“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”
Change is inevitable. Throw crisis in and you got upheaval. Upheaval adds the blow to change’s slap. Dictionary.com goes so far as to define upheaval as a strong or violent change or disturbance. I look at it this way: crisis takes the choppy waters of change and transforms them into a tsunami.
Fleeing, of course, is a healthy response to a life-threatening condition, such as a tsunami, but is it an appropriate reaction to a crisis in life?
When it comes to living through crisis, I find very few cut and dry solutions. Sometimes a knee-jerk reaction to a catastrophe is escape. In terms of emotional detachment, even denial, this could be very necessary and healthy. When my world first began to unravel, more like disintegrate, denial was the first step in the ladder to reach the platform of acceptance. In a tsunami, individuals are advised to flee and find safe shelter.
Is that not what the human condition aches for? Safe shelter, whether physical, mental or emotional? Thirteen years ago, when my dad was dying, I broke from the hospital’s ICU unit and fled out of town to a spa for a weekend. When I came back home, I was able to approach the crisis with a renewed spirit and accept the passing of my father.
This go-around, I could not physically leave. My children needed me. Whether a crisis or tsunami, are not children a mama bear’s priority? So, in the denial stage, I broke off from reality and landed in a Twilight Zone of thinking that separated me from the pain of betrayal and loss. This is what I term the sitting-in-front-of-the-TV-watching-reruns-of-Green-Acres-and-eating-Twizzlers stage.
Denial was a lifesaver and softened the blow; after a couple of weeks, the only way for me to move on and forward was to accept that nearly everything that I had found familiar, constant and stable had vanished. So why was it so hard to stop wanting to turn the clock back?
“When your life circumstances change, as they inevitably will, you get a choice — your self-talk and physical eyes will want to cling to what was, which can lead to a form of decay, while your Soul-Talk and Soul-Centered eyes will tend to embrace the change and look for ways to move into another period of growth.”
I like what Mr. Bishop says about how clinging to the past can lead to its own form of decay. Irony is, we creatures of habit are threatened by change. We view it as decay…but, in essence, by not accepting what is, we invite double decay into our worlds—the change itself and our resistance to the actual change.
I’ve always told my writing workshop students, “What you resist persists,” and this is the gist of what my point. Once we “embrace” the change, which means accepting it, we can move into another realm of growth. Perhaps, not better; perhaps, not worst; but certainly different.
Our first mistake is when we think stability is synonymous with safety. Safety, of course, is good. Safety, on the other hand, can be plain stupid. There is safety and then there is the dead mode. It can place blinders on us that make us see only the black and white world in front of us and never allow us to see the entire panoramic scene. Today, after letting go, I have redefined my entire life. I have a new confidence. A sense of freedom that I never knew existed. In my fifth decade of life, I feel the most carefree and the youngest I’ve ever felt. A couple of friends are still hanging in with me; a lot more have fell off the radar. I have new friends. Most of all, I have unwavering hope.
For me, it is going from the “why?” to the “why not?” stage—from total unacceptance to total surrender.
Mr. Bishop talks about how stability is a myth; how everything is ever changing. To me this means that even my redefined world will change yet again at some future point.
He says, “…if you are busy trying to hold on to what was, you are playing a losing game. In my own experience over the past six months, an entire universe of blessings has opened to me, hidden within the guise of rapidly changing or even deteriorating circumstances.”
“Change is the order of the day.”
That is what Mr. Bishop says and that is my new mantra that I say without resistance and with total bliss and a sense of carefree wonder.
The process of acceptance and letting go is a leap of faith. It’s not for the meek. It’s not for the frightened it’s not for the woman or man who wakes up every morning looking behind their shoulder, worried about when the next shoe will drop. It’s for the man or women who awakens, sees his or her scaredy-cat reflection in the mirror for what it is, flexes his or her perceived muscles and whispers, “I’m vulnerable. I’m afraid,” only to roar, “Bring it on!”
Faith without courage is dead. Courageous people, who meet great adversity in the ring eye-to-eye, are strong in their faith. They embrace the challenges with strong arms that muscle everything because they have their own personal trainer, their own personal God; an anchor that extends beyond the flesh to the soul.
Until next time, faith forward!