Yasi) a shake, (the Christchurch quake) or a burn (the Perth bushfires), which have left many mourning the loss of loved ones, homes and livelihoods. Natural disasters and human error aside, it seems that there is a lot of powerful energy around at the moment, and change is in the wind. On the whole, this presents many people with a problem. To quote Terry Pratchett,
‘They think they want good government and justice for all, Vimes, yet what is it they really crave, deep in their hearts? Only that things go on as normal and tomorrow is pretty much like today.”
I am sure that all those who have survived the traumas of the past two months would indeed have preferred that life had simply gone on much as before…. without the irrevocable changes inflicted upon them in a moment by the caprice of nature. Fortunately for the rest of us, not all change is as drastic or as painful, yet many people still find it difficult to cope with.
People forced into change often struggle to adapt, but even when that change, whether small or large, is of our own making, we too can struggle against it. Perhaps we would do well to remember that it is perfectly usual to feel disoriented and out of sorts when we are in a new or altered situation, because most of our daily behaviours and interactions rely far more on habit and routine than we realise, and having those routines removed forces us to SEE our environments in a new way for the first time in ages. Not always with pleasant consequences…. all you can do is remember your ‘child-mind’, and let go of needing to know or control what is going to happen next. Be open, and allow, dont fight it, you need your energy for other things, and within a few months you will create a totally new set of habits and routines to get you through.
Ok, so what about change we perceive as positive? Why do we still find it so hard to deal with? Surely we should leap at the chance to improve our lives, to make a difference to the world and the people around us? It should be easy to find the energy to work towards the things we really want, to achieve our best. But we don’t- for the same reasons listed above. Its ‘too hard’. It requires us to work, to think, differently… ‘old habits die hard’… ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’,’ you can lead a horse to water….’ etc etc. And even when we are forced into ‘good’ change, by a stroke of fortune, most people revert to their old habits, and their old circumstances, within a very short time. Because basically change of any kind requires work and growth and that can be painful.
Real change means learning new things, new ways of being. Learning means personal growth, realising that truth is subjective- what you believe is true is only true because you believe it is! Are you a battler, someone for whom life will always be tough? Or one of those charmed souls who seem to breeze through an easy life with ne’er a worry? Well guess what? If you really look closely, the only difference between the two lives is one of attitude. Why is it that some of the friendliest, most generous people on the planet have very little of their own, while others make themselves unhappy trying frantically to keep up with the Joneses?
What would really make you happy? Money? No. Ok, its nice to have, sure, but it is just as possible to be miserable with lots of it, in fact the risk of losing it, and the constant pressure to have more, can cause people more angst than not having it in the first place. Family? Well, perhaps. It is certainly crucial to have strong and healthy relationships with some people you respect and trust, but they aren’t always the ones you are related to by birth…. and in any case, many people live fulfilled and productive lives without ever marrying or having children. So what then? To feel happy, you need to decide to be. Its that simple.. and that difficult. Take responsibility for your own life and your decisions, decide who you want to be and how you want to feel, believe that it is possible, and then make choices based on that. Of course to truly believe it you have to stop believing it isn’t possible.. which means addressing all the deep core beliefs, whether culturally or socially acquired, that have gotten you to this point in life, which can be very challenging. Just believing that it is possible that you can be fulfilled and have a rewarding life and career is all you need to start doing it. You will get there… After all, you wont regret the things you attempted and failed, but you will regret never having tried…..
The world is not a static place, we know that, even if we try to ignore the reality. There will always be natural disasters. There will always be upset and discomfort, wars and political upheaval, because humans, likewise, do not stay the same. But that doesn’t mean even those things are always irredeemably negative. Good things can come from what may seem an insurmountable obstacle. Take a look at what happened after any of the recent disasters in Australia and New Zealand. An enormous upwelling of solidarity, support and caring from total strangers towards their brothers and sisters in their hour of need. It just goes to show, that even though we spend most of our day to day lives going through the motions, sometimes a drastic change can make people realise what is really important in this life. Make a difference with yours. Go on.