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The Art of Embracing Change

Photo by Gala Darling
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. ~Charles Darwin

Change is a beautiful thing. Despite its innate beauty, it is one aspect of life that many people resist. Why is it that some people can easily embrace change while others will do everything in their power to prevent it? It all boils down to a matter of perception.

To be candid, I never really had any problems with change. On the contrary, I welcome change with open arms. To be fair, the reason for this is because I had a very tough childhood.

Going to school each day was like going to war. The only thing that kept me going during my tough times was hope and the knowledge that this torment would have to stop at some point.

Change, you see, was a savoir in my mind. As a result, I view change as a joyous thing. To not change and remain in stagnation is equivalent to death. Nothing can be accomplished by not moving forward.

Look at the human body. If you do not use your muscles, they decay. The human spirit is the same. If you do not grow and adapt, you will remain stuck and nothing of value can be accomplished when you are stuck.

So how does one learn to embrace change? You develop another way of viewing situations in your life. Each event that happens to you has the ability to move you forward or backward. The way you choose to view a situation determines your experience.

For example, some years ago, my mother passed away from terminal cancer. My husband and I moved into my parent’s house so I could take care of my mother. I was her caregiver for the last six months of her life. I was also present when she passed on. Watching someone that you love die is one of the most powerful experiences in life.

When the last breath is finally had, there is a mixed feeling of joy and pain. Joy that their suffering is over and yet immense pain that they are no more physically here.

I was very close to my mother and losing her was one of the most difficult experiences in my life. Not a day goes by when I don’t remember her. Not having a mother can be tough. Talk about change…one morning, I went from having two parents to only one. Not easy. Yet those six months and being present at her passing were two of the greatest gifts she gave me. Why?

Well, it was a great reminder that life, here on Earth is short. It also was a vivid reminder that when we pass on, we leave behind all the material possessions, our loved ones, money and so on. The only things we take with us are how we lived and what we learned.

To pass away knowing that one has lived well is a great achievement. I learned that at a young age and it is something that I am happy about. Yes, I wished I did not have to lose my mother to learn that lesson but so be it. That is how it happened.

I realize that death is an extreme example (yet an experience we all will encounter) to show you how to embrace change. So here are some lessons that I have learned on my journey so far:

1. Nothing Lasts Forever

In Eastern thought, one of the main teachings is that everything in life is impermanent. The good and the not so good do not last. Everything exists for a finite time. That is a fact of life. To resist that fact does no good because it does not change the reality.

When we accept the fact that nothing lasts forever, we are better equipped for the journey. Struggle occurs when we resist reality. So the best way to end the struggle is to embrace the impermanence in life. Enjoy the good times while you can and remember that the not so good times are just temporary. The light will appear at the end of the tunnel…it is bound to happen, you just need patience.

2. Wisdom Is Earned

There is no amount of money in the world that would convince me to go back in time. I am happy to be where I am and to have the knowledge that I have. I earned where I am and that wisdom was achieved through change and experience.

Nothing of value was ever achieved by remaining stagnant. It is impossible. We learn and grow due to change. When we are faced with a situation that forces a change of some kind, our awareness is inevitably expanded. Whether we follow through on it or not, depends on the person. Many people lament about change and doing that just keeps you stuck.

Wisdom is earned by learning to see the alternate possibilities of what surrounds you. When we view life through a narrow lens, our experience is narrow. But when you see the whole panorama, then wow…life is beautiful.

3. Learn To Let Go

Some people are meant to be in our lives for decades and others are meant to only stay for a while. This is one of the most challenging realities of life. Not everyone is willing to be with you as you proceed on your journey.

Some people may only like you when you have a certain title or look a certain way. That is okay. Let them be who they are but keep on being true to yourself.

If you lose some people as you proceed on with your life, wish them well and let them go with love.

When I decided to leave law, some of my family members stopped talking to me. It was tough. I was essentially disowned by some relatives. It was very painful but I realized that what they did said a lot about who they were. I have no respect for someone who is hung up on titles or appearance.

I value substance and I realized that this was a price I had to pay. I accepted it and moved forward. The interesting thing is that life sent me some amazing new friends who ended up being my family. So it worked out.

(Side note: those same relatives who disowned me have recently re-established communication with me. So see…things work out.)

4. Change Always Leads To Good

Here is the reality about change: even though it may occur due to a negative event it inevitably leads to something good.

Now this is a hard concept to absorb at first. I know that when I first learned it during my time at a monastic, I thought my teacher was crazy. But as I looked back at my life, I saw a common trend. When something “bad” happened, it always culminated in some type of realization or thought that took me to a better place.

Things happen to us for reasons. It is not our place to know exactly why they happened. Yes, we can own up to our mistakes but the ultimate existential reason as to why they happened is not fully revealed to us at all times.

Take for example, my bad childhood. Those were tough days but they made me who I am now and I love being me. Those painful experiences taught me compassion and tolerance. I think I am a better writer because of it.

In Conclusion….

The ability to go from resisting change to embracing change can happen. It may not happen overnight but that is okay. The next time you are faced with an experience which causes your reality to change, take a deep breath and take a step back.

