Change. It’s the for-real “Big C.” The one we ALL will face many, many times in our lives…and sometimes half a dozen times even before breakfast.
Why are we so afraid of it? That’s what I’ve spent the last 20 years exploring. First as a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, just stringing together some days, then months, then—God willing—years of sobriety. Next as a questioning person seeking enlightenment in my continued journey of self discovery and health. And then for the past four years professionally as I’ve studied and worked in the sandbox of health coaching.
Fear. Anxiety. The unknown. It’s a crap shoot. So facing it brings out our worst. Our insecurities. Our doubt. Mistrust. Victimized mindset. Anger even. It’s all so stressful. Change is standing at a door, handle grasped, surge of momentum pressing up against our back, no choice but to open the door and enter.
Because we don’t know what we’re entering, anything is possible. Our instinct is to try to figure it all out. What does it mean? What’s going to happen? Our primitive minds drive us into survivalist mode. So we expect and prepare for the worst, trying to chew all the possibilities up in one mouthful. (That sounds suffocating. For real.)
Even when change is of our own choosing, often we are haunted by it.
One thing I’ve learned through addiction recovery, through exploration of my deepest self, through intimately working with others, is that change, broken down into its incremental moments of right now is totally doable. Even if the aggregate, long-view change is not of our choosing. Right now. This moment. I got this.
In this moment of change, I know EXACTLY what I’m dealing with. It’s in front of me. It’s conscious. Known. Tangible, sometimes, even. What is to fear in something that is no longer unknown?
In this moment, I can own the change. This moment is actionable. I have choice. I am empowered. “Anything” has become “this.” I can do THIS. I’m gonna make THIS my bitch.
Another thing I’ve learned through my journey is that I am in charge.
I have learned to own my shit 97.4% of the time. (The other 2.6%, momentarily I’m wallowing in it, trying hard to fling it across the cheeks of others, when suddenly I …ohhhhh, shiiiiiit! This is MY shit up to my knees. Shit. Shit. Shit. I’ve got to deal with this shit. ME. Because it ain’t my mom’s job anymore—or anyone else’s.) Owning my shit means owning my flaws, mistakes and missteps in addition to my position in life, at that moment, by my choice or by circumstance.
When I have that moment of feeling like things are out of control. That I’m unhappy with the outcome of something. Uncomfortable with what I feel has been thrust upon me. It’s time to acknowledge that what I’m dealing with is a change that just isn’t of my choosing. Time to be open. Time to go ahead and make that my bitch too.
I can’t wish myself into losing 5 pounds of body fat. I can’t ask you to do it for me. I can’t take a pill. Read a book. Or visualize it into being (although I lovvvvve a good visualization exercise for setting intent). And I can’t lose it all at once.
I have to put action behind my desire. In this moment.
I will sip my green tea right now because it is here. I chose it 20 minutes ago because it’s good for me and I enjoy it. And in the moment of my next nutrition decision, I will be in charge of making that best choice for myself because I will know what it is then.
What I can’t do right now is think about this weekend and the fact that I’ll be out of town, dining out more than usual. Or that my Thanksgiving meal this year is being prepared by others. What quality of ingredients will they use? Where will the hidden pitfalls be?
The reality is, RIGHT NOW, all of those factors ARE hidden. They are unknown. They are part of the “anything.” Focusing on that is fraught with anxiety. At each moment of this weekend, or around the Turkey Day table, I will know my choices. I will own that I am in charge. Then. In that moment. When it comes. IF it comes. (We are guaranteed nothing. Another belief I value deeply.)
So if, say, an election happened recently, and people are unhappy with it. First with the choices of candidates, now with who won or who didn’t. It’s time to put the grown-up panties on. Come on. You know you have a pair. They may be tight. Or well worn. But lets all put them on.
The change was inevitable. It was coming our way under the leadership of Clinton or of Trump. It came our way with Obama. And a few Bushes and a prior Clinton as well. Plus the 40 who preceded them.
In the moment of this morning, our change came into more focus. We now know Trump is our President-elect. How do I handle that? Crap. Here comes that anxiety. That fear. Even those who voted for him feel it. Theirs is just tinged with a bit of positive excitement. But they still don’t know what’s coming. None of us do. What’s it really going to be like?
The point is, we don’t know. We can’t know. So it’s futile, fruitless, to react to something that hasn’t happened yet. It’s going to be change. Revealed as it is revealed. Just like every other change in our lives. In our world. In this existence.
What it’s like in this moment, for me, is that I’m writing my first blog in a year, sipping green tea. Which is now getting cold. Perhaps it’s time for a new brewing.
And maybe it IS time for a new brewing. Ours. Mine. Yours. Let’s try to live in this moment. We should be so lucky to be given the next one.
More will be revealed. Be open. Own your shit. Live in the moment. And, oh yeah, spit out that mouthful and breathe, people. Breathe.