Not long ago, Michael and I decided that maybe the word “change”, needed to be revisited. Just the mere mention of the word can invoke feelings of dread, anxiety, and maybe for some, sheer terror. Having been either on the cusp, or in the mist of change nearly every couple of months for the past 10 years, in my household change has become accepted. Sometimes, it is even celebrated. Truth be told, both Michael and I would love to come to a place in our personal growth where it is always celebrated. He is closer than I to that goal. But it is a worthwhile goal nonetheless given that change happens every single day.
Once we came to a conclusion of what change really is, which is growth, Michael and I decided to re-name “change” and instead refer to it as “evolution”. Now whenever I get a little strung out on all of things that are “evolving”, Michael likes to remind me that it’s just time to grow. Time to ascend to a higher level of awareness, and time to reach further in personal development. These are all good things, lovely things. No one wants to stay the same. At least not deep down inside. Evolution is natural and necessary – otherwise what would be the point of being here?
All around me evolution is taking place every day. My work life has evolved, my equestrian life has evolved, my friendships have evolved, the discipline that I have for my daily life as well as for my goal setting has evolved. The discipline that I have in challenging myself to do things better and more efficiently has evolved. Our marriage and parenting has definitely evolved. Right now, if I compare who I was 6 months ago to now, that person isn’t even recognizable. That Jenna was great, and she did a lot with the understanding and intellect that she had then, but this Jenna is really picking up the momentum to her heart’s desire. The truth is, both I and Michael have grown, a lot, and it’s brought us closer to where we wish to be in life. This can only happen when we allow change to occur.
I will not lie and say that this new practice of allowance came easy. While Michael is a laidback guy, there are just something’s that I will fret over, and even more so if they are completely out of my control, because why the hell not misdirect energy over things that you have no power over? I’ll tell you why, because it is a resource that can have a better return on the investment if you stop doing it. It took Michael mirroring this back to me for me to finally come around to realize that by doing that shit I just make things harder for myself. I was able to find tools that help me surrender for my highest good, and then I now challenge myself to keep adding different tools to that arsenal to keep me marching forward.
How I have learned it, there are a few rules that are very basic, but vital to understand when it comes to evolution, or change. Some notes that I can share that are non-negotiable when it comes to change or evolution, yet they are highly customizable. Once all of this is accepted and then…here’s the key…they are practiced, the whole process is not only less scary, but damn enjoyable. Here are they are;
It (change) will happen no matter what
Evolution will happen with or without you. It can be co-created by you, or your inaction or denial will have it created for you.
Your reaction/action/inaction will influence your outcome
You can kick and scream against it, or you can make it your bitch by wrapping it around you and not you having to wrap around it. The best analogy that I have ever heard is to think like a fish. The little fish does not fight against the current to try to change it, it instead flows with the current. Like a surfer riding the wave and making simple adjustments to harness the wave’s power and use it to get to where the surfer wants to go.
You must be smart, and you must know who you are
Both are only within your personal control. You are the only one who can ever know all about you, and you alone control your intellect and your pursuit of it. “Going with the flow” demands that you have your wits about you so that you’re not just led any old where, and so that you keep vigilant about attaining your life’s higher purpose. Now how can one do that if they don’t know who they are and where they want to go this lifetime?
In building upon the above, going with the flow does not just hang on and see what happens, it means stay in the now, but think about three steps ahead. What can be done now that your future self will thank you for? What is the best use for these pockets of time that used to be used for other things that are no longer a fit for the circumstances?
Look for the bigger picture
Sometimes change happens because we’ve allowed ourselves to remain stagnant. We somehow ignored all of the small signs that we’ve outgrown where we are by staying “comfortably numb”, even if we didn’t like that feeling either. Other times we actively seek the change ourselves whereby setting off a chain of events, some of which are out of our control. Staying focused on the current processes while measuring it up to what we would ultimately like the outcome to be is best. Then if things are falling apart or you feel out of control, start to try and connect the dots and realize that “falling apart” can actually be things “falling into place”, if you guide it along.
Often times evolution is confusing. We try to stay focused but fall short. Something doesn’t go as anticipated. Or it generally can seem just too much. In these instances of not knowing what to do, don’t do anything. Confusion is a good gut indicator that we’ve lost sight of where we were going or that we are thinking too narrowly. It’s more than fine to change course, but these types of decisions must be made in the quiet and with a clear mind and heart. Taking care of one’s own well being is the only way this can happen. Naps are good. Whole foods diet will help you think straight and remain healthy during the process. Journaling, exercising, meditation and keeping good company is just some of the basics of self care. You can probably think of many others that would work and feel good for you.
Keep a good routine
In conjunction with self care, care for your surroundings. Avoid “zoning out” during critical points where your awareness and creativity are needed most. When you need breaks from working with the change/evolution, go and wash your dishes and sweep your floors instead. Clear spaces mean clear minds and the muscle memory/auto pilot that these tasks use allows your brain to expel all that it is no longer of use. Cleaning can be a moving meditation. Many good conclusions during periods of great change have come to me when I was wrist deep in warm water with Murphy’s Oil Soap.
Remain open with your routines though. When things change, naturally our routines will too. So in addition to making sure that I stick my basic routines that are not negotiable, like rest, vitamins, and clean sheets, I also strive to evolve some of my routines when fitting them into new times/days. I figure if everything is changing then change everything. Add a once a week quiet lunch downtown. Tweek the fitness routine to include something different. Add 15 minutes to the meditation. When I attempt to upgrade my basics by building upon them, I always see what sticks and what doesn’t feel sustainable. This keeps me out of ruts while at the same time giving me some sense of normalcy to be working with/within my routines.
Know your resources
No man is an island. Learn to ask for help – a personal challenge of mine. Learn how to delegate the simple tasks. Keep away from any drama by setting any necessary boundaries, limiting or completely disconnecting from toxic people, observe and then prioritize. You will have to sacrifice the distractions to fully focus on actively participating in the evolution before you. Seek out advice from people who are smarter than you are right now, and then listen. And only seek help/advice from those who’s life you admire and are where you one day hope to be. From there, implement anything that feels right by trusting your gut. Intuition will see you through anything successfully. Research where to go and for what as it pertains to your situations, and then keep that information at hand at all times. (This goes back to being proactive.)
Remember that it ain’t no thang
I ask evolution haters often “how can you be scared of something that you do every day?” We change every day don’t we? We grow, take a new way to work, try a new coffee. We get taller, shorter, heavier, thinner, smarter every single day. Nothing today is the same as it was yesterday. We tend to hyper-focus on the bigger things that evolve and fail to realize that small change is still change.
The other thing is to keep an open mind. The end result in our mind is sometimes undeniable. We often cling to that vision like a life raft drifting toward land, using as some sort of marker to let us know that the evolution process is over. Well, it’s never actually over anyways, and if you keep an open mind, you will come to understand that there are other possible outcomes. Then you one day realize that the evolution brought you such a fantastic result that you weren’t even able to picture it with your mind back then. You’ve got to let the Universe do it’s job by surrendering the outcome without giving up vigilance.
Evolution is just an understanding really. It’s a reminder that we are here to grow and evolve ourselves, and naturally this will include our relationships, careers, and surroundings. As it turns out, we get to chose how the change will effect us, where it will bring us, and the attitude that we meet it with. It took me a bit of time to realize that and as soon as I suspended the victim attitude, change was kind of pleasant.
Following the above blue print, making it your own and then finding a good routine will have anyone who used to loath change loving it. We fear what we don’t understand, so once we understand that evolution is a part of life, things get somewhat easier.
LYPL is always published on a Tuesday at 3pm EST
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