Change is a constant factor in our world but few know how to successfully circumnavigate unwanted events or issues that show up in life. During our four decades together, Dean Evenson and I have discovered some helpful tips on how to sail through changes of life’s inevitable ups and downs and move forward in a positive way. Today, we share some of those ideas with you.
Years ago, we were living in an old farmhouse in upstate New York with some fellow video artists. We had recently learned the concept of ‘go with the flow’ but hadn’t really had a chance to put this principle into action. Soon we got our opportunity. Our landlord decided to evict us – and we found ourselves facing a cold winter with no apparent place to go. We decided to apply our newly discovered principle and allow ourselves to ‘flow with the changes’.
Instead of complaining about our predicament, we said to ourselves ‘there must be something better coming along’ and we prepared to move forward. Our neighbors and friends were very surprised at our attitude and watched us as we approached a big transition in our living situation without knowing where it would take us. Fortunately, we ended up finding another country house near Woodstock, New York that was large enough for us and a few others. We packed up and moved our whole household there just in time to beat the winter snow. From then on, with every change that came our way, we kept a positive attitude and things always got better.
Years later, we heard Dr. Deepak Chopra explaining what he calls ‘the sea of infinite possibilities.’ We were very inspired by his approach to being open to and actually benefiting from change. He said that since we never know what’s in store for us and sometimes so-called ‘bad’ things happen, we often resist them and let our fears rule us. He suggested we imagine behind us a sea of infinite possibilities, ever undulating and evolving that is always ready to present us with favorable choices. He pointed out that fear, worry and getting upset cause these potentials to freeze up and block the flow the universe is able to provide for us.
Sometimes our life is out of our control, at least for the moment. Big social events and personal or family issues may sweep us into an unknown not-of-our choosing. Suffering happens. Old age, sickness and death are common forms of suffering first recognized by Buddha. As young Prince Siddhartha, he had never seen such things until one day he escaped the confines of the palace and came across those very conditions. He was horrified and commenced on a quest for understanding how to overcome suffering. In his process, he underwent many trials and tribulations before coming across meditation, the Middle Path and the peace of a quiet mind. The first step in the Eightfold Path he postulated is ‘Right Perception’.
When things happen that are not to our liking, often the only thing we have control over is our own perception of the situation and how we react to it. When we can embrace change and tap into the ever evolving sea of infinite possibilities, we open to the opportunity of transforming what we initially perceive as a negative, into something much more positive. By simply keeping an optimistic attitude, we find ourselves working with the universal flow instead of against it. This in not to suggest letting yourself be randomly blown by the wind. Instead, no matter that happens, it is important to stay focused on your principles, values and goals. They are your moral compass and the direction your path is heading, no matter a few swerves in the road. By having a clear sense of purpose, when challenges do arise that you don’t have immediate control over, you can take a deep breath, pick yourself up, face the direction of your dreams and move on.
We would love to hear how you have learned to cope with change in your life. Let us know what tools you have used to keep going when unexpected or unwanted things happen in your life. Remember, when you comment here on our blog, we’ll send you a free mp3 track of our music as thank you.