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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

5 Steps for Embracing Change

If you read my last post, "An Interview, Superwoman and Life Changes" you know that my life will be going through some major changes in the next 6 months. (Hence my only posting once a week now on Thursdays until September). While my immediate reaction to my husband living 5 hours away all week was not the most happy (understatement of the year) ;-) -- within 2 days of processing I was able to heal and let go go of all of the negative "what ifs" and embrace the positives of the situation. I have to admit it is very convenient that I am constantly learning about consciousness, healing and challenges in life. When something comes up in my own life it seems I attract all the resources in which to learn. I will start with a post by a good friend Camille Strate on "The Art of Change", talk about my own experiences this last week and give my 5 steps for Embracing Change. Whether it be moving, divorce, job change, health or any other change that comes up that might have your gut reaction saying "oh no" there are ways to not only cope but embrace change and look forward to the journey and life lessons it will bring.

Firstly the lovely Camille's article on "The Art of Change"

Why in the world do we resist change so hard? Why is it that the moment we're faced with change we get so pessimistic? Why do we think that change will always equal disaster? It's such an odd thing to me that we do this (and believe me, I'm just as guilty sometimes!). When faced with any kind of change, whether it be a new landlord or a new job or the first wrinkle on your face, we go into a tizzy and start hyper-ventilating like we're about to be strung up on a rack. It's so....silly?

I got to thinking about this the other day when I was told that the property I rent is on the market. Apparently, the current owners have decided they'd rather take a loss than hold on to their many properties, in lieu of some other new adventure. My breathing immediately became shallow. I could feel the sweat on my hands and that icky tickle in my belly. OH NO! WHAT NOW? My first and instant response was that this could NOT be good. Why? Why did I immediately go there? Why did I automatically assume that a new land owner would make my life difficult? How could I know this? Why didn't I, instead, think to myself, "well, this could be a grand adventure. This could be just what the doctor ordered. This could be terrific!" Nope. Went in the opposite direction of those thoughts and I did it in a blink. SHEESH!

After I regained my balance, I got to thinking about the way I USED TO look at change. When I was a kid and I found out something new was about to happen, I'd get all excited. I would have a million 'super-cool' possibilities run through my little head, like I'd just found a magic lamp and the genie was about to pop out and grant wishes. I was the most optimistic little Being you'd ever meet. So what happened? How did I go from that creature to this one? How did I lose that optimistic perception of the world? When did I decide that change meant 'BAD'?

As I sat and pondered these things, it suddenly occurred to me that these thoughts of doom and gloom were a result of old tapes being played by someone else. Fact is, my whole life has been pretty charmed and no matter what kind of changes I've ever faced, I have ALWAYS ended up in a better place. Whether it meant moving to a new home or a new city or a new boyfriend (LOL!), it was always BETTER than before the change occurred. So where did this come from? Perhaps there's some residual contamination from those around me who ARE the kind of people who think change is death. Or maybe it's just some weird thing that happens after a certain age. Once we are faced with our own mortality, do we automatically see all change as a sign that death is moving closer? If this is the case, why are we so afraid of death? We all know that sooner or later we're going to leave these shells we call bodies and move on to some other realm of Being. So what's all the fuss about?

I have decided that I'm going to adopt the perspective of a 10 year old. I'm going to look at any change that's offered as a means to an adventure. I'm going to look at the possibilities as opportunities for growth and expansion. I'm going to embrace change, regardless of the form it takes. I'm going to live like all that could ever come to me is GOOD. Because the moment I bring my thoughts to this place, every single thing in my world looks like a brand new gift. It's all wrapped in pretty paper with a bow on top, and I have no idea what's inside. But you can bet I'm excited about seeing what it is! Perhaps if we all embraced change this way, we'd have fewer people on Xanax and more people living in enthusiastic anticipation. Perhaps, regardless of our 'age' or station, we could finally say YES to Life. After all, the only moment we ever have is this one. Why not make the most of it?


Camille's words and story are close to my heart because I had a similar reaction 2 weeks ago when Ray and I decided it was the smartest decision for our family for him to take the job 5 hours away. My mind said, "What, you mean I am going to have even LESS time than I already have?" "But he is my best friend and we're so close and we barely get time together as it is -- I will only see him 2 days a week?" "I will be a single mom 5 days a week and have to cut back on work?" "How will this affect our relationship?" "My children will miss their daddy". My "Pain body" (see "Thoughts Affect Your Body" for a description of Tolle's "pain body") was in full control as was my ego and my level head and consciousness just showed itself in glimpses. The good thing was I KNEW it would get better and that anything I face now is temporary, life "is as it should be" and I needed time and quiet to process my emotions for peace to shine through.

