What causes change in our lives? What elemental energy takes our settled, comfortable, secure world and hurls it across our lives like a whirlwind destroying everything in our path? Why is it that so often, when everything seems to be working out perfectly, that everything that we know suddenly seems to disintegrate like a game of Jenga?
Well, one reason, of course, is that we choose it. We’re actually creatures that are programmed to grow. We don’t sit well on the broad planes of life, where everything is comfortable and nothing is a challenge. It’s built deep into us, encoded into our DNA, to grow, to develop, to progress.
In some of the mythic work that I do, I talk about the appearance of the Destroyer in our lives. It’s the Destroyer that takes everything that we build and shakes it down, creating new opportunities. It’s the Destroyer that fuels the mid life crisis, or the decision to suddenly change careers. It’s the Destroyer that takes hold of our neat and tidy lives and hurls them into chaos. It’s not really about the destruction – it’s about the need to grow, to pioneer, to become more than we are currently experiencing – and to do that we need space. Now, sometimes, this process is completely transparent. I took a very clear decision to leave my successful career in computing and step into the unknown – to do something that I hadn’t experienced before. Another friend of mine is taking a very clear decision to move from her high level teaching role to supporting children with troubled backgrounds. Always we find the Destroyer balanced in our lives with the Creator element making sense and rebuilding where we have torn down.
Oftentimes, we consciously decide that we need to make a change. We carefully weigh up the options and step forward into a new world and into new opportunity – or in some cases we take a spur of the moment decision and hurl ourselves freely into a new world. But in both of those cases, we’re in control. We decide.
Other times, the Universe seems to decide for us. It may be illness, or unexpected financial difficulty. It might be a relationship that suddenly, inexplicably, changes shape – a marriage that disintegrates, a friendship that goes wrong, a love affair that fizzles out leaving sadness and a sense of emptiness.
And change, of course, is many times welcomed and hoped for – the delirious chaos of a new and passionate romance, the unexpected freedom of a lottery win, the arrival of a long awaited new addition to the family, the surprise promotion, or simply the blossoming of years of hard work finally bearing fruit in your life. Yet even this welcome change is not without its moments of insecurity – as if the thing that has been longed for for so long brings with it its own sense of discomfort and trauma – the moments when the sense of a new love affair triggers fears of loss of freedom – or the moments when the responsibility of our new found wealth leaves us wondering if we’d be better off how we were – or those moments treading the boards in the middle of the night with a wailing infant in our arms.
“Going into the unknown is invariably frightening, but we learn what is significantly new only through adventures.” – M. Scott Peck
On the surface these things may either be seen as welcome or unpleasant, as joyful or painful change – and yet each one of them hides the simple truth that each one of them is precipitated by a simple call deep within our beings, stronger even than the desire to survive… the desire to evolve. Genetically programmed inside us, hard coded into our DNA, is the biological, emotional and spiritual imperative to grow. To become more than we are. To change our lives. To step into more than we currently are, to become closer to that image that lies deep within us. In the same way that an acorn is genetically programmed to grow into an oak tree – in the same way that deep within every single caterpillar is the evolutionary structure that causes it to die and become a butterfly – the same process lies at the heart of every human being – to grow, to change, to learn, to develop – to evolve.
I do believe that humanity is evolving. I think it’s happening, underground, as we change our social expectations – it seems to me that – despite appearances – that the individual being is becoming more loving, more accepting, more compassionate, more self aware. Our potential for stepping into Love is finding more and more outlets,exposing cruelty and harshness, violence and unforgiveness to the light of Love and showing it up for what it is – an opportunity for healing. I think it’s happening at a deeply spiritual level as we begin to understand how our interrelatedness actually works – as we explore our hidden world and discover the truth of intuition and interconnectedness, the power of the Collective Mind.
“I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is.” (Jill Bolte Taylor)
We’re discovering that we are more powerful together than we ever were apart. We’re discovering the power of joint effort and finding that individually we are powerful – yet when we explore the power unleashed together, we are unstoppable.
But what does that mean for us individually? Learn to welcome change – because whether it is welcome of unexpected, whether it initially brings joy or brings a sense of loss and pain, when we yield to it and allow it to change us deep within – it’s in those moments that we grow, that we learn more of who we are. It is in those moments – and never in the times of ease and comfort – that we grow and develop, that we discover what we are capable of – and where we demonstrate the truth about what it is to be truly, incredibly, wonderfully, powerfully human.
Where are you changing today?
PS a special request…. I’d really like to hear from you and get some thoughts and opinions to help me shape my new products. I have a new course that’s nearly ready to roll called ‘Mastering Change’. I’d like to hear from YOU. What challenges are you facing around change in your life? What help would you like? What processes would make your life work better? What do you need to hear… or understand… post your replies, your thoughts, your questions below!
(Photograph: regrowth on Mt Kilauea, an extinct volcano on Big Island, Hawai’i – Copyright Tim Hodgson 2010)