Not So Unexpected Changes – Learning to Embrace Change Rather than Avoid It.

Despite what I would like to think, change isn’t something that just suddenly happens. Change is a process. It ebbs and it flows. As you know if you have been following me on Facebook or Instagram I have been going through some pretty significant change this month and making a lot of discoveries about how I handle change. I wanted to share the full story with you all because I feel like I learn best from experiences even if they aren’t my own and I hope my story can help you identify your own habits where change is involved.

I want to start out by saying that change is not my favorite thing. I am very happy to just stay inside my little bubble of perceived routine. This change that I am experiencing now is not something that has come out of left field, taking me by surprise and causing me to make a quick decision. It is a change that I have been aware of for well over a month now. What makes it new and different for me is that my own change is being spurred be a change in one of the lives of my good friends.

My friend Michele is moving out of the country and it is all happening a lot faster than we originally expected. Michele is exceptional at flowing with change and going where she is called to go so when the timeline sped up she didn’t even bat an eye. Me on the other hand . . . not so much. It is my innate response when I feel things are moving too fast and the pressure is building I tend to slow down and back off of what I think I ought to be doing. I don’t necessarily do this consciously but when I look back I can see it very clearly.

About two weeks ago this was the state I was in. I found myself falling into an unmotivated funk that I couldn’t understand at the time. After I spent an entire day reading and ignoring my responsibilities my horse, Scout, decided to enlighten me.

When I woke up the morning after my day of reading I  had a text from Michele saying that she had woken up to find Scout outside of the paddock. When she went out to investigate later she found that he had pulled down most of the upper paddock when he got out. This concerned both of us because he was going to be moving to a new place soon that  only had electric. He had gotten out a couple of times before but had recently been very good about respecting the fence. I told her I would check in with him and see if I could figure out what was going on.

It turns out what I thought was about him really ended up being about me. When I first sat down to meditate with him I didn’t get much because my brain was in the way. I was worrying too much about the “implications” of his actions and how they would affect the move. When I finally calmed myself down to connect with him I kept getting the sense from him that with this breakout he was trying to bring my attention to something. From there I got the sense that he was trying to make the situation real. He was trying to make me come to terms with the fact that he was ready to move and it was time for me to make sure I was. He made me aware of the fact that I was separating myself from the fact that the change was happening, both with myself and Michele. I had been kind of sticking my head in the sand and not fully acknowledging it. He then delivered the sucker punch:

She has been so influential in your life but it is time for you to step into your own knowing and believe that you are fully capable of making these decisions on your own. It is time for you to rely on you.

In essence, he broke out of the paddock to bring attention to the fact that I needed to break out of the pattern of avoidance that I was following around this change and start making the decisions I needed to make to move him.

This opened me up to the next lesson in this whole series of events which was to trust myself and not get caught up in my mind.

Because he had broken out of the electric fence I was now feeling really unsure about the place that I was planning on moving him because it also would only have electric and he was going to be there by himself for a while. Michele had also suggested to me after he broke out that he may need a busier, more stimulating environment where I could ride and work with him more.

Not knowing what to do, I worked myself up into quite the anxious worried mess over the next couple of days trying to figure out what the “right” decision was. I over-analyzed every thought and feeling trying to find the answer. I knew I should try and take this opportunity to learn how to better handle change but I couldn’t figure out how to stop myself from over thinking everything and get out of my head. I was making a mountain out of a mole-hill.

After a few days of this I was finally able to have a long conversation with Michele about everything I was feeling. She told me that it was all about identifying what I needed and then gathering information without letting my brain run away with me. In talking through everything with her I also became aware that Scout didn’t really care where he was as long as I was there and I was able to work with him more than I had been. This was all about me, as it had been from the very beginning.

And then – once again – the kicker of the lesson was delivered. Michele and I realized that I had misunderstood her. When she had suggested to me that she thought Scout would need a busier environment I had interpreted it as permanently and, because I trust her and value her opinion, I changed my plan and began looking at other places than what I had planned. What she had actually meant was that she thought he needed to be at a busier place until he was no longer going to be alone at the place I had originally planned on moving him to.

In this situation I trusted her more than I trusted myself and even though our plans ended up lining up in the end I still let her opinion change my mind about something that I had felt was the right decision. My anxiety over this whole problem stemmed from the fact that I held her opinion over mine. In our talk I realized this and she also pointed it out to me as well.

It all circles back to the message that my very wise horse gave me about stepping into my own knowing and relying on myself. I am happy to say that I am far less anxious than I was for those few days and am continuing to learn more and more about how to better handle change.

One of the strategies that has been helping me is to be present in change. One of the things that I struggled with during those anxious few days was that I was spending most of my time trying to figure out what the future was going to look like after the change than I did actually working through the change and taking the steps I needed to take. I talk about this more in this Crystal Tip Tuesday video on my Facebook page.

Another realization that I have gleaned from this whole experience is that change isn’t an event. It doesn’t have a beginning and an end. Throughout this process I have been thinking and acting like this decision I was making was a final decision and I couldn’t change it. Subconsciously my mind was telling me that I had to make the “right” decision because I wouldn’t be able to change it. This stemmed from a fear of being wrong.

The last thing I want to share with you all is what I learned about vulnerability. I have procrastinated writing this piece even though I told you all on my Facebook page and in that video that I would have it to you by then of last week. I could lie to you all and tell you it is because I have been busy with all the changes that are happening but the truth is that I had plenty of time. I have been avoiding it because I was scared of exposing my vulnerability. I felt like I was exposing weakness to all of you by admitting in writing just how anxious and out of control I felt and still feel somewhat. Exposing your vulnerabilities to others, I have realized, also opens you up more fully to yourself exposing all of your fears not just the ones that you are choosing to share. They all want to be acknowledged but often times we don’t know how to do that so we lock them away. There is something very freeing about sharing or exposing your vulnerabilities, even if it is just with yourself. Sit down and ask yourself what makes you feel exposed; What don’t you want other people to see? From there you can work through why you feel that way and move towards fully acknowledging and accepting what you are afraid of.

I strongly believe that all the work I have been doing with my stones this year has prepared me for this series of changes that are occurring. I have written about self-love, forgiveness and fear and all of the strategies and stones involved in that work have acted as support for me in the last couple of weeks and onward.

I wanted to share this experience with you all because we all experience change and if  my experience and the lessons that I have learned can help someone else than I want to share them. If you have any questions or just need someone to bounce your ideas about change off of please don’t hesitate to contact me. I am happy to help in any way that I can.

Namaste