It’s here again. Sometimes it pops up unannounced and waltzes right by me with an air of superiority; ‘Yes darrrling it’s me again, you seem surprised!’
Other times I can see it shuffling its way out on the horizon, waving like a friend, eager to gain my attention while I pretend to casually look the other way.
And then, there are moments when it sidles up to me, longingly looking for a warm embrace despite its somewhat rough appearance.
Yes, that’s Change for you. A chameleon it may well pretend to be, a sorry excuse for a friend, a persistent pain in the butt but a constant companion never-the-less it is.
The Universe is Change
“The universe IS change” the great Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius famously wrote, and how true that is.
A new job, a new town, a different routine, a change in our kids behaviour, a change in travel plans, a new baby, an unexpected redundancy, a necessary shift in our diet.
How we react to this change is dependent on many circumstances but it would be fair to say it requires a shift in our thinking and behaviour, stages of adaptation and acceptance, and probably an accompanying dose of trepidation or even downright fear.
Yet change IS ever-present, seasonal and more often than not, a stickler for creating strife, if we let it.
But with change also comes hope, a new start or fresh perspective, a welcome relief from the everyday mundane, perhaps.
Either way it would seem our default response to change is often one of fear, frustration or at the very least, confusion….’Why?’
Change and Strife
I’ve always thought I’m a pretty adaptable human being, up for a challenge, happy to welcome change and all it brings but of course if I’m honest, it’s often a mask for the innate fear of ‘it’ and the potential turmoil, distrubtion or strife it can bring.
“Hang on a second….I’ve just got this LIFE thing nutted out… then you show up…again, bringing all your mess with you! Why can’t you just leave me alone?”
Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus has a wonderful take on this ‘strife’ that some see as a companion to change. He saw strife as the essential underlying force of life.
You could say he saw change and all it brings, as the natural order of things. Life is change- is strife: necessary and purposeful in driving us forward.
It’s our refusal to accept change or our determination to ‘cling’ to the safe and known that creates our personal suffering, according to Heraclitus.
It is precisely Change that makes possible the continued existence of other things.
These ‘other’ things are the building blocks which make up our unique personal experiences: be they good, bad, trying or euphoric.
Where are we going?
History is the world’s tome of change and we look to it, sometimes even study it, to better comprehend not just who we are and where we came from, but perhaps more importantly, where we are going.
So maybe we’d be better off embracing this frenemy Change or be prepared to relinquish our misguided sense of control and give in to the force of Change.
Or do we?
Marcus Aurelius in his ‘Meditations’ accepted fact and fate when he said “The universe is change” but he also saw that “our life is what our thoughts make it”.
We may well have to accept Change into our lives as a constant companion, but it doesn’t mean we can’t shape our experiences with it.
Our perspective, the way we view such changes hold much weight. More than I care to admit at times.
Yes it might be trying, challenging and frustrating to forge a relationship with Change, but it’s a friendship worth pursuing if we are to flourish in life.