Change change change… is anyone else feeling that pull at the moment?
Right now in my part of the world Autumn/Fall is in full swing, and leaves are dancing their way from the trees in the most beautiful colours.
But really those autumnal shades aren’t the only change we’re experiencing. In fact I don’t know about you, but it feels like the whole of my year has been about change.
Change in my circumstances, change in my mindset, and change in the way I’ve come to look at world.
That’s pretty unsurprising given that change is so often the only real certainty in our lives.
The seasons, the Moon, women’s bodies and our very lives – so much of the world within and around us is cyclical and is constantly changing. But the regularity of change doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to deal with.
Before training as a counsellor I started my working life in corporate communications. I know, the two seem worlds apart, but there are a lot of similarities, one of the biggest ones being the need to work with people through times of change.
So often when our lives change we’re expected just to get on with it. Whether a change of line manager in the office, a change of the hormones in our bodies or the loss of a relationship or situation we care about the advice is always the same “keep calm and carry on”.
Worst of all are those changes we make for ourselves – the relationships we leave or house moves we search for – those, the world tells us, we should be happy and comfortable with in the blink of an eye because, after all, we decided to make them.
But if all my experience in both counselling and communications has taught me anything, it’s that that is bullshit.
Just because change is frequent, that doesn’t mean we can deal with it effortlessly – or that we should.
In days gone by and yes, still today in some cultures we would truly honour the changes between life stages and chapters. That’s right, once upon a time house warmings, birthdays and funeral wakes were more than just an excuse to get drunk.
They were about ritualising the occasion; saying goodbye to what had been and welcoming in what was to come; and about holding space for everything that those things represented within us.
So as our patriarchal world tells us to carry on whenever things change, I’m encouraging you to rebel in your own quiet way – to give yourself space to feel a change, to prepare for and recover from it.
If you’re going through change at the moment allow yourself time to do that; as much time in fact to grieve the old and to truly feel the full force of what the change means for you as you do to be excited about the new and to deal with the practicalities of that change.
Yes that can be tough – it’s not just relationship break ups that require nights in front of the TV with a tub of ice cream and a good weepie movie – and it can be time consuming, which I know can seem almost impossible when you’re trying your damnedest just to make it through the transition and out to the other side.
But giving yourself the time and space to truly honour a transition is important.
It allows you to feel that excitement properly, and to move into this new phase of your life with more certainty of what you’re getting into, and fully equipped to do just that.
It helps you to honour what’s been – the good times and the painful ones – so that you can be sure you’ve carried forward all of that wisdom and learning into your new beginning.
And it gives you a real space to deal with anything and everything that threatens to hold you back; the things you’re scared to leave behind, and those that are so wonderful you’re really not ready to walk away from them in their entirety; making peace with your past and with the choices that are being made so that you can move forward freely.
How do you go about those transitions? That will be different for every single one of us but here are five things that have helped me through those changes – big and small – over the past year:
When you move on from something past, especially something that didn’t end so well, it can be all too easy to feel nothing but frustration, sadness, resentment and anger for the past.
But honestly? That won’t help you make peace with the past.
Instead try focusing your mind on everything you’ve gained from that situation; write a gratitude list specifically for the lessons you’ve learned, the things you’ve gained and for everything positive that you carry forward.
Then use things to remember that every step on your journey is important.
What do you want? And I really, really want? And how are you going to get there?
I’m not suggesting you put together a five year plan; but take some time during the transition to reflect on your goals for this next chapter of your life, on how you hope to get there, and on the values that are important for you to hold on to along the way.
Burn baby burn…
… or bury, or flush.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned by combining witchcraft and personal development on my journey so far, it’s that there is serious benefit to be found in burning what we no longer need!
Of course I’m not talking about setting fire to buildings, or anything big or particularly important to you. But by taking the time to write out the things, feelings, situations and experiences you’re ready to let go of and then setting fire to that list you’re not only changing your own energy around the situation, you’re also telling the wider Universe that you’re ready to let go and move forward.
Not one for burning? That’s OK, rip up the paper and bury it in the Earth, throw its (tiny – nothing that won’t break down easily!) bits into the sea or even flush them down the toilet if all else fails. This is all about letting go and handing the past over to nature to take care of.
Change is hard.
Just ask the pregnant woman, the grieving loved one or the healing patient. And that’s no less true for the seemingly smaller changes in our life too – the energy it takes to move away from the old, embrace the new and just process what’s going on is bloody tiring.
So instead of “keeping calm and carrying on” no matter what, for goodness’ sake take the time to rest.
Spend some time reflecting, make sure you’re getting your sleep, lean on the people you love to support you in all of the ways that they can; and yes, if a weekend-long Netflix binge on the sofa is what you need to replenish your energy then bloody well go for it!
Talk to someone
And remember that no matter how big or small the change your experiencing may look to an outsider, it is always always OK to ask for help.
Processing and working through change can be tough, but it’s never something you need go through alone.
Whether that means going to someone you love and asking them to listen and help you through that transition, or finding a safe space with a professional who can hold space throughout the journey, be sure to seek out whatever support you need to help you move through this change more easily.
And if that support is something you’d like me to get involved in, then by all means book up for your 30 minute introductory Soul Support or Soul-Centered Counselling session.