I haven’t been writing my blogs lately. It was part writer’s block and part rebellion. I needed to break free from the self-imposed obligation that I created…my commitment to publish a blog every Monday, come rain or shine. Writing felt like a struggle and this never-ending New England winter finally got to me. Cabin fever and feeling the need to break free, I was going a little stir crazy. I needed a change in routine. I just needed a change.
I thrive on change. I feel uncomfortable when I get too comfortable. And while I enjoy some structure, it can’t be too rigid. I need change like a junkie needs a fix. “Hi, my name is Lisa and I’m a changeaholic.” Wow, it feels good to get that off my chest, but is it a bad thing? And when I’m not able to change, for whatever reason, I stress out. It’s like my intuition and my heart are telling me something and I’m not listening. Or I can hear it, but I don’t follow through. I don’t take the appropriate actions necessary to meet change head on.
I started thinking about change. It means to transfer or transform. Monetarily, it refers to coins or low currency: small change, spare change, loose change. Sometimes things strike me curious…like why would coins be called change? So I asked google. An “exchange” is the equal and reciprocal giving and receiving of goods or services, and coins are received “in change” for an overpayment. That makes sense. So change is a token of what’s leftover after a transaction. It represents that a change has occurred. Something happened! I’m sure we all have at least a handful of coins somewhere at home, perhaps in a jar or some container. When you look at your jar of change, do you see remnants of events that have taken place? It’s a reminder that change is always happening.
There are internal changes and external changes. Most internal changes happen naturally, automatically. Even on a daily basis, just your heart beating is a constant change, as well as all of the other physiological changes happening in your body at any given moment. Besides the basic physical changes, there’s a constant cycle of emotions and thoughts that go along with those throughout the day.
With these constant internal changes, sometimes it’s enough just to maintain our equilibrium, as we’re always in a state of homeostasis. We create daily practices and routines…whether it’s our morning coffee, making sure we drink plenty of water or eat our fiber, a walk or a workout, showering, brushing our teeth, whatever it is that makes us feel “normal”. These are things we do to start our day, and if we somehow skipped or missed them, we just wouldn’t feel like ourselves. So we don’t want anything to rock the boat (cue the external changes).
Time marches on. External changes are catalysts for internal changes, and while we can’t stop them, we at least want to control them. External changes can be environmental, technological, cultural, political and economic, to name a few. All of these are happening at exponentially faster rates of change and it’s not humanly possible to keep up with them, and that causes stress and anxiety. We can’t always control our environment, but we can learn to monitor and adjust internally.
Any new stimuli creates anxiety and stress because we’ve become so habituated to our situations; we are creatures of habit. Even the slightest change can wreak havoc (or feel like it) because our bodies are not used to processing new information. Any change will sound an alarm, whether it’s good or bad: something needs to be dealt with. Our brains get lazy, and change is like going to a mental gym. But learning to roll with the punches is yoga for the brain…it gives strength and flexibility.
While there is something to consistency and discipline, when you’re feeling blocked, it’s healthy to stop and revisit your commitments. What is your goal or purpose? And ask if you are still aligned with your original intent. Sometimes it’s good to take a break and come back refreshed.
I like to make major changes, like moving across the country or changing careers. For me anyway, change helps to reveal my authentic self…it breaks me down to the lowest common denominator. Just like the metamorphosis of a caterpillar: it goes into its cocoon, dissolves to goop, then reconstructs itself and emerges as a butterfly. And in the process of making changes in my life, I am transforming and transmuting myself into a newer (and hopefully) more authentic version of myself.
Challenge for the week: Make a change!
Just like you can’t go to the gym and expect to lift 50 lbs right off the bat (well, I can’t, anyway!), you need to build it up. Start with small weights, start with small changes. Think of something you do habitually and routinely, and then switch it up: take a different route to work, drink your coffee out of a different mug, try using your opposite hand, sit in a different seat, go outside your comfort zone. Be creative. Try something new…and go into it with an open mind.
The more you get used to small changes, the better equipped you will be when unexpected big changes happen.
Be open to change! Be present and take notice – because everything is always changing!
Have a great week! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.