Some embrace change; some see it approaching and turn down an unknown dark alley in order to avoid it. I am not sure where my natural tendencies towards change lie but I can tell you that when change happens TO you … when you have no say in the matter … your only choice is to find a way to embrace it. Don’t get me wrong, there are other choices, but none of them will be helpful or healthy for you in the long run. I am not suggesting it is easy or pleasant or even welcome; but it is necessary. You can and will find your grace and move on and only look back when and if required for remembering what not to repeat in the future.
I can tell you that it takes herculean strength to find the silver linings (and your grace, self worth, self respect, you get the picture) when everything about who you thought you were is actually being stripped away from you piece by piece, as if you are standing inside of a tornado and every definition, every title attached to the image of who you thought you were is being forcefully ripped away from you by the sheer force of a momentum of which you have zero control. And, yes, as each image of who you thought you were is stripped away and you are left exposed, empty, naked, vulnerable, lost, it is messy and hurtful that is all true. But, please … don’t run away from it! If you run away from it all and get stuck in depression, the “what-ifs”, the “way it used to be”, the self-righteous indignation that you have been wronged, you will stay empty, vulnerable … lost. Instead, allow yourself the time to stay inside all of those feelings, look at every angle, dissect it in a way that provides you the opportunity to understand yourself just that much more.
When you sit inside those feelings of emptiness, being utterly exposed, recognizing you are lost and vulnerable, it is inside the rebuilding, the courage that is summoned, the inertia that makes you move, that you start to see someone else and that someone else is strong, resilient, capable. Slowly, you begin to wear different armor. Perhaps a more comfortable armor. A more self-loving armor. You start to accept that change is a new beginning and with it comes some freedom, some adventure, a whole lot of opportunity. And, you see that that someone else is ready for that next chapter her life, on her own terms.
I’m sharing a poem that I meditate to often. It helps me acknowledge and embrace all the different emotions that come with life. It reminds me to be reflective but not take them too serious or dwell on them.
The Guest House by Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jalaluddin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)