How To Navigate Through Significant Change

stepping out by Tanushree Vaidya

While we may prefer that our experience of the world shifts smoothly from one phase to another, in reality we often have to deal with a confusing, overwhelming and uncomfortable state of mind and being, before things start feeling more stable.  Further, as we choose a more authentic way of being, things around us also start changing(often dramatically).  Your work, your residence, your relationships – all of them are affected as whatever is no longer in resonance with your new vibe will fall away and newer people and circumstances more in tune with you will enter your life. All these transitions can be overwhelming.

The following tips may help:

1.  Pay Attention To Who You Are Becoming

We tend to pay attention to what is going on outside and this can make it seem like we are dealing with far more than we can keep track of.  Notice instead which aspects of yourself are maturing, diminishing or developing.  For example, do you find that you are gradually growing less dependent on outside validation?  Or your need for frenetic activity has diminished?  Perhaps you see that you are now more accepting and forgiving of others mistakes.  If you examine such things, it may be possible to pin point key changes in your self that are linked to multiple expressions in your experience.  So the next time you feel “too much is going on”, go back to focusing on this key change and assimilate it consciously.   This can  help you feel more capable of dealing with whats going on.

2.  Create A Sense Of Spaciousness

When things speed up, its time to slow down.  If required, use tools such as Stephen Covey’s ‘Urgent-Important Matrix’.  Keep in the mind the saying, if you don’t have the time to meditate for twenty minutes, then meditate for forty minutes.  Even if you do not sit down for a formal meditation session, creating gaps of non-doing are most useful to process things. Being in nature is particularly helpful and something as simple as watching the clouds or the rain for a few minutes may allow your system to adjust and absorb far more than any obsessive analysis can.

3.  Don’t Jump Into ‘Fixing It’

Our modern day tendency is to look for immediate, quick-fix solutions.  Whereas some things simply require an allowance of the natural order of things.  No amount of rushing is going to turn a seed into a naturally flowering tree before its due time. If you feel too restless, start with a few minutes of allowance: Tell yourself, “Just for the next ten minutes, I choose patience and peace.  Gradually increase this period in increments until you develop the ability to stay with what earlier troubled you.

4. Respond, Don’t React

As one slows down internally, one learns not to react in panic.  Because we are no longer in a tearing hurry to end the discomfort, we are able to respond mindfully.  Victor Frankl famously said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.  Choose in a way that supports your return to your true nature, instead of opting for just short term relief.

5. Don’t Expect The Past To Disappear Overnight

Regardless of any conscious changes one may have made, our past actions and choices have their consequences.  Also, all of us tend to be Blinded By Familiarity.  So it may take those around you a little while to see that you have changed.  The momentum of past actions and perceptions may continue to show up for a while.  If you find a ghost from the past turning up to haunt you, or an old pattern recurring again, don’t be disheartened.  Address it with the knowing that this momentum will taper down and disappear entirely, depending upon how calmly and mindfully you respond.  Resisting it or pretending it away will not help.  We can use the recurrence of old challenges to strengthen our resolve and ability to respond differently thereby also building our own confidence in new ways of being.

6.  Align The Outer World Pro-Actively

Just as a great deal of inner work is usually required to bring us to a point where we are singing our own song, outer actions also need to be aligned to this newer, truer you.  Whether it is a change of vocation, city, relationship status or anything else, practical steps need to be taken.  This may be in terms of an exit strategy, seeking a new job, revising old agreements and contracts, etc.  Start implementing these proactively.   You may feel unhappy or ‘not ready’ for some of these auxiliary changes, in which case, actively process your resistance to the same. Procrastinating this may lead to sudden upheavals, for what is no longer in resonance is bound to shift.

7. Acknowledge Grief

Grief is not only consequent to the death of a person.  It can also show up as we realise that a certain phase, project, relationship, involvement, hopes, dreams, aspirations or even aspects of ourselves have come to their end.  Feeling their loss or missing them (even if the dissolution be by conscious choice or an understanding of its inevitability) is likely and should be duly honoured.  Don’t impose unrealistic expectations of detachment or equanimity upon yourself.  Disentangle yourself gently and surely, but at your own pace.

8.  Don’t Throw The Baby Out With The Bath Water

In the course of our self discovery,  we may find some of our past now unpalatable. In choosing differently, be discerning.  For example, don’t dismiss your entire contribution to a project, if you found that you had compromised there in some way. Or look back at a friendship you may have outgrown and judge your involvement there.  Whatever has happened, however long the detour you took, there will be good and useful parts in there.  There is no need to judge yourself or anyone else.  Be kind and forgiving of your history.  The idea is not to jump from identification with a particular trait to rejection/judgement of it, but to see and act with more balance and clarity now.

9. Become Comfortable With Uncertainty

As I wrote in 9 Clearing Statements to Address the Fear of Uncertainty, “[…] any transformation takes us through a period of flux, where things are emergent.  Much as we would like to, we can rarely bypass the turbulence and uncertainty of such times.  The said article provides help for fortifying our ability to get through such times.

10. Celebrate The Shifts

Last but not the least, make it a point to give yourself a pat on the back, even if you make only baby steps in your progress.  Any movement towards a more easeful, authentic and integrous way of being is a step in the right direction. Yes, you may have more inner work to do, but give yourself credit for all the effort you have already put in and the results as they are showing up. The ones who get into a disheartened loop of “Its pointless, there is no end to this.  I am fed up of working on myself.” are usually those who forget to show appreciation and compassion to themselves.

Wishing you a smooth movement towards experiencing your true self!
If you find any of this useful, please share with anyone else who may benefit.  Thank you.

Photo Credit:  Tanushree Vaidya Instagram: Photohappyme
(All rights reserved)

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20 thoughts on “How To Navigate Through Significant Change

  1. Thanks for this, I found a lot of useful things here. Particularly: 3. Don’t Jump Into ‘Fixing It’, and the idea that I can just tell myself: ‘Just for the next ten minutes, I choose patience and peace.’ Also 4. Respond, Don’t React, all of that and the wonderful quote: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” I have a choice… also 9. Become Comfortable With Uncertainty – all of it. I’m very greatful (all kinds of things going on here at the moment), it’s all very real and practical. Thank you…

  2. Thank you Tiramit! I am so happy to hear that you found the post useful… it provides encouragement to keep putting in the time and effort such long articles require.

    Wishing you grace and ease through all that you are going through…

    Warmly,

    Sangeeta

  3. Dear sangeeta, I always wished that I should be in your close circles.reading your write ups,I feel ,i am in.I get the most essential, precious gifts from you.I don’t know how to thank u. Love and light…Madhu

  4. These are empowering insights Sangeeta. I love how you integrate inner work and mindfulness into the 10 tips. So many of us look at the external environment that we are faced with and forget to look inwards to guide us through. Thank you!

  5. Sangeeta, all of these 10 struck a chord with me. The past 2-3 years have been full of major life changes for me and one thing I can say is that I’m learning how to both go with the flow and take action. Kind of like steering the raft going through the rapids 🙂 Thankfully we are all in this together! Love you and your writing!

    1. Yes, we are all in it together. Even though we sometimes lose track of that as ‘we steer the raft through the rapids’ 🙂

      Appreciate your visit and comment Sara.

      Love and light

  6. So beautifully written and how wisely experienced. Thank you for sharing…indeed this is the journey towards transformation…the article is filled wit love and support…amazing..thankyou

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