Sure death and taxes are inevitable, but so is change. I don’t about you, but we’ve got a lot going on in this house. New schools (new college, new high school, middle school), new teachers for everyone, Driver’s Ed, teams, hair styles, puberty (‘nuff said!) … seriously the list could go on and on. Some change is fun. Other change – not so much. And, how we meet change, how we handle change can have a major impact on our attitudes, our stress level and our contentment. The thing about change – it’s not just the landscape shift that determines the ripple affects, dormant emotions (of which we may not even be aware) can drive anxieties or reactions that come with change.
Over the summer we had lots of change. One of my favorite friends passed away. It really surprised me at how I couldn’t shake it. For over a month I had trouble sleeping and I felt like I was running in quicksand. The strange thing – we know the faith of that friend, a significant diagnosis should have prepared everyone, suffering ceased – so why the shut-down? Maybe it had something to do with a snowball affect – having experienced four significant losses/deaths in our lives over the last 12 months. Was it the loss? The physicality of it? The simple fact that we love these people and miss them – often? I don’t know, but it nailed me. And that change rolled over into more change – change of plans (including our Cleaning House re-boot here, back-burnering lots of tasks, travel & more), expectations, well-being, … the list goes and affected a lot of folks.
Change in one life not only affects it, but inevitably ripples out to touch many.
Another strangely emotion-laden event was something one of the kids decided to embark upon – a change of scenery: volunteering at Camp Barnabas for a week, doing what the kid loves to do. But a day or two before leaving, major emotional onslaught sneak-attacked and threatened shut-down. It was so unexpected and out of character for the kid – there had to be more to the story, something deeper going on. As we met it head on and tried to process, some old memories and fears surfaced. Who even knew they were hiding back there, waiting to misinform someone’s opportunity as well as identity.
So – rather than wade through the waters unaware, why not meet change head on and invite insight along for the ride.
One of the things I love most about life is the fact that we don’t ever have to walk the road alone. As it relates to change, as with most things, we’ve all lived & experienced it. And there are likely people walking alongside who have thought deeply about it and have some wisdom to offer. So, when my sister-friend Brenda recently told me about her friend Shannan (isn’t that the way it works? :) and that we should carpool-chat with her about change – why not? Shannan Crawford is a clinical psychologist and popular conference speaker. Her desire is to help people “experience wholeness, purpose, & the knowledge of their great value.”
I had no idea how much her insight would bless me and I hope she will bless you too. Here are a few little nuggets on why change is significant and can sometimes be so hard:
- We invest our identity in a lot of our roles. So when those change, we get stressed; we get overwhelmed & we don’t know who we are.
- During transition and change, all of the things working together in our brains get hijacked … giving us less access to the conscious mind.
- Most times, our stresses that are changes are because something within us is getting stirred up.
… and how can we manage/thrive in the midst:
- In order to process through transition, trauma & adjustments — a big part of that is pulling back and understanding what we’re going through.
- You have to work on the conscious level (processing/journaling) as well as the emotional level. Both in combination.
Instead of trying to share it all in writing – for you viewing pleasure we SaySomething Carpool-chatted so you could hear it all – with a promised TBC (to be cont.) – knowing that even then, things might change (see how I did that? give myself a way out? there’s just so many moving parts around here – promises can sometimes get the shaft. But I do promise to try!)
As always, thanks for walking the road (& putting up) with me.