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Life Gets Better Through Change Sign
Sun, March 1, 2015
Christine's Corner, Sunday, March 1, 2015
I was talking with Steve Nobel, the founder of Alternatives in London, about transitions recently, during an interview for my show Enlightening Radio. Steve wrote a book about transitions while in the midst of a major one in his own life. Life doesn’t ever really come out and give advanced warning about those transitions as they enter your life. Perhaps Life could show up with a bullhorn and announce “Major life change approaching, please fasten your seatbelt.”
But Life doesn’t work like that. Transitions just appear suddenly and without warning. Or conversely, sometimes they show up slowly and almost invisibly over time until one day you realize, “Hey, my life isn’t the same anymore!”
Whether our transitions in life, the changes that appear within our lives and within ourselves are slow and gradual or abrupt and even scary, they happen to all of us, all of the time.
It would be nice sometimes if Life would ask permission first. “Excuse me,” Life could prod, gently probing for our eventual response… “What was that, Life? Oh. You want to create a big change in my life? Sure, go right ahead!”
But no, that doesn’t really happen either. Rather, Life just shows up and we notice or we don’t. We adjust, or we don’t. Yet in saying that, that’s not to imply it doesn’t matter how we respond. It does. It matters. A lot.
Sometimes we get angry at how Life shows up. It doesn’t show up the way we want and it most certainly did not ask for our permission to show up in such a contrary way. To make us even more cranky, sometimes Life stays that way for far too long. Hmph.
Other times we pretend we don’t notice. We belly up to our newfound friend, Denial, and act as if nothing strange is going on at all. We can stay in this land of Pleasantville and pretend that everything is black and white when color is popping all around.
And then there are those times when Life catches us at just the right moment, in just the right mood, and although the changes might not be what we wanted or envisioned, we’re in the Flow and can’t be bothered to get too emotional about any of it for any reason. “Bring it on,” we say to Life. And we mean it. We can do anything and we’re ready.
Chances are we’ve done all of these approaches and more. In my experience, the approach we’ve used to the looming new development, and the underlying reason why we’ve chosen that approach at that time, most often explain why the transition has arrived to begin with. More about that in a bit.
I hang out with Life quite often, or perhaps more accurately stated, I ponder meaningful thoughts about the nature and meaning of Life on a regular basis. It makes me happy and I’m not ashamed to admit that my Life speaks to me. We have a close and intimate relationship and I’m thrilled to report that it gets better really almost every day.
You could say that my Life has been a series of transitions, especially over the past few years. In fact, we could all say that. Life is constant motion, always changing, never the same from one moment to the next.
As human beings we like to believe that we’ve got our lives pretty much under control. We’ve got it all handled. We’re in the driver’s seat. We know better. Of course we do. I think it’s basic human nature to want to feel like we’re directing and controlling every aspect of our lives, or at least the ones we care about.
We’re not bystanders either, make no mistake. It’s not as if Life is completely driving and we’re totally at its mercy. Not even close. We have a partnership, a close and deep relationship with Life. We are co-creators with one another – creating and transforming from one state and one way of being to another. It’s a beautiful, mysterious dance that we do. And we all do it, whether we’re aware of it or not.
We are all, simultaneously the director and the directed, the artist and the canvas. From this perspective, even for those sudden and abrupt major life changes, I believe on some level we’re aware and responsible for manifesting those transitions in our lives. We, at our core, understand the need for the kind of transformation and evolution that can come from Life’s transitions, and we know we’re ready.
We might not know we’re ready consciously. We might not always believe in ourselves when we need to. We might not believe at the moment that Life’s major transitions arrive, that we are really ready. But somewhere our highest, truest, most authentic self knows. Whether the approaching transitions are brutal and harsh or so expansive and marvelous our body can scarcely hold the emotion, Life is delivering to you a gift.
Sometimes the package is filled with sorrow, loss, or disappointment. Often in those cases the gift you truly receive doesn’t fully arrive for quite some time after you’ve worked through all that this development has brought into your life. Ultimately what is available to you as a result are incomparable lessons and shifts in your awareness that come from all of that hard work, arriving in the form of wisdom, compassion, and forgiveness.
The gifts that you receive from your own transition may be instead the fulfillment of your wildest dreams or an opportunity that you never saw coming. So too, in these circumstances, are you offered the opportunity to work and look beneath the surface of what’s arrived. For there you may find lessons and wisdom in humility, grace, and perhaps even abundance.
As I mentioned, what approach we take to Life’s transitions offers us clues beneath the surface as well. As much as our transitions do, these clues offer us opportunity for growth and meaning. If you’ve chosen Denial as your strategy, perhaps that is inviting you to learn to be more honest with yourself. This strategy could also point to a need for you to start believing more fully in who you are and what you are capable of in your life and in the world.
Each strategy and the associated meaning beneath, can only truly be discerned by you. You know yourself better than anyone else in the world. If you’re patient and compassionate with yourself, you can learn even more. And that is true even if you don’t feel like looking at it for a while. There’s no need for judgment. Life patiently waits, offering more transitions and more opportunities for growth and expression.
For Life, on its end of our partnership with it, doesn’t deliver solely transitions. It carries with it on its magic carpet ride of motion within our lives, the opportunity to choose anew in each and every coming moment. The choice is ours to make.

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David Drew is a reporter for the Kalamazoo Gazette and mLive Media Group, covering Western Michigan University athletics and local high school sports.

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