Isn’t that the most reliable constant we have in our lives? Sometimeschange catches us all at once and we stop and wonder, “How did this all happen so quickly?” Other changes we see coming, and we may dread it or embrace it…that’s the choice we make. When we’re able to see it coming, we can try and prepare for it, do as much as we can to make ourselves ready, but it’s not always enough, because we cannot predict the future. And change is the future.
Based on many factors – none of which could have been foreseen, and some which were – my world is about to change.
One basic principle I’ve learned as both a human, and as a personal coach to others is:
Everything is neutral.
It isn’t until we place a conscious value on something – be it an event, an act, a person, a place, a memory – that it gains weight in our minds. Thesevalues are steeped in our perceptions, which in turn are formed from decades of living. We bring to bear the very heft of our personal history in every judgment we make.
To simplify this concept, let’s look at a thunderstorm.
A storm is a naturally occurring event that stems from meteorological conditions in our immediate surroundings. When I was a child, I was terrified of storms, to the point of passing out when a storm reached its crescendo. I borrowed this fear from my mother, who had likewise been terrified of them. On the other hand, her parents had been fascinated by weather, and one of my earliest memories is of my grandfather’s weather station he had set up in his backyard. And their house was never without a barometer on the wall. So how did my mother become so afraid of them? What factors made her that way, what beliefs did she hold that caused her to fear for her life in spite of being indoors and protected?
For many years, I carried that fear of storms around inside of me, often having vivid if violent dreams involving storms. Once I fled my parents house – and my mother’s influence – I began to wonder about that undefined fear. So intrigued, I began to dissect the reasons for my fears, and found, once deconstructed, that it wasn’t my fear inherently, but fear borrowed from someone I was charged with trusting to direct me in such matters. So were storms “bad,” as I had labeled them? No. Sometimes they were destructive, but without a will of its own, a storm is a merely a coming together of external factors that create chaotic reactions. Once that realization had been made in my mind, the value I’d placed on all storms changed, and I began to see them as exactly what they were: meteorological events. They weren’t “after me,” or out to do me harm (that is, of course, if I respected their ability to cause me harm if I acted foolishly or without thinking). But it wasn’t personal. That’s what storms do. They rage and bluster, and then they move on. Once the value I had assigned them had been removed, I was able to view storms in a whole new way, and I grew constantly in awe of their might and power, but I never again feared them.
From that lesson, I learned the truth of placing values on things that are inherently neutral. A car accident is neutral, but when property is damaged and people are injured or killed, we call them “bad” or “horrific” or “devastating.” The accident itself was unplanned and it wasn’t, in most cases, personal, but because it happened to us or someone we know (or knew), we assign value to it.
When I first became of aware of the imminent changes in my life, I scrambled to determine whether it was “good” change or “bad” change. Then – because I found myself falling back on flawed thinking out of habit – I stopped and looked at it again. The events leading up to this change wereneither good nor bad, and so the resulting changes wrought by those events was likewise neutral. Once I remembered that, accommodating change became immediately easier.
So…my life is changing, set into motion by choices made earlier in the year. They are not unexpected changes, nor are they good or bad. They just are. And so I prepare as best I can for them, knowing that as long as I allow them to remain neutral, I cannot fear them and they cannot gain power over me.
It’s a nice synchronicity that these changes will occur immediately in the new year, a year that promises to bring joy and adventure to our lives.
And we embrace it.