If I were to ask you to think of something in life that is absolutely guaranteed, what would it be; the one thing that will always be present in our lives no matter what?
Sure you might come up with answers and say things like, ‘taxes’ or ‘that the sky is blue’ but think bigger, go deeper!
I’ve come to learn that the one thing that is absolutely, positively 100% guaranteed in life, and let’s face it, there aren’t too many of those, it’s change.
Yep, you heard me right, change. Big ol’ change.
Not the kind of change you find buried beneath all kinds of paraphernalia in your handbag or stuck in car seat crevices; I’m talking about change in the grander scheme of life.
As human beings, whether we realise it or not, we are constantly changing: our wants, needs and desires; our perspectives, attachments to people, places or things; our environment, lifestyles, careers, relationships, our physical appearances, our moods, heck, even our taste buds; every little or large thing is constantly changing, and sometimes that change can be the biggest and best thing, other times it can shake and shock us through every cell in our body.
Change can be a subtle, humble whisper that speaks to us in the silence amongst all the noise and chaos, or it can be that obnoxious and boisterous voice that rumbles and echoes through our heart so loud it’s undeniable.
There are the changes that swiftly move us from one point to another like catching ‘the wave of all waves’ and ending up someplace far from where we first caught it.
But no matter the gravity or extent of change, it’s always there, slowly simmering beneath the surface, just waiting for the timer to ‘DING’ and reach boiling point.
I was recently working with a client of mine where we were speaking about the unfolding of events in her life over the previous days, weeks, even months.
Perhaps the most surprising and profound thing that came to light upon our reflection and dissecting of these events, was this:
Sometimes the very ‘thing’ (experience/person/place/moment) that we think we really want, the thing we crave above everything and anything else, that ‘would-give-my-right-arm-and-leg-to-have’ thing, changes, right at the very moment we receive it.
Allow me to elaborate.
This client of mine, let’s call her ‘Jo’ (name changed for confidentiality reasons), has, for the past six months been going through an incredibly difficult time working through the heartache and pain associated with perhaps the most significant break up of her life.
I’ve watched her mourn the loss of the relationship through mascara stained tears and incomplete sentences, I’ve seen her crumble like a deflated balloon when her ex has walked past on the street, and I’ve tried to be the best sounding board and support to her that I can when she’s needed to decipher, discuss or agonise over what past and present communications or experiences with her ex have meant.
I’ve understood the feelings of loss, anger, sadness, confusion and despair that she has felt; the process of grief that’s almost been forced upon her, and I’ve almost felt her heartbreak and pain as though it were my own; it doesn’t seem all too long ago that I was mourning the loss of a previous relationship also.
Throughout the past few months, I’ve watched subtle changes make their way into ‘Jo’s’ life; a crack of a smile instead of tears, a happy memory instead of a sad one shared, or a more profound shift within her when I’ve witnessed her appreciating beautiful life lessons presenting themselves to her through all the pain.
Yet no matter the change, one thing has remained the same; she’s wanted to get back together with her ex and be in a relationship with him again.
She’s cradled the idea of being back together with him. Not just anyone, not someone else to fill the void, but him.
She’s relished the thought of having his presence in her life again, sans the arguments and problems they previously faced.
When my ex and I broke up just over a year ago, slowly but surely over time I knew I had to do one thing: accept that we weren’t going to get back together and move on (ok, so two things).
This was anything but easy, and although I resisted what reality I was to face, I didn’t rush it for I knew the healing power and transformation that would come from ‘doing the work’, from learning those big life lessons and learning to love myself again.
It took time and tears and multiple conversations with my nearest and dearest but eventually I came to a point where something in me changed; there was a shift, albeit gradual and almost inconspicuous, where I knew there was nothing left for me to do but accept that my ex would remain just that, my ex.
But for ‘Jo’ it was different.
2015 rolls in and as with the beginning of the New Year, so to do new changes come forth.
There I am recently having a coaching session with ‘Jo’ when she reveals that the very thing she has dreamt of happening for the past 6 months, has come true: her and her ex are back together!
AMAZING. INCREDIBLE. BLISSFUL. LIFE-CHANGING.
I sat across from ‘Jo’ listening to her speak about the rekindling of their relationship and what life has looked like since they got back together, and there was only one question to ask her:
‘Are you happy?’
‘I know I should be. I want to be. But I don’t feel like I am,’ she replied.
And in that moment I could tell that this sparkling, shining, glittery fantasy she had of the two of them getting back together for all those long and painful months, had changed.
As I continued to listen to her talk, I could tell even she was surprised by her reaction and feelings towards the reality of the situation.
Did she still want to be with him and have things work out beautifully? No doubt.
But the very idea of how incredible and life altering it would be when and if they did get back together, was so very different now.
Why? I believe it’s because she had changed.
“It’s funny how day by day, nothing changes. But when you look back, everything is different.” – C. S. Lewis
Like I said, sometimes the very thing we want changes, right at the moment of receiving it.
Even through heartache and pain when we don’t necessarily see or feel things changing, beneath the surface, they always are: softly, gently, perpetually.
We can learn to find some comfort and peace knowing that change is the one constant in life and is the very thing that moves us from point A-to-B, or from heartache to happiness; that brings new people or possibilities into our lives, or experiences that will shape our lives forever.
Will ‘Jo’ and her beau stay together and live ‘happily ever after?’ I can’t answer that, nobody can.
But what I know to be true is this:
Although change can be daunting, unwelcome or take us by surprise at times, what lies on the other side, might just be, even bigger and better than what we imagined.
“Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you’ve ever imagined.” – Unknown
What role has change played in your life? Any big and bold lessons you care to share? Lets hear them sweetheart…