Change is hard

Just had a realisation as I was driving tonight. I am sharing it because maybe it will be of help to others going through tough times in life.

The realisation was this: change is hard. I’m not talking about here and there changing a little – the fine tuning change. I am talking about the no-stone-left-unturned re-looking at your life, business or innovation with a completely new set of eyes. This kind of change is an involved, pro-active intense process that requires all your wits and energy. If it comes easy, it is probably either not real change or you didn’t really give it your all the first time around. The kind of change that we are most afraid of is the kind that will exhaust us, that requires us to discard all the assumptions and knowledge boxes that we packed diligently in the first run.

The good news is that to be afraid of this kind of change is absolutely normal and should be expected. It means you cared about the sweat, tears and blood you sacriced the first time around.

It means that when your marriage, your relationship, your job, your research project, your business is on the rocks it is easy to understand why so often we resist the real deep change that the stale situation requires. You don’t buy a bunch of roses and hope all your relationship issues are fixed. Real change means having to dig up uncomfortable truths – very often very personal truths that often reflect on us intimately. In our businesses, real change means confronting the reality that we might have made the wrong decisions. Not someone else. We. Real change is exhausting because it feels as all the energy we spent is now wasted.

The even better news is that by the time real change is required what we often feel is thus a wasted effort invested in round one, is actually the best fertilizer for your next round. Do not dismiss the value of what you have learned – irrespective of the outcome – out of your journey. I spent many painful years handling false starts and the corresponding emotional weight these carried. I encourage each of us to welcome change for the opportunity it is to become that which you can truly be. In the words of Oriah:

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty
every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,

2 thoughts on “Change is hard

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