Change. Something we all have to face again and again from time to time in our life. As Buddhism teaches, the only thing constant in life is change. The only thing that we can always be certain of is change. Nothing will always stay the same. No matter how much we might want things to remain as they are, no matter how much we might fight against an upcoming change – slowly but surely it is going to happen. People are moving, the earth is rotating. Constantly. Without any attempt to stop. In this rapidly changing universe we simply cannot remain still. We constantly have to learn, to adapt, to evolve, to grow.
In this post, I am mainly to referring to change in your way of thinking and in your relationships with other people. I am by no means talking about dramatic losses or anything similar as I have not experienced this before and therefor will not pretend to be an expert in this subject.
Being afraid of change
I see so many people being afraid of change, desperately holding onto the past, turning a blind eye to everything slightly changing around them. This might be a good, self-protecting strategy for a while, but certainly not forever. Often, these people are surprised and cannot believe where this change came from when something eventually does happen. Then, when everything falls apart, shattered into pieces, they can only ask themselves “How did I let this happen?” This change can be anything from the relationship with your partner, friends or children. Economical and financial changes. But especially the ones that involve other people who are dear to you, whom you love and care for from the bottom of your heart can be challenging. Ignoring that something is happening won´t be the solution in these cases. If, for example, the relationship with a person you love very much is changing, if you feel there is something going on underneath, this should be a warning sign. A warning sign you need to be able to detect and listen to.
Naturally, we are equipped with the capacity to feel, to sense, to know when something new is coming our way. Some people who are more connected to nature and to their senses might be better at this, some might have almost lost their ability to deeply look into their souls. That´s why it´s so important to get in touch with this feeling, to deepen this sixth sense of knowing when things are about to get messy. This can be achieved with a little bit of practice, with a lot of yoga and meditation which connects you to yourself and the universe surrounding you once again.
You are changing
You are constantly changing. I see it if I look at myself. We are constantly learning, evolving and growing. Some faster, some slower, but over the years no one truly remains the exact same person. We are confronted with new experiences every day which we can learn from. Evidently, not every day can be inspiring, great and awesome, but we also learn a great amount about ourselves facing dark times, days when we feels stuck and nothing seems to move.
I want to share now how I deal with change and how I learned to welcome every opportunity life is about to give me. I feel like I have changed a lot in only the last year. Living abroad for quite a while has had a big influence on me. Even more than I thought. When I came home to visit my home town for a week I can see how much I really have changed comparing myself to others. Being brought back in the city I grew up in, my well-known surroundings, streets I´ve been walking through all my life. They feel different and yet they feel the same. I feel different and still strangely the same as well. Still, a lot has changed in my mind.
Especially considering material belongings. I feel that especially our western society has more than enough of nice, expensive things, but still we keep buying and wanting and needing. When I went to university again I saw a lot of young people dressed up, keeping their laptops in their 500€ bags. Expensive coats, boots and more. And not only on a few people. Nearly everyone is wearing the latest fashion. While I am waiting with my tiny, multicolored backpack I bought in the desert for maybe 20€. Which I love so much that I carry it around everywhere I go. Only a year ago I did not notice how much materialism has taken over our society. I was completely unaware of it. It seemed to normal.
I am definitely less materialistic now. Not having a lot, not possessing a lot of nice things could not feel more liberating. Back in my old room with all my things and belongings I now feel so overwhelmed and don´t understand my younger self anymore. Why did buy all these things I don´t even need?
This is a very good example of to what change can lead. Change has no limit you can change your way of thinking back and forth, again and again. While living abroad your mentality changes and as I am for sure not done with travelling, it will continue to change. Maybe not in a dramatical way, maybe not noticeable for everyone right away. But still. Slowly but surely. And it´s time to welcome this constant change.
How to welcome change
I love seeing change in my life. Even if I might not have considered it good in the beginning, every change I experienced turned out to having been the right thing at this point of time. Every change is a new opportunity, every change provides you with new possibilities. I just love looking back and seeing how things always have turned for the better.
The key is not to be afraid of change. Yes, maybe it will lead your life in a different direction – but is that a bad thing? Couldn´t this change lead you to experience a new possibility you have never dreamed of? Whenever I am a bit skeptical, whenever I am afraid of something new, I remind myself: There´s nothing bad about change. It´s just going to be different. Different is not an equivalent to bad. Bad is only your interpretation. If you see the change as bad, well, then it is bad. But if you welcome it with open arms, if you warmly embrace it, it cannot harm you. Even if you are facing a difficult situation, even if this change is related to people you love. It can always have something positive in the end. If only it is how to cope with a difficult situation. This is already something you can learn a lot from.
I´ve decided to welcome every opportunity of change in my life and see it as a chance. As something that will help me to grow and as something that I will benefit from in the future. Because sometimes, you only see the benefits afterwards. This might be a boring job you would like to quit or an uninteresting subject you have to study – afterwards, things sometimes fall into place so easily. Then you look back and see how much you actually learned from something simple and humble.
I´ve engaged in a variety of different jobs in the last years, from waiting tables to working in a call center – all jobs mainly to earn some money while studying. Nothing for forever, nothing I would be able to do all my life. Just meeting ends meet. While engaging in these jobs I was not a big fan of them. In my head I was already thinking about the next position I could apply to which would not be as horrible as I felt my current one. During this time I was desperately begging for change, not wanting to wait tables or take calls any longer. However, when I look back and see how much I learned from these jobs I am grateful I worked there for a while. No matter how much I disliked them, in the end it was a great opportunity to learn. If I can learn from something I find annoying and terrible in the moment, I am sure I can learn from every single difficult situation I am confronted with. Seeing things as a new chance, seeing your life as a learning process has helped me greatly. I will never again take a humble, simple experience not valuable. It´s these simple experiences and changes that you will look back on and say “I am grateful for this experience. It might not have been pretty, but I survived it. Now I can move on.”
Moving on is important. If you feel you are stuck in a certain situation, you cannot move forwards nor backwards, it might be time to move on. You can be stuck pretty much anywhere – in a job, in school, in a relationship with someone you love, with friends. The most important thing here is to remember that you alone have the power to change it all. You just have to want it. You have to welcome the change you are about to experience. You have to see it as a new opportunity, a fresh start, a new beginning. Starting over. Which can be scary at first. But if you start seeing every new chance as a fresh start, you will soon see that things are not that scary anymore. If you learn to embrace change, you will never be devastated if things are not going like you would want them to be. You take the scariness out of it. It´s just the natural process of everything on this earth. We should rather welcome and celebrate it then hide and pretend it is not going to happen if we turn a blind eye.