Monday, December 26, 2011

Is it time to change how you approach change?

"The key to change is to let go of fear." - Roseanne Cash
Not easy for some people, and I am one of them. I like things comfortable and familiar. I like to know what to expect. I like the "norm." Even when the norm isn't good, I still prefer it to the unknown.

Some people get excited about the unknown. The adventure of something new. I envy those people.

Objectively, I see the benefit of change. And realistically, I know life is all about change and you can't avoid it even if you try. Nothing stays the same - EVER.

Not all change is for the better. But we do well to see the opportunity of change, even when we don't ask for it or want it.

My friend Brenda recently wrote a wonderful post on her blog Passionate Pursuits. Her post was thoughtful and reflective, and wasn't specifically about change, but it made me think about it in a roundabout way. She talked about events in life, broken down into three parts--the beginning, the middle and the end. It was really eye opening for me to think about life events in terms of parts. When I ponder change, I realize I tend to focus on the ending aspect.

I'm sure my focus on endings is a result of my own life experiences and one reason why I resist change so much. If you read my blog regularly, you know that my father was in the Army so we moved around a lot. Each move was about a new location, a new house, new friends, a new school, and new activities.

That's a whole lotta new. A lot of beginnings.  At the time, I enjoyed this. At least I thought I did. But once I got older, I began to crave stability.

I dig the middle. No change involved there. That's where I'm good.

So it's not ALL about saying "goodbye" it's about feeling in control. When you know what to expect, you feel in control. When you are in control, nothing bad will happen.

That is clearly an illusion, but it's funny how the human brain works. Fear is created when we don't even realize it. Fear that keeps us stuck in old patterns and behaviors, unable to move forward.

And mine is clearly fear of change.

"Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't. - Steve Maraboli

How do YOU feel about change?

With another new year about to begin, and many people making their New Year's resolutions, this seemed like a good question to ponder.

Predictably, I leave you with this song by David Bowie. You can't write about change without THIS one going through your mind! It's still one of my favorites.


  1. I love change. But my hubby does not. He loves routine.

    So, I hear what you're saying. It's hard to break from our routines because the outcome is unknown. It's genuinely scary.

    But the alternative is being ruled by fear. Thoughts?

  2. I'm with you where I like things to be comfortable and stable. But I have come to embrace change more than I used to since I've seen positive results from it. A few years ago I had a realization that once I made a big change and conquered the fear, I wasn't as scared of change anymore. I hope you have the same experience. It is truly freeing.

  3. Well, Michael know I hate change...and I've reached the point of trying to figure out why. Bad childhood experiences...bad adulthood capers? It doesn't's the resistance that counts, and that's what always comes around and kicks me square in the bum. Then it's often laughable. I can't control everything, but by golly, I sure jump through some antics trying. Good luck on your journey, too.

  4. Mommybot, you are lucky change comes easy to you. You are a good balance for your hubby. I always do better when I have someone cheering me on to make a change when they/I know it is a good one. I bet you are helpful to him. Fear...Leah you are right. When I have gone through the fear and made the change, I look back and go, "Why was I so afraid?" I realize fear holds me back a lot and I am really focusing on that recently and hopefully in the new year. I am learning that Fear is just an emotion and everyone feels it. Knowing I am not so alone in this actually helps. And knowing if others can move through it anyway, so can I. Barb...control is a struggle. I am slowly learning to let go of many things. It takes shift in thinking for sure.

  5. I don't think I fear change as much as I fear the unknown. This may go along with my control issues! I can adapt to any change as long as I have some reassurance about the outcome.
    It's funny you picked this topic when you did, Michael Ann. I've been losing sleep the past few days with issues eating me alive, from the inside out. It's time to release the fear and ride the tide!

  6. I encourage everyone to read an old book by Richard Bach called Illusions - especially the parable at the beginning. In my mind, ability to embrace change is all about perspective - understanding yours, understanding others', and being comfortable with seeing multiple perspectives.

    As Morpheus said in The Matrix, "Free your mind..."

  7. I love comfy and stable. Both hubby and I like change but like the way things are we are planners for sure. Maybe it's our old Hope you had a great xmas.

  8. I used to love change, but as I love my life more and more, change scares me. If I wish for change, will I wish away something good? Or will things just get better?

  9. I think I used to fear change much more than I do now. I'm learning to approach life like I'm riding a horse...I'm in the rider's seat, but sometimes the horse just goes where it wants to. I can fall off, hang on, or just enjoy the ride. I find that I do all three of those...and also try to take dep breaths, think about the lesson that is before me, and try to put myself out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. The more I do that, the stronger I feel, and the more I know I am in control of my life no matter what change throws at me.

  10. ---I like beginnings...not endings.

    I am not good w/ change, especially when it HURTS...

    Great Post. Xx Kiss

  11. Hi Michael Ann, merry Christmas!
    I totally agree with this post, I fear change.
    I need to look at it differently...thanks for the reflection and happy new year!!

  12. Oh, change and I are not friends. I REALLY like to know what is happening and how it is going to happen. I honestly don't know if I could change that thought process. That's one part of me that I think I just have to embrace.

