Change comes whether we’re ready or not. Sometimes she’s a sly gypsy cat who slips in through the backdoor; we may not notice her until she’s dug up the flower bed or rearranged the laundry into her sleeping quarters. Other times, she’s a mountain lion, leaping from the rock and pinning us to the ground with one swift bat of a paw, just as we’ve rounded the bend and made peace with the distance we have yet to go.
I have a complicated relationship with change. I’m both enamored with her ability to catalyze growth and fearful of her tests of faith. Nonetheless, I’ve always counted on her to arrive just on time when I need her the most, despite my resistance.
Ah, the resistance. That dance we do to try and keep everything at a “perfect” status quo; a delicate balance of comfort and facts – holding fast onto the things we think we know are for certain. Many a time in the past few months, I’ve had to give up the known and barter it for the unknown (which has actually turned out to be much more nutritive to my soul).
And so I’ve been thinking, as multiple areas of my life are currently rearranging themselves, about a recipe for change. You know, like instructions and ingredients with the promise of something edible at the end.
Here’s what I’ve got…
Change: A Recipe
1 part denial
3 parts truth
at least 3 reliable, wise friends
phone calls, lots of phone calls for processing
2 week’s worth of imagining outcomes
4 days of setting goals and intentions
45 days of taking action
a minimum of 12 days of rest and rejuvenation
a bounty of self-care practices (this can include ice cream and/or wine consumption, bolting out of town for a brief escape, yoga class, walks in the park and if available, hugging someone you love)
two handfuls of perseverance and grit
an alarm clock
1 part trust
2 parts surrender
at least a few hours of sleep a night, preferably 5-6 (although now is not the time to worry if your cortisol levels are conveniently interfering with your average Z-schedule…just let it go, and carry on. You will survive.)
Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl and stir gradually. Add a sizable pinch of humor, followed by an adult beverage of your choice. As change begins to work its magic on your life, accept the unavoidable emotions as they show up: fear, excitement, anxiety, elation, sadness and doubt. Keep reaching out to friends and loved ones. Notice the plot, the villains, the heroes and the scene, but avoid building narratives in your head about what might, will or could happen. It hasn’t happened yet, and there’s no sure way to predict the future. (This is okay, despite your nervous system’s opinion otherwise.) Keep putting one foot in front of the other, focusing on the actions you can take today. Never give up. Trust that this change will ultimately nourish you, and that the new skills and strengths you are learning in the process will serve a purpose.
Repeat this phrase “There’s got to be a way through this.” Then start believing it.