Currently there are large and small events that I am observing and ones that I am experiencing which are or have caused my world to change. There are observable steps that occur in any change situation, be it catastrophic (a flood, divorce, empty nest) or mild (the ending of a fun event).
What I am exploring and what I want to ‘study’ today is the very first step in this experience of change. This is the step we tend to rush through. I have done this and it is just not
working! Hence my desire now to revisit step one.
The first thing change does is put us in limbo. We are no longer where or what we were, but we are not yet adjusted to what we have lost or what has changed. Our instinct is to cling wildly to all
that remains in an effort to make things the way they were. This is usually futile. Some helpful steps include:
Grieving is concrete, productive behaviour. It is not a waste of time. It is a necessary purging. Without it we can’t move forward cleanly or easily.
2) Be Empty.
Notice the desire to cling to old ways, trying to recreate what was lost. Whether it’s a relationship or furniture, it is best just to watch and wait.
3) Gather Information. Make Small Moves.
Avoid making commitments. In this step our thoughts, feelings and emotions will be changing rapidly even moment by moment. It is wise to avoid making long-term decisions until we know we are through the process, because we are going to change our minds.
4) Stay Present.
We simply don’t know what or who we are going to be in the coming days, weeks and even hours. Trying to anticipate the future makes us nuts!
5) Be Kind to Yourself.
Moving forward is likely to be painful, scary maybe even humiliating. Making mistakes is likely, but know that going back is impossible.
6) Reframe Thinking.
Losing our identity (essentially what is happening during change) doesn’t have to be thought of as a
bad thing. We can examine our old ways and question whether we want to keep them or try out ne It is typical and essential for personal growth. Even though we may not have chosen the change, we can choose to let it make us better.
7) Admit/Accept that you don’t know what you’re doing.
People are kind and helpful when we are honest about what we’re going through. We make it harder for ourselves when we try to fake it.
8) Enjoy the Emptiness. Trust the Next Step to Come On Its Own.
This has been the hardest part for me! We typically want to rush to fill in any voids in our lives. This step is where we can let ourselves relax into not doing and not thinking.
It comes easier when we trust that the next steps will emerge. We will ‘know’ when we are ready to move forward. We will slowly begin to dream and imagine and feel tremors of excitement about
creating a new life. Until that happens, I am attempting to enjoy the emptiness.