Try to see the situation from outside the box. It is okay to be mad or frustrated. You are human after all. But once the emotions have calmed down, just remember that we are all works in progress. Rome was not built in a day…neither were you.

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About the author

Nadia is the VP of Spirituality on Think Simple Now. Nadia has worn many hats in her short life. She used to be an image consultant, political campaign writer and attorney. Writing and photography are her passions. Through her writing, she intents to help people see how Divine they truly are.

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26 thoughts on The Art of Embracing Change

  1. Hi Nadia,

    Change is the only constant in life. So it is important that we learn to embrace change. Only by doing so can we hope to act in harmony with the times and circumstances.

    I love how you point out that dealing with change is tied closely to perception. From my experiences it is true. If you perceive change in a negative way, it is harder to deal with it. But if you see opportunities in change, it is easier for you to change. Reframing the change that happens to us is a powerful tool for managing change. We have to constantly grow and adapt, that is the way life is.

    Thank you for sharing about the death of your mother and how you coped with it. Death is a fact of life that we have to learn to accept. In fact, learning to accept that things change also helps you to manage change better. From your experience, we can all learn how to cope with grief and loss better.

    3. Learn to Let Go

    Again acceptance about the length of time people have in our lives also helps in a profound way. You learn to treasure each moment because you never know which is your last. When there is an infinite amount of time, we tend to take things for granted. But if we know that time is “short,” we treasure each moment more.

    Like you I value substance and character more than titles or appearances. As you have mentioned earlier, nothing lasts forever so it doesn’t make sense to hold on to transient things like titles and appearances.

    4. Change Always Leads to Something Good

    “That which gives light must first endure burning.” -Viktor Frankl

    I would say that whether change leads to something good depends on how we manage the change that happens in our lives. If we are wise enough and ready to see the lessons behind the need for change, it will lead to something good. If not, we will be constantly stuck in similar painful experiences until we have learned to change. So whether change leads to something good depends on our ability to get there.

    Thank you for sharing this great article!

  2. Hi Nadia,

    Wonderful post.. it’s no wonder why you’re a writer for this blog. I’m very sorry to hear about your mother, at the same time happy that you’ve gained priceless wisdom in your experience..

    i’ve been fortunately enough to not have cancer take anyone who I love, however, it has taken many lives of people who I care about- and that’s upsetting as it is.

    I believe a lot of time things seem dark because our emotions are involved, if i could add…

    when embracing change of making life-changing experiences…try to take our emotions out of the equation and try looking at things more from a factual perspective.

    making decisions when we’re blinded by emotions for the most part, isn’t really a good thing. better to try and look at it through facts and decide what’s best for us from there…

    anyway, I appreciate you sharing all that you’ve shared.

    thank-you

  3. Hi Nadia,
    Your story is very touching. I understand exactly what you went through. I appreciate what you wrote about learning to let go. We all have weight on our shoulders and hearts that needs to be shed. I’ve spent years weighed down by a heavy heart. In learning to let go I freed myself from a past I couldn’t change. For me change means growing up and moving on! Thanks for you lovely post:)

    Dandy

  4. Awesome article. It came at a perfect time for me, too. Thank you!

  5. Hi Nadia,

    Thanks for sharing your honest and courageous story. I really agree with your 4th point about change leading to good things. I had a pretty ‘status quo’ mindset until about two years ago. Days would go by and they all felt the same, like everyday was a boring recurring dream.

    Once I choose to more active and willing to make (and embrace) change, great started flowing into/through my life which have helped me grow and enjoy new experiences. Just in the last year I’ve moved into a new home, got a great new job, quit my new job, went to Europe, came back to study a new field, sold all my belongings and am now getting ready for extended travelling.

    I was amazed at how much I started experiencing when I let go of what I thought I was supposed to do, and went with the flow of what I feel like doing or what felt right. Sometimes I still find myself rationalizing myself out of bold or new things I want to try out of fear, but I’m slowly working on that :)

    Thanks Nadia!
    - Lily

  6. ecka

    Nice article Nadia

    Sometimes bad events invoke difficult and painful change and even in retrospect it can be difficult to find the good. Your example about cancer is a good example. It takes a very optimistic approach to see the good there.

    Your article reminds of the Leonard Cohen song that it is the crack lets the light in.

  7. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
    Life is tough and change can be difficult but as long as you try to find the best in every situation you will.

    I was very moved by your story about your mother. I can gladly say my parents are alive and well, I do not know what I would do without them.

    The way you have handled it is an inspiration and proof that even the most horrible of experiences teaches us something about ourselves and helps us improve as a person.

    //Daniel

  8. Hi Everyone,

    I just wanted to give a special thanks to The Vizier, Parker, Dandy, Lindsay and Daniel for the great comments you left. I really appreciate every single comment and all the support.

    As I have written before, writing is a solitary experience and as a result, I never know how something will be received. So to see such beautiful feedback is very nice. Thank you so much.

    May you each have a beautiful day!

