Well, that last post about change certainly touched a chord with many of you. I had folk writing in to tell me about some of the massive upheavals in their lives – relationships changing form, new jobs, new decisions. And I know that, many of you were asking “OK, so everything is changing… so what do I DO?”.
“The only constant in today’s world is change”
I got a letter from the USA, from one of the authors that I truly admire, Catherine Ponder, reminding me that change is very very natural. Although (apart from the maniac adventurers amongst us) we tend to resist change, it’s part of the growth process. Our inner spiritual being loves change, because it proves that we’re expanding, growing. Change challenges us, causes us to avoid the status quo, throws everything up in the air. I was reminded that when a caterpillar huddles down into its cocoon – everything changes. It’s not like ‘Transformers’ in there – just a little twist and a pull, a nudge and rotate and “voila, a butterfly” – it’s far more basic than that. The caterpillar is reduced at a cellular level to a mush – literally, everything that the caterpillar was has to disappear so the butterfly can emerge in all its shimmering beauty.
Certainly it’s one of my guiding principles to seek out change in my life – if things stay the same for too long, then I’ve become too ‘safe’ and I am not growing and changing as I want to. Change keeps us alive. It doesn’t have to be something huge, by the way. Change what you’re reading. Change your diet. Change your habits. But for some of us, we are going to realise that what we’re currently doing doesn’t serve us any more. That job that we’ve complaining about? Perhaps it’s time to change. Because if we don’t take the initiative to make the change, something else will turn up, orchestrated by the Universe, or our own creative force, to force our hands. Because we need to grow.
So trust the process. Whatever’s happening is going to work out just fine. On my events I often share the story of crossing a rope bridge – you know, those bridges that appear in Indiana Jones movies? They always have slightly frayed ropes, with one or two of the planks missing. They always span an impossibly deep ravine, at the bottom of which (almost invisible to the naked eye) is always a rapidly flowing river, the white flecks of foam revealing dangerously sharp rocks. Or crocodiles. Or both.
We know we need to get to the other side. It might be the promise of untold riches, or the fact that a thousand locals with murderous intent are pursuing us – but we have to take a step across that bridge, from the safety of the rocky cliff onto the first plank, the first step into the dizzy reaches of ‘unsafe’. And it’s not as bad as we thought – so we take another step, clutching on to the ropes that seem frail and rough under our hands, and always trying to remember the one piece of advice that others have given us… “don’t look down”. But of course, we do, and a sense of panic rises in us – just about the time when one of the planks gives way and goes skittering into the river below, and a gust of wind reminds us of just how precarious a situation we’re in. But we’ve started, and we press on. The bank behind us still looks like a safe haven… at least we know it’s solid, and we’re not taking a risk by staying. Perhaps it’s ‘good enough’. Perhaps there are people on the bank pleading with us to stay where it’s safest – not to rock the boat.
Yet something in us keeps us going. That human nature that wants to find a new place, that wants to grow, explore, learn, transform. That certainty that there is always something more, something greater. And although, when we get right into the middle, the bridge is swaying, the wind is blowing and we feel far, far away from anything steady and safe… we realise that we might as well keep going. And bit by bit, step by step, things become steadier and more peaceful. The wind subsides a little, and the river (and the crocodiles) don’t seem quite so daunting. In fact, we realise that it’s actually a very beautiful view. And so, just a few more steps.. three… two… one… and we’re safe on firm ground again.
One of the huge powers that we have as human beings is the power of naming. What we name an experience, so it becomes. So if this is ‘scary’, ‘uncomfortable’, ‘unsettling’ or just plain ‘wrong’ then we’re going to feel bad about it. But if we rename it as ‘exciting’, ‘challenging’, ‘pioneering’, ‘adventurous’ – if we recognise it as a step to our greater good – then our reality shifts too.
Look for people around you to support you – don’t pay too much attention to people who tell you how hard it is – but listen to those that will encourage you, that remind you of just how amazing a being you are, that will acknowledge your gifts and your strength. Sometimes that means choosing not to listen to well meaning family members or close friends. Sometimes that means seeking out someone else to share your thoughts with. Relax.. there will be someone, whether it’s your Yoda figure who only appears after you’ve crashed your X-Wing into the swamp, or Merlin who mysteriously materialises just as the despair of your life as a squire begins to emerge.
Sometimes it’s necessary to remind yourself that, as Shirley Manson from Garbage reminded me ‘The trick is to keep breathing’. But, seriously, keep breathing. Deep, relaxing breaths from the centre of your being will ground you and help you feel safe and calm.
And know, whatever is happening, that it’s all OK. You’ve made it this far, so all the evidence suggests that you’re going to make it to the next step too. Because, in fact, everything is working out perfectly. Even if it doesn’t feel like it – often, really, especially when it doesn’t feel like it. When your life feels like it’s falling apart – often, that’s exactly the moment that it’s really falling together.
As I’ve said before, I am going to be making some changes about where I post stuff – so mosey on over to facebook.com/journeyintopower and ‘Like’ my page over there – or subscribe to the newsletter (and your free e-course) at www.timothyhodgson.com.
Oh, and ‘up and coming’ news.. many of you know that I’ve had a huge interest in the power of story to shape our lives, and the how the characters that we play can determine our destiny. I’m going to be starting a weekly blog series on the hero’s journey, which is going to be a three month journey into myth, adventure, story – with a nod at movies and fairy tales along the way. You’ll be able to recognize yourself… and free yourself from some of the limiting patterns that you’ve created following that story. You wouldn’t want to miss that..
See you soon – until then, enjoy the adventure!
(Photographs: the old Route 66 and San Jose Canyon in the US of A – Copyright Tim Hodgson 2010)