It’s the first day of spring. The clocks have changed, the cherry blossom is blooming and the trees are greener. Even the sun is making more of an appearance. What a change from a couple of weeks ago when it felt like we were in the depths of winter and everything seemed to be shrouded in a cloak of grey.
For me, spring always brings with it a sense of excitement. A time for change and renewal. Maybe it’s because my birthday is in April but I think it’s more than that. As nature springs up around us, seemingly overnight, the energy shifts and it feels like time to make changes. Time to spring clean, throw out what no longer serves us and welcome in the new.
I had to smile the other day. A few weeks ago our local supermarket closed for 8 days for refurbishment. It has now reopened and quite a few things have changed – the shelves are no longer stacked in the same way, we have new aisles, a different car parking system and new goods are being stocked. It’s not the same. And people aren’t happy – why have they changed it? What was wrong with it before?
We don’t like change. But everything changes, nothing stays the same and in fact, this is the only certainty in life, isn’t it? Everything oscillates on a sinusoidal curve – sunrise to sunset, the waxing and waning moon our physiological rhythms – blood sugar, appetite, body temperature, our sleep wake/cycle, the life cycle of conception to birth and death.
But although change is an inevitability and we know that, we still resist it. Many of the problems I see in my clinic are caused by people living their lives in a relentlessly linear fashion – go go go with no let up. When they stop, they collapse. I also see people who keep forcing themselves to keep doing the same thing, desperately trying to make it work – whether it’s staying in relationships that are beyond repair or careers that no longer nourish them – and the result is that they become ill and/or stop sleeping (and end up at my clinic). I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past.
Change can be frightening. Especially when we don’t know what lies on the other side. But there are ways of navigating uncertainty and change. I’ve learnt a few tricks along the way both from the wonderful people I work with and by falling over, getting back up again and finding a different way.
Here are a few things I’ve learnt along the way that have helped me to embrace change in a way that is less fearful, more resourceful and peaceful :
- Slow down and listen – often the (sometimes unconscious) response to change is ‘How will I survive this?’ Adrenaline kicks in and we speed up. We find ourselves going faster, doing more rather than becoming still and listening? What is your body telling you to do? What choices are you being guided to make?
- Stability anchors – know who and what is supporting you in times of change and draw on those stability anchors whether it’s talking to your best friend, journaling or your meditation practice. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
- Don’t neglect your physical health – when things are in turmoil it’s easy to neglect ourselves – stop eating healthily and exercising, over relying on alcohol and caffeine. Keep making powerful choices – ones that will keep you strong and resilient to deal with whatever is coming your way.
- Cultivate curiosity – When faced with uncertainty, we can find ourselves holding on tightly, thinking ‘I hope x, y or z happens’. As soon as we try to control things we become constricted and rigid. A subtle change of language ‘I wonder if x, y or z will happen’ can dissolve this rigidity, helping us to let go and stay open to possibilities.
- Go deep and ask for help – In my darkest moments I’ve learnt (eventually) to stop the busyness, seek out quiet and ask for help. Who am I asking for help? That depends on your beliefs – maybe it’s God or Allah, or your Higher Self or just your inner knowing. But never underestimate the power of going within and asking for help. The answers do eventually come if we remain open, receptive and curious.
- 6. Practice gratitude – Before you go to bed at night, just cast your mind over your day and give thanks for at least one good thing that’s happened in your day. No matter how small. Gratitude and fear simply cannot exist in the same space.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this and have missed any of my previous musings, you can find them on www.drnerinamuses.com.
Yours in amazing health and energy.