On Change

There is a kind of change we fear most. Sudden, unwanted change— that brings instability, uncertainty and even grief is hard for creatures of habit. Fortunately, we know things about change that can help us weather it, whatever it may be.
Change is inevitable. While we don’t know the future, we can expect there will be less money, less health, fewer friends to rely on, more loss of loved ones, and shorter time for recovery. We also know that there is endless possibility for good fortune, new friends, accomplishments and opportunities to touch the lives of others in a meaningful way. There is good reason to sensibly prepare for hard times, and to seize good times while they last. Joyful experiences are money in the memory bank for sad times. Hard work and familiar routines can push us through depression and grief, and distract us from debilitating thoughts. We have tools, and the daily practice keeps them sharp. While the biggest and most terrifying changes wreak havoc on us, the rituals can remain. Cooking a favorite meal, dressing to go out, remembering someone’s birthday (and of course, making art) are guideposts in an unfamiliar landscape. Don’t worry about change. Be ready to accept it, and adapt your practice to the new normal. Help others when you can, and when it is too hard, ask for help from others.
Change is often incremental. Notice the trends- is business slower this year? Is the family spending less time together? Are there small problems that could become big ones? Take steps to adapt or reverse changes that are not ideal. Remember, change is a wild card. You can lose a relationship, only to find a much better one. A major illness can lead to a lifestyle change that improves long-term health. I have often noted the positive effects on my own life that came out of my father’s severe illness and death during my childhood. Although I would not have chosen this path, it led to some changes that were positive for me and my family. Even when it seems impossible, there are new changes coming that show a new path, and perhaps a new adventure.

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