Tolle in "A New Earth" talks about the phrase "This too, shall pass". Tolle states, "These words have a deeper purpose: to make you aware of the fleetingness of every situation, which is due to the transience of all forms -- good or bad." "When you become aware of the transience of all forms, your attachment to them lessens, and you dis-identify from them to some extent." He later says..."Once you see and accept the transience of all things and the inevitability of change, you can enjoy the pleasures of the world while they last without the fear of loss or anxiety about the future." Mr. Tolle also gave a perfect analogy on the webinar he and Oprah are doing together this past Monday. He compared life to a tapestry (Just like Carol King does here) and change is a rip in that tapestry. You can either concentrate on that rip and feel like part of you is gone or you can look for the light that shines through the hole. I have talked a lot about "A New Earth" and the webinar and it seems like every week this book helps me in new ways. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The last 2 weeks I have gone through many stages and I now am excited about what the next months will hold. I will be spending even more time with my children. It used to be when Ray got home at 7PM I was out the door for a walk by myself or with a friend... Now I will have to mix it up and figure out another time for me to walk, exercise and get alone and friend time. This job will bring HUGE financial relief which of course is wonderful. By only posting once a week on this blog and not hanging out with Ray at night, I will be able to put more attention into my invention being manufactured in a timely manner and on mediation and education. Yes, there will be adjustments and I am not saying it will be a cake walk (this post had me looking that term up on Wikipedia). I know I will have to "mix up my old routines a bit", my relationship with Ray will enter a new stage of growth, I will have an awesome summer with my kids by our pool and taking them to the various lessons they take at the neighborhood parks and it will allow for me to spend more time by myself at night to pursue reading, meditation and to learn more about myself. I look forward and embrace the life lessons that lie ahead.


1) Expect a Gut Reaction and Emotions

It is most people’s natural reaction to resist change. Expect some emotions – do not criticize yourself for whatever your immediate reaction is. Whether it is feeling angry, sad, crying laughing, negativity… recognize these feelings for what they are – JUST the beginning of the change. Change even if it is a “good” means your old way of being is no longer – allow yourself time to process this and pay attention to the emotions it brings out in you. You can learn from this experience of being aware of your emotions.

2) Give Yourself Time to Adjust

Know that change takes time to adjust to. Don’t say “NO – it can’t change” – that just won’t get you anywhere… accept it and try and be flexible and go with it. Reasons for the change and the circumstances will play out in time… give it time to work itself out and do not feel you have to accept everything overnight. Remember that "this too shall pass" and the life lessons will be displayed in time.

3) Give What is Staying the Same Attention as Well

If the change is big -- then keep up some familiar things. Remind yourself there may be one or two aspects of your life that are changing but not EVERYTHING will change. Give gratitude for what is constant and what you love…. Reassure yourself that not everything will change just because some things have. I know this change still has me staying in our home (which I love and consider my dream home), I still have my close friends and mother that will offer me support if I really need it..... embracing these constants somehow makes it easier to deal with what is changing.

4) Get Support

Do not try to bottle up your feelings to yourself. Seek support from friends, family or loved ones – talk it out – laugh, get a hug, a calm ear and perspective and some reassurance. I am not one who usually asks for help but I know if not for my close friends (thank you so much Mom, Angela, Julie and Camille) -- this adjustment would be MUCH harder to get through.

5) Find the Good in it and Embrace It

Some changes are harder to find good in – illness, death, or financial loss and others can feel like the end of the world. Sometimes you have to look very hard to find the blessing in such changes, but there always is one. Every change brings with it life lessons and allows us to grow wiser and stronger and learn to make better decisions. Change gives you a new set of circumstances and puts you further along your life path.

I am very grateful to be entering this new chapter in my life and for the opportunity being offered to Ray. I am thankful for the support system I have and for my children being old enough to understand they will still be seeing daddy on the weekends and that this is temporary. I am ecstatic that I get to keep on blogging (even though it will be less) and that in September when Christina starts school I will be able to have more time than I have had in the last 9 years! I am appreciative that I get to spend my last full time at-home mom time concentrating on my wonderful children and showing them just how important they are to me. I am thankful that Ray will come home every weekend and that time with him will seem even more precious. Thank you everyone for the supportive emails I have received -- they mean more than I could ever say.

I am enjoying coaching and have seen such good results with my clients. I look forward to unveiling all the testimonials in the fall with the launch of jennymannion.com. I am available for the free 1/2 hour consultation and as always I recommend reading my ebook and doing the worksheets if you have some healing you feel needs to be addressed (whether it be emotional of physical). I am always reachable at jennymannion@yahoo.com.

Thank you Camille for the use of your post.... here is the information on how to reach Camille: Camille Olivia Strate is an author and coach who takes great pleasure in helping folks 'remember' who they are. Camille has many other wonderful articles. Her latest book, "Whispers" is now available in eBook format. Visit her personal site at www.joyzachoice.com


OliviaZen said...

Dear, Lovely Jenny~
This is BEAUTIFUL! Thank you for sharing my piece, for sharing your Self, and for all your wonderfully helpful guidance. No one walks alone in this world. And your presence in mine is one of my most treasured gifts. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Camille, It was wonderful that I could include your piece and it truly made me reflect on how similar we are in so many ways. I value your friendship tremendously and know we will help each other achieve even more greatness! Thank you for all your help and for your beautiful comment! Love, Jenny

Liara Covert said...

Some people believe the only predictable things in life are change and death (some people would add taxes).

Jenny Mannion said...

Very wise Liara.... and I am very grateful I can finally embrace change. I am always happy when you stop by and comment. THANK YOU! Gratefully, Jenny

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