By: Ariane de Bonvoisin
Flexing your Change Muscle. When we make a change in our lives — going back to school, starting a business, pursuing a creative path — we also provoke an identity shift. And even though the changes are external, often it’s more of an internal journey that we are being asked to take. To ensure that we don’t get lost along the way, we need to connect with the core of our being, the essence of who we are.
Every great leader, athlete, and hero has believed in something greater than himself or herself. Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and JFK are among the many who referred to a connection with something greater: their soul, their source, or their relationship to God or the Divine. They acknowledged the presence of the Divine in every difficult situation, and they allowed it to be a helping presence in their lives. During the first thirty days of moving through a change, and throughout your whole life, it’s important to ask yourself what you are willing to trust. Really ask yourself, Where is my trust these days?
Some of us believe there is something bigger going on. We look at nature, at the miracle of birth, a sunrise, the stars above, and contemplate a bigger sense of power, a feeling that we are not alone, that something — or someone — is present. This something is the sanctuary that can help us get centered in times of crisis and change. We may not know this for sure, but maybe there is some sort of energy, a power we can tap into, an army of invisible forces just waiting to help us. Perhaps they exist solely to assist us, to prepare the way, and to be on our side. I call them my friends upstairs.
We all have things we turn to. Perhaps it’s meditation, prayer, a belief in the law of attraction, or visualization. Or maybe it’s a connection to nature, a certain type of calming music, or a creative outlet like writing or painting. Whatever it is, it will help you during times of change by allowing you to connect to who you really are.
Even during the most dramatic change, there is always a place within us that is calm, collected, and comfortable, that knows how to cope with change. This part of ourselves doesn’t fluctuate when circumstances are changing all around us. For most of us, it’s something we call our higher self, our soul, or our connection to the Divine or God.
During times of change, most of us crave understanding. We want to make sense of the seeming chaos around us. The place I’m speaking of, though, I call inner-standing. It’s the part of you that is calm and wise, that accepts things as they are. That part of you is eternal, unchanging; it is whole and complete, and you can’t get rid of it no matter how hard you try. Connecting to this inner place means aligning with the person you were before the change, during the change, and after the change. It’s about remembering who you are.
Peace and Quiet
No matter what change or transition is going on, no matter what decision you need to make, find some time to be alone and silent. Often we are looking for more peace in our lives, but we don’t do what we need to do to make it happen. So many times our higher self tries to give us answers or solutions, but with all our busyness, we can never stop to reflect. This is why meditation has become so popular in our culture today: Although you may think of meditation as passive, it is in fact an active way of creating time in the day to connect with the deeper part of yourself. Meditation stops your resistance to change by allowing you to find the relationship between the little you and the bigger you and to remind yourself that you are exactly where you need to be. When you get quiet you’ll see that life knows what’s happening.
There are many different forms of meditation, but at its core all meditation is the practice of taking a few minutes a day to stop and do absolutely nothing. No phone calls, e-mails, computers, talking, eating, television . . . nothing. Slow down the engine that runs your mind, and take time to focus on the engine that runs your body: When you simply acknowledge your breath — breathing in and out — you are tapping into your life force. Just allow everything to be exactly as it is. Sometimes, it feels good just to hang out in God’s waiting room!
Isn’t it extraordinary how much we fight the idea of being quiet? What are we afraid of? What’s the worst that could happen? Who could come out and hurt us? What are we avoiding? There are few things more essential than taking five to ten minutes a day to find your center; it will help you handle anything going on in your life. Just be quiet. Nearly every religion encourages silence and solitude. Remember: whenever we lose something external during change, we always have the chance to regain an inner home.
The above is an excerpt from the book The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Any Change (and Loving Your Life More)
Author Bio: Ariane de Bonvoisin is the founder of first30days.com, a website that helps people transition through dozens of changes, whether the change involves a health diagnosis, going green, moving to a new city , or getting married. She has a degree in economics and international relations from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Stanford University . Ariane worked at the Boston Consulting Group and with media giants BMG, Sony, and Time Warner before pursuing her dream to make a difference in people’s lives. First30days.com became her life’s work in 2005. Ariane is based in New York City where her company is also headquartered. Visit the author online at First 30 Days .