Ahh Spring, the smell of fresh cut grass, the bursting yellow of daffodils and stinging horizontal banshee hailstone winds. This is a strange time of year all right. The changing of seasons of brings with it the opportunity to look at ourselves and see how we too are changing. After all, the only thing that is constant in life is change. Nothing remains the same and all is transformed, “this too shall pass” is a handy motto to live our lives by.
Spring is a particularly transformative season. Just as life around us is starting to reemerge, we too can often feel as though we are reemerging from our winter hibernation. This is, of course, nonsense. We ascribe certain days or times as good times to start something new, whether that is Mondays or New Year’s Day or next week. We are led to believe that life is linear, that there is an inexorable marching of time from when we are born until when we die. It is, according to quantum physics, much more complicated and wonderful than that although that is a post for another day. Change is the topic for today.
Change happens in every moment of our lives. Right now in your body millions of cells are dying and new ones are emerging. The skin cells that you can see on the surface are already dead, this is why they flake off as dust. You are, physically, a completely different person to who you were seven years ago. Every single one of your cells have changed. Change, death and rebirth are natural processes of life. There cannot be life without death. However, for many of us change and be scary. Change reminds us on a subconscious level that we are approaching death, which could explain why many people try to keep their lives as regular as possible. Same TV shows, same holidays, same friends, same conversations. Yet change is an incredible opportunity to grow; to grow emotionally,mentally and spiritually.
However, change can be painful and it is easy to understand that this can be a reason people fear it. Some of our most transformative moments can come during our most challenging times. This could be the death of a loved one, the break-up of a relationship, failing during sport, acknowledging an addiction or anything that is personally challenging. Big changes can mean the breakdown of our old sense of self, our concepts of the world may no longer fit with our reality and it can place huge stress on our carefully constructed views of “how things work”. Sometimes during these moments we can feel our sense of Self shatter like glass. It can hurt even more to try and pick up the pieces as we may cut our Selves on the sharp edges in this raw state. But that’s OK. It is alright for things to hurt sometimes. We can rebuild this image in to an even better one if we are prepared to be brave enough and admit we want to be different, that we want to change.
I remember when I was young I had a Lego castle. To make it better sometimes I had to only add a couple of little bits to make it more brilliant (usually more dragons to be honest) but sometimes I had to completely dismantle it and start again. Sometimes there was pain too. Unless you have experienced it yourself, I am unable to convey the blindingly annoying agony that comes from standing barefoot on a piece of Lego. This applies to us too, sometimes we only need to change a little bit, sometimes we need a complete overhaul.
As this can sometimes be a big, even daunting, process at time, it may be necessary to see a therapist or counselor. For many years there has been a bit of stigma around this which I don’t really understand. If my washing machine was broken I don’t possess the skills to fix it so I would find someone who did and ask them to help me. If my mind is, for want of a better word, broken then surely it is pretty obvious to get someone to help me with that too? So if you have been thinking that you would like to talk to someone about an issue, maybe a big one, maybe a small one, just do it. Don’t fear change, embrace it as a natural part of life.
An exercise you can try right now. Find a blank wall somewhere quiet. On this wall project a picture of your life one year from now (or week, or day, whichever appeals to you most) as you want it to be. Not how you expect it to be, how you want it to be. It is like going to watch the movie of your life except now you get to write the script. Looking at this picture in full Techincolor, what three things would you need to change in order for that to happen? Learn to drive? Move country? Break up with your partner? Tell that person no? Stop eating cakes? Write down these three things, don’t judge them, put them down or censor yourself. Now, next to these write down when they will be done by and do it. If you want your life to move in a certain direction, you have to embrace the change that will bring that about.
A friend of mine once asked me if I would have a bath in the same water I bathed in ten years ago. Of course not! Then why would you reuse energy and patterns of belief that you held ten years ago if you want to grow and transform? Spring is springing. Cast off the winter shackles and embrace the budding new season, the new life, the new you. Be thankful for the challenging moments, for the painful moments and choose to see them as the opportunities they are as you use them to build the person you always wanted to be.