Like the setting sun and the crashing wave, just like that, things change.
Whether we realise it or not, we are always in a state of flux, a perpetual state of motion and change. Every second of the day we are becoming a different version of ourselves. Sometimes it is just more noticeable than others.
As of July 2019, my life in Budapest has come to an end. We've moved out of our amazing apartment and shipped our belongings to Japan. We've gone from warm weather to a heatwave and on returning to Japan I've noticed the contrasting difference between how I felt when I left in May (sad, reactive, lacking, scared) to how I feel now (calm, grounded, open, at peace).
Change is good for the soul. It gives us perspective. Be that a location change to view our lives and dreams from a different vantage point, find space to breathe and let go, or to reassess how we want things to be. Or, it can be the change in time and the passing of days, months, and years that allows us to reflect on our journey so far and view our lives with fresh eyes and a new lens revealing an even deeper learning than we were able to see at one point in time.
"Change can be hard, it can be scary, and it can be messy but no matter how we experience it, it is absolutely for our highest good".
Change is the very thing that makes us who we are and allows us to grow as human beings and individuals.
Here are 5 ways that we can navigate times of change with ease. To be in the process of something that is hard but lessen the burden on ourselves to emerge on the other side fresh, whole, grateful and open to the new.
1. Release resistance. Go with the flow.
Change is one of the only constants in life. We age, we learn, we evolve. We are never the same from second to second. The suffering we experience in times of change is completely optional. When we resist what's going on in our life, when we fear the unknown and allow our self-doubt to fill our minds and cloud our hearts, we choose to suffer. This truly is a choice. My advice, when you start to feel overcome with fear, when you feel like you are spiralling out of control, or begin to feel anxious, is to get out of your head and back into your body. What does this mean? Separate from your thinking mind and connect back to yourself, your heart, your own inner wisdom.
Deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4. Hold the breath in for a count of 7. Exhale from your mouth for a count of 8 and repeat this at least 4 times. Deep belly breathing is scientifically proven to switch off the stress response in our bodies and initiate a state of calm.
Yoga or some form of movement. Yoga is my favourite way to connect back with my body as it links the breath with each pose. Concentrating on combining the two allows us to drop out of our heads and into our bodies, to be in the present moment and not freaking out about the future. If yoga is not your thing, any other form of exercise will do it.
2. Embrace the beauty of the life unfolding before you.
Fair warning, the beauty may not be pretty. It might be massive growth. But massive growth is one of life's most beautiful gifts. Learn to navigate change with grace, kindness, compassion and tons of self-love and no matter what is going on, you will be able to see the beauty in the lessons that lay before you.
Let go of expectation (another form of suffering) and see what life is offering you instead. Be open to a life that you may have never imagined, for who knows how much more rewarding, fulfilling and amazing this version could be.
3. Make self-care a top priority.
When things get out of control root down in the habits and rituals that make you feel like you and make them a priority no matter what. So often these are the first things to go when our lives get turned upside down but by making time for them, no matter how little you have to give them, will make a huge difference in how you feel each and every day. For me, this needs to be at least 20 minutes of yoga, a 5-minute meditation and 5-10 minutes writing out thoughts and feelings in a journal each day.
Choose 1 to 3 activities that help you feel your best. Create small amounts of time to fit them into your day. Maybe that can be just 30 minutes in the morning to read a book, journal or take a walk in nature. It doesn't have to be a lot of time. Just something small that has a connecting and grounding impact for you. Commit to these daily and make this "you time" non-negotiable.
4. Embrace all that is, right now.
Wherever you are right now, this too will change. Be it one of the happiest times in your life or when you are completely in the muck. This state, this season in your life, will also change. Embrace all that is, right now, in each and every moment. The moments are our life. The beauty we talked of before, it is now, not later.
Whatever arises, love that! Love being in the muck because this is where you discover your strengths, learn what is truly important to you, refine your goals and dreams. Love the happy, free fun times that are all the more amazing because of what you have just been through. Love them now, as they are just another changing state on the wild ride of life. Appreciate it all. Love your way through the tough times. By choosing love, you choose to suffer less.
5. Be patient and grateful!
These two things are probably the hardest things to do when everything feels like a mess, BUT, practising gratitude and being patient will make the whole journey so much easier.
Patience is a tough one and one I am always working on but what has helped me over the years is having full-time faith that I am supported in this journey of life, and that everything I am experiencing is for me. Full-time faith means not questioning why something is happening or being a victim of circumstance. It is being open to all that is and consciously choosing to learn from everything that happens. It is knowing that the sooner I release expectation, see the beauty of the moment and allow life to unfold as it is, the sooner I will move through this phase of change and onto something different. Use this mantra, "it's this or something better".
Gratitude. The simplest way to practice gratitude is to count the blessing you have in your life in any given moment. When you feel yourself freaking out, get present and check in with all the good that exists in your life. You can do 5 things, 10 things or just keep going until you can't think of any more or you feel a shift in your energy. Daily gratitude is a life-changing practice. See this video for more on my experience of this.
In times of change allow yourself to ground, grow, reflect, appreciate, reset and open. No matter what you are going through, rest assured, this too shall pass. You will emerge from this tough time and you will be ok, in fact, you will be more than ok. You will be wiser, stronger, and more amazing than before.