  9. Ama

    Hello Nadia,

    I may have nothing so constructive as other to say but you are right, so right. Sometimes we don’t know why bad things happened, we wish we didn’t live these painful experiences. Yet, they are here for some reason, and often having tough experiences doesn’t mean that one is a bad person, but means one will be a better person because nothing can replace experience. You cannot know the harm of fire before putting your hand in the chimney. The same about life. You can’t always avoid others to put their hand in the chimney but you sure will be there to calm them down and nurse them and help them move forward. Because you know what it is to be burnt. That’s what we are all down here to, right?

    My experience is, I had terrible times with my father because he was very rough, depressive and alcoholic. He stopped drinking one year before he died and I discovered a peaceful side I never knew before. I still have regrets that I never knew who he really were, what interested him, what is a real family with a mother and a father in love and supportive to their children. Yet, we still had wonderful moments, that is what I shall never forget, and let go of all these horrible moments when he was not himself.

    Letting go means staying with very few things sometimes, but valuable jewels that will be forever here and will forever brighten your life.

    Again, thank you for sharing this and good luck to everyone who read this with challenging their life for the best.

  10. You are beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    You are exactly right that it all depends on how you react to changes in your life that dictates how you survive. That’s brilliant. After I was raped, I recoiled into my shell, I stopped wearing make up and caring how I looked. I gained weight, I hated myself and I was irresponsible. One day it clicked that I wasn’t getting anywhere by not living. Yes, a horrible thing happened to me, but I was not going to let him take away my life, too.

    I filed necessary police reports, started seeing a counselor and here I am two years after the fact and I am doing QUITE well. :)

    If you keep doing the same thing, over and over, getting a result you do not want, what makes you think you will eventually get a different result? Make your own destiny.

    Thanks again for this wonderful piece! <3

  11. Hi Everyone,

    It is so nice to see more comments.

    Thank you so much, Lily, for sharing your story. Good for you for following your heart and making all those changes. It is always hard to follow our hearts because we live in a world where the mind is more valued. The irony is that the heart sometimes holds greater wisdom.

    Ecka, thank you for your kinds words too. I will have to check out that song.

    Ama, have no worries…you definitely had something constructive to share. Thank you so much for being so open and sharing your story about your father. Losing a parent is a tough experience. And I think it is natural to wish that we knew our parents better. Don’t hold any regrets because there is nothing you can do about it. You did the best with what you knew and I think your attitude is beautiful.

    And last but not least…thank you so much, Angelica, for being so candid and the kind words. What we see in others is a reflection of ourselves. So you are beautiful too. I greatly admire how you have taken an event that is the absolute worst crime a woman can experience and rise above it with grace and dignity. There are people who have not had such a trauma and who are paralyzed by their pain. Bravo to you for rising above that pain and not letting that man (I hope they found him) destroy you. You are truly awesome!

  12. Hi Nadia,

    I enjoyed your post… very heartfelt. I agree with you that change is inevitable and can be a beautiful opportunity for growth and happiness. My quest for personal development has been the most exciting and rewarding journey of my life. I also think that it’s important to celebrate the beauty in things that are unchanging (atleast, unchanging for now). I think as humans we tend to celebrate things that are new and exciting, like new breakthroughs, but not the things that have been going well all along. Like a great relationship with a partner, good health, a strong spiritual connection to the world, a great community. Sustaining can be beautiful too… the two beautiful sisters of Change and Sustain.

  13. I really enjoyed reading this post. I especially like the last point you made which is all change leads to good.

    As an extension to think, I realise it also that a situation that is changing now will actually be more aligned with our values and therefore we will have the perception that the change is good.

    I also realise that neither good or bad really does exist. It simply just is. Nothing more and that we define things as good or bad, in accordance to what we most highly value.

    With that said I love the idea of your article and how it allows us to embrace change, to welcome it and to trust it.

    Thankyou =)

  14. I truly enjoyed reading this, Nadia. Some of the information that you shared was very personal and I appreciate that.

    Change is so difficult for many people, yet it is avoidable by none. I believe it is important to realize our personal power. When we know that we are amazing, adaptable individuals, there is less fear & less resistance to change.

  15. Great article. Change is not always a bad thing.

  16. I love the quote you used my Darwin. It is very appropriate for the post.

  17. Great post. I needed this today, too. Thank you!

  18. John

    “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change” – Clarence Darrow

  19. Very nice article Nadia. I too had the luxury of looking after my mother before she died of cancer. It was a powerful experience for me as well. I am currently experiencing a lot of shift in my life and it is making for very exciting times for me. You be blessed.

  20. John

    Excellent article, Nadia! It could not have come at a better time for me, as I am dealing with the aftermath of a significant setback.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart…

  21. Nadia: It is really nice to meet you! Thanks for the wonderful article and awesome advice! For so long in my life I did not want to change. It was like I was afraid of change, but it turned out that change was what I needed most. Some important events took place in my life that made me understand how imparative it was that I change for the better. Now, I can only look up! ( :

    Best Wishes,
    William Veasley

  22. always i used to read smaller content which also clear their motive, and that is also happening with
    this post which I am reading at this place.

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