A Whole New World: The Power of Embracing Change

Oct 30, 2011 by

A Whole New World: The Power of Embracing Change

Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change – this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress. ~ Bruce Barton

Change is one of those words that invokes a lot of emotions: fear, excitement, loss, hope. It’s very easy to say we want things to change, but it seems like nine times out of ten we rarely do anything to bring it about. We react when it approaches by skittering back into the smaller way we were living before.

Part of us craves change. We make lists every New Year of all the things we want to change about ourselves—but year after year goes by and we rarely allow the change to occur.

When things change without our input, when events conspire against us to force us into change, we often find ourselves reeling, wondering where the firm footing is, and how to get back to “normal.”

But what change does—whether we consciously institute it or not–is give us a new normal. The challenge is never to go back—life isn’t about retreating—but learning how to go forward and embrace the changes we’ve had in our lives.

My life has changed radically this year. When January rang in, I was working at a job where I felt stifled and unappreciated. I had put things in motion, hoping they would come to fruition to change my life, but I had no certainty it would. February brought with it a new role that I found myself embracing, finding pieces of the path I knew I wanted strewn along it, and for a while I thought that maybe I could just lean into this new role, to play it safe, stay where I was and say this had been the change I wanted all along.

By June, though, I knew that I couldn’t stay where I was. The first months of the year were transformative in so many ways—I learned a lot about myself, about the things I would accept and the things I wouldn’t. Staying in a place where I felt isolated, where my greatest work and gifts were unappreciated and I was chastised for exercising my creativity and problem-solving skills was not something I could do.

I wasn’t meant to be a worker bee, keeping my head down and denying who I was and the things I was good at doing.

So, I quit my job, which everyone thought was insane. Who quits a position as an attorney unless they are moving to practicing a different kind of law? I wasn’t—in fact, I went back to school. From a lawyer’s salary to that of a teaching assistant was a huge adjustment—a big change I had to handle, but I’ve embraced it, and learned that money truly doesn’t make you happy.

Not only did I quit my job, but I uprooted my whole life and moved from Nevada back to the East Coast. I had finally made friends in the Silver State, and it wasn’t easy to leave them, but leaving is what my soul was calling for, and so leave I did.

Everything is different: new job, new home, new city, new friends (and some old ones I reconnected with). I’ve had to learn to set my own schedule and make all those extensions out to new people to try and build a new social circle. I’ve had to remind myself what I’m doing and find focus inside myself to juggle my writing students, my new coursework and my new endeavor.

Because on top of all the other change, I finally took the leap and stepped out into the world of entrepreneurship, which is a whole other level of learning how to see and work within the world.

I’m not going to lie—it’s occasionally terrifying. But–

I’m not going to lie—I’ve never been happier. Never.

I wake up each day and I know that today I get to learn something, and I get to teach something—I get to help people learn to tell their stories and to make meaning from them and in their lives. I get to watch as people take the first steps toward living their dream like I’m living mine. I get to challenge people who are playing small and safe, and I get to speak my mind and be listened to and feel that what I say makes a difference.

I get to live in a beautiful city filled with changing colors and old brick homes that stand among ancient oaks across the street from modern art. I am surrounded by tradition and forward movement.

I have the ties to old friends that I’m renewing, and have made new ones for whom I get to be exactly who I am.

I wake up each day and the life I step into is one of my own design. The possibilities are unlimited, and for the first time in years I feel like I can breathe full, deep breaths again.

It’s a whole new world, full of dazzling possibilities, and I made it happen. I took the leap, and now every day I see the world of my dreams opening up before me.

Sometimes the only thing to do with change is to step into it, embrace it, and let it take you over. Move forward, step by step, on a new and maybe scary path, and let your heart lead you in that direction. If you don’t like where you are, or who you are, the only way to make it better is to allow for change, to be the catalyst for it in your life.

And then watch as the world opens up for you.

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