It’s a new year and a new beginning. This last one started out with the promise of something different, but the difficulties did not go away. So it is not surprising if there is some uncertainty about the year to come, whether with unemployment, healthcare, or having enough money to pay the bills. It takes courage to shift the story line and move from a familiar and known place to one that is unknown and without reference points, as it means stepping outside of our usual comfort zone.
There is nothing more certain and unchanging than uncertainty and change. — John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Ed remembers being excited moving to England, many years ago. He counted the days until he left the US. When he finally arrived in a small cottage in Devon he had to face the reality of creating a whole new way of life. It took time to adjust and realize that change, although inevitable, can also be a time of great personal growth.
Emerging from three years in the Auschwitz concentration camp, psychiatrist Victor Frankl said that after his imprisonment and the destruction of his family, he had been left with only “the last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” That is the choice that each one of us has—a choice in how we live our lives, despite the difficulties we face, and how we care for each other.
Life never stands still, no matter what we do. Change is the very nature of existence—our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, ideas, even our relationships are as changeable as the weather or the seasons. Who we are now is not who we were last year, last week, yesterday, even a minute ago. Already our feelings have changed, our thoughts are different, and some of our cells have died while others have been created.
The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next. — Ursula K. LeGuin
Without change in ourselves we become stifled and stagnant. Being with what is as it is, and integrating the reality of change is wonderfully liberating, the opportunity to clear away layers of dust and cobwebs and to start anew in each moment. We can become fearless through uncertainty.
Here are 10 ways that have helped us and, hopefully, will help you deal with change and uncertainty:
1. Accept what is! If you can change something, then do; if you can’t change anything, then release resistance and simply be with what is.
2. Take risks. Life is about not having answers, taking chances and risks, and making the most of every moment, all without knowing what is going to happen next.
3. Be your own best friend. It is easy to blame and shame yourself, but now is the time you deserve the most love and kindness of all.
4. Every day is a new beginning. Each time you take a step forward you have no idea what might happen. But nothing will happen if you continue to stay where you are.
5. Keep falling as long as you keep picking yourself up! Making mistakes is not the problem, but not learning from them and moving on is.
6. Be grateful for each moment. Nothing lasts forever, so appreciate every moment, fully and completely, as it will never happen again.
7. Think with your heart instead of your head – when you come from your heart you come to your senses!
8. Meditate. Take time to just stop and breathe, to remember why you are here, and to find what is of real meaning to you.
9. Don’t take yourself too seriously. A good sense of humour prevents a hardening of your attitudes and your opinions from getting too rigid!
10. Do something for someone else and make giving to others a part of your life, even if it is just a smile and a hug.
Let’s hope 2013 will bring a greater sense of sanity to this crazy world and a greater peace of mind. May this be your best year ever! Happy New Year!
How do you deal with change and uncertainty? Do comment below.
Originally published in 2010