Age 30, I am in my second marriage, third career, and fifth country of residence. I still crave and welcome change in my life. I gravitate toward people with wide and varied life experiences.
Anyone who has ever read Who Moved My Cheese? or a similar text will know the importance of adapting to change -- especially change created against our will. This includes careers, relationships, living circumstances and, the older we get, even just "the times." These changes are inevitable whether or not we like we like them.
I would like to focus on change that we generate. Driving positive change in our lives. Taking risks. Shaking things up. Believe it or not, change is our biggest teacher. It is our examiner. Sometimes it feels like our enemy. But it will always be a love in our life when we look back.
Here are six ways that change transforms us:
1. We see things differently.
Routine allows us to go through life without thinking too much. Change forces us to look at things with fresh sight.
2. We have a beginner's mind.
This is a concept in Zen Buddhism, referring to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject for the first time. This openness makes us feel young and present. Only something unfamiliar can invoke this. In a new situation, we rely on ourselves and come back to who we truly are.
3. We are vulnerable.
Changes allow us to remember we don't know it all and we don't have all the answers. Surprisingly, everything still works out OK. Vulnerability does not mean that we are not safe.
4. We are humble.
Openness and vulnerability to new circumstances makes us humble and removes our ego. Humility is much closer to our higher self.
5. We are grateful.
Change can remind us of how much we have. Starting a new business venture or having the courage to leave an unhappy relationship can remind us that we are stronger than we understand, or that we have loving friends and family. When we go through change, we value most what remains constant.
6. We are enlightened.
Change changes us. It reminds us that the only real truth is who we are, our essence of being and the love we feel. This builds our inner strength and resolve for more change. And more change is guaranteed.
I read a story once about a girl in a European plane accident who said it was the best thing that happened in her life, despite some permanent injuries in her body. She said when she woke up in her recovery it was her first spiritual awakening. Her physical changes, the traumatic experience, the fatal outcome that was so close transformed her.
Change is liberating and healing and plain unavoidable. The more we welcome it, the more profoundly positive its impact. We know we can survive and overcome.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh said it best: "Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found."