And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin
Everything changes. What was once secure, even partially, will eventually no longer be. The good, the bad, the black, gray or white. All circumstances will change, and change again. I’ve come to understand that dictum, overused and perhaps disbelieved by some, is an authentic truth. Some rock and roll song of my past reminds me: “Change will do you good.” How many of us want to buy that line? Which ones of us willingly trust-and-jump when life shifts and there is no choice but to change? Who among us will brave the doubt and uncertainty when the job doesn’t support, the relationship is abusive, health fails, the living conditions are detrimental?
Gilda Radner called this “delicious ambiguity” – the not knowing, having to change without being aware of an outcome, and more importantly a positive one we desire. I’ve recently resigned my job as lead cook in a care facility. The position included planning, shopping and preparing three meals a day (both regular and vegetarian choices) for 40 people –serving and cleanup also. Though I have done this part time, the toll it has exacted on my physical body has been immense. I’ve justified the discomfort knowing I was gainfully employed while others were not. I believed I made a difference in the lives of the residents I nurtured with food and care. I felt security in a bimonthly paycheck as well as a place in the world. But the time arrived when I knew in body, mind and soul that trusting change was no longer an option. That decision was my only choice.
A close sister-friend of mine wrestles with similar choices. Work she envisioned in a new, dynamic city has lost its gleam and failed to provide adequately for her. Perhaps more importantly she hasn’t been given reign to express her full potential, nor has she been respected for her astute and insightful contributions in the workplace. Change is upon her, she knows it, and yet it is my observation that trepidation stands guard over her being as she struggles to take a leap of faith. I could be wrong; my own intuition is no substitute for hers. As humans we often look for answers outside ourselves. Sometimes we are paralyzed by change and its implications. Choices and decisions are mind and gut wrenching. The waves of fear ripple through us as a mighty storm, and in our suffering we cease to trust our soul’s map of divine direction.
I was in love once with a man who told me he would never change; he liked the way he was. Changing was my responsibility in the relationship. Amending who I was became the norm, for losing the connection to him would have been devastating to me. And it was — for a time. I learned yet again that soul invites us to grow, and most often that development is painful. Leaning on friends and family supported me, but persevering through the distress of not knowing was what my soul required. I was being asked to change, to be ready and ultimately able to step into the unknown, for “one does not find new land without being willing to lose sight of the shore.” We discover sooner or later, change will do you good.