Tuesday, January 22, 2013

make room for change in the new year


Change is the only constant in life. Kids grow up. Bodies reshape. Pets die. Careers advance, and hopefully continue.
When was the last time you shook up the schedule and declared it is time for a change?
You cling to regimens like a lifeline, and you run in familiar patterns. Routine dictates your Friday night dinner at the same restaurant. You always vacation with the core group of friends, and travel to the usual resort year after year.
You hold beliefs that go way back, even when logic or common sense might say it’s time to reboot. Rebooting isn’t as simple as pushing some internal button. You can’t find the button, or don’t really look for it, because you really don’t want your internal hard drives wiped clean.
I think that you have to be willing to let go of present attitudes that sabotage you, no matter how comfortable you are with them. The constant complainer, the victim and the fearful person place limits with negative beliefs about money, health and the future.
Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. He regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom. Heraclitus is famous for his insistence on ever-present change in the universe. “No man ever steps in the same river twice.”
In some respects change is part of the rite of passage. You can’t stay at home forever. Work and college lead you off into new explorations. A college freshman is annoyed when he returns home finding his bedroom no longer the way he left it. Instead, Mom shows off her new sewing room. Ironically, the student has started his own process of change establishing a new circle of dorm friends.
A great president, Abraham Lincoln, understood change. Under his leadership there was one of the greatest changes in history, the freeing of the slaves. Lincoln is quoted as saying, “I’d like to think that my changing positions is an indication that I have grown smarter.”
I am not alone by any means in having more than one size clothes in the closet. Bodily change fluctuates for even the most physically fit. It’s best to stay prepared and keep your options open weighing in with one eye on the scale.
Losing a loved one and learning to live on with a forced change in lifestyle is humbling and often downright frightening I would think. Some of the least likely widows though, totally surprise me with their determination and ingenuity. The widow who had never managed the finances is now buying on the stock market. The woman who let her husband do the outside work operates the riding mower. Both tell me they feel empowered with the inner strength to more than just get by.
I have an acquaintance that never comes and goes in her car using the identical route. In order to learn all the roads that she would use normally, her dad taught her the art of navigation along with basic driving skills.
Another friend makes herself lost in her home city on purpose. She uses her problem solving skills to get on target again. She says that it keeps her in practice for all the international cities where she travels on business.
Some of you by your nature keep your options open, and relish in a change. You tend to be more proactive in initiating change, as well. There is something to say for the college sabbatical after a seven-year teaching stint to get you in touch with new ways of thinking. Elementary teachers wave goodbye every June, and it’s not long into the summer when preparations start anticipating a new batch of children in September.
On every cruise you take there are numerous couples celebrating wedding anniversaries of longstanding marriages of 50 and 60-year durations. Don’t tell me that both partners didn’t modify, adjust and change during all those years to keep the vows in tack. You hear the groans when their years are announced from those younger generations that are in the midst of “starter” marriages and haven’t a clue about true commitment. The real applause comes from those married and single folk who acknowledge a celebration of life.
People move in and out of our lives, and if you stop to think about it, they were meant to be there for a time and purpose. How fortunate when you unselfishly accept they’re heading on to new locales, grand adventures and wish them well. It’s not about you and how you are going to get along without them either.
Changes in technology are happening faster than I can get a handle on them. I try because I don’t want to get left behind. In fact, I was rebuilding my website from scratch and the glitches kept hindering me. I talked myself through some changes that I needed to make. I am good to go with a proper outlook today.
I was born into a family where my father took a big risk at seventeen and changed his entire life. He moved half way around the world. Nothing seemed to stop him from success. He taught me not to fight change.
It’s a new year and there will be changes. May you enlarge the space of your tent, stretch your curtains wide and do not hold back.