  13. Fear - A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc..., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
    Oh yeah, I am a big chicken when it comes to change. But with some self-coaching I usually do okay. It's the permanent change (life) I have a hard time with. New years resolutions....they can be kept or they can be forgotten. I usually make it till about March. I wonder if I can do better this year....???

  14. Well, Michael Ann, my comment is a foregone conclusion. I kind of like that topsy-turvy ground of change. It's where I am the strongest, most fearless, and most creative. It's not where I always shine, but it's where I find life to be the most intriguing. I do get bored with the in between. I'm not sure what that says about me, but theme the facts. I do believe there is a story in the those phases with each bringing some new wisdom that is necessary... And thank you kindly for the mention, and for everything else.

  15. Love the video, and the Roseanne quote. Good ones

  16. I used to carry around and refer often to a quote that began with " woMan is at his best in the face of the unknown..." (I added the 'wo' bit). I don't think I embraced change and the unknown when I was young, change that wasn't brought about by me, but once I was free to make my own decisions, I plunged right in and planned my ventures into the unknown with excitement and in anticipation of the learning I would undertake and the resources (inner) I would discover and use. I wanted to know what I didn't know and how would I would react to it.

    Any fear was often mitigated by visualisation, which I use a lot, so even though I readily enter the unknown, I have already seen or decided what the future looks like, so it's like an anchor on the path ahead, working towards something stable and sure ahead of me. Even if it doesn't turn out like I have foreseen, it is a way of influencing or being more comfortable with how things will turn out, rather than being totally at its mercy.

    Your post reminded me of the wonderful short essay found at the back of Kate Chopin's novel 'The Awakening', it is a reflection that I love and relate to both 'standing at the wayside' and being 'part of the march'.

  17. The biggest change for me was moving here, anything else was just a breeze! I do love changes, but it's the routing that makes me comfortable!

  18. I often find myself clinging to the known, even if the unknown might be far better. As far as the parts of change, I am reminded of the saying that things will be okay in the end so if they are not okay, you haven't reached the end yet. Thanks again for a wonderfully thought-provoking post Michael Ann.

  19. Great post. I had read Brenda's piece and loved it, so it's nice to see how you expanded upon it.

    I'm ambiguous about change. Not sure I like it, but recognizing I can only advance in my career, my life, by embracing change. Change. It's not going to go away. Given this, my feeling is, just go with the flow. I do like the quote about taking control of what you do have power over. The piece I wrote for HuffPo mentions how it was only when I took control did I get back my own power over me and my life.

  20. LOVE that song. I have to say, I am not fond of change, though right now, I'm craving it. I want to take my life in a new direction. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to up and halt everything I'm doing. I have people who rely on me, people who expect me to provide certain things. Because of this, I have to persevere in what I'm doing. I hope change finds its way into your life in a positive way. Happy New Year!!!!

  21. I've always moved alot. we have been here in CA now for 2 1/2 years and a part of me is ready to uproot. but...I am also enjoying the deeper friendships that I rarely have enough time to make.
    Thank you for your comment on my blog.

  22. Great thought-provoking post Michael Ann. I'm learning, especially in this last year, that even positive changes (ones you want to happen or that you chose to make) are difficult. Though I'm grateful for all of those great changes, I am definitely a creature of habit and I think that makes changes stressful for me. That said, I do get cabin fever from time to time, and a little change is sometimes the right rememdy! Happy New Year!

  23. I like to create and control changes. I like to be in charge of change. I especially seek change that will benefit my pocket book.

  24. Michael Ann, as you know, I love change. I embrace it, welcome it, and rejoice when it greets me. However, I respect other people's need to take change one step at a time. Transition does not come easy for all of us. Hence, we have to go at our own pace; baby steps. My nana used to tell me that change brings new opportunities, challenges, and the chance to reinvent yourself. Perhaps if you look at it this way, it won't seem so scary. Wishing you the best in 2012! :)

  25. I love change, I hate Change and sometiems I break down from change. But life is always changing and you can either sit back and watch it, or jump in and help change it!

  26. Strangely, I am all up for huge changes but really hate small ones. Also, I'm a little bit crazy.

  27. Change is hard. I am going through something right now that I don't want, all because I didn't stop and listen to what my love needed and I said good bye, because I was afraid to get hurt yet again. Afraid of the change he might have wanted, that he didn't want, just wanted to talk through.

    Change and fear go hand in hand. Fear can cause change, even what you don't want.

    Any chance you will begin blogging again? You are a wonderful writer with good stories that resonate with me and my life at this stage.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thank you, anonymous. Your comment touched my heart. This post was the last I wrote before I went through a HUGE life change, and during this time I've sort of lost my motivation to write. I have left my blog here on the chance that motivation might come back. I feel small stirrings but I'm not sure. Thank you for letting me know I have reached you with my writing, that means a lot. I am sorry for the sadness and pain you are experiencing right now.

    2. I truly hope you're moved back to writing here - the Internet isn't the same without you.

  29. Just checking in to see how you are and if the spirit moves you, the stirring grew stronger, to start writing again, if the changes brought you what you were searching for, the peace and fullness of life, the love, the happiness, all of us deserve. And how the changes gave new focus for you and your family.

    I wish I could write but that is not one of the gifts I was given. Give me a piece of music and that changes.

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