Updated: Aug 28, 2020
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Rumi
I embrace change today like a baby getting a diaper change: arms flailing, legs kicking, screaming with my hands covered in, well…you get the idea.
When did change become so dreadful?
I mean, change was never easy, but I could maneuver through switchbacks like an Olympic slalom skier.
From high school to college to work. No problem.
From pager to blackberry to cell phone. No problem.
From country to rock to rap. No problem.
From single to married to divorced. No problem.
Hell, I even managed from Clinton to Bush to Obama.
But now I resist change like the rebel princess in Star Wars. At some point, I drew a line in the sand.
Is this what 50 does to a person? Do age and experience bring an aversion to accepting change?
I can feel my mind closing and to be honest, it scares me.
An article in the Harvard Business Review by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, outlined the reasons people resist change.
Loss of control. Excess uncertainty. Concerns about competence. Loss of face. Past resentments.
Check. Check. Check. Check. Check.
Sometimes the threat is too real.
“Now we get to true pain and politics. Change is resisted because it can hurt,” Kanter wrote.
How do I open myself up to change without exposing myself to pain? How do I remain teachable while holding on to my core values? When am I standing up for what I believe as opposed to being defiant for defiance's sake?
I don’t have all the answers. Maybe that’s an excellent place to start.
I was thinking about a photographer friend who shared one of his stratagems for taking an interesting photo.
Line up the shot you want to take, do a complete 180 and snap another photo. You would be surprised how often the 180-photo turns out much more compelling than the original, he said.
Maybe the key to this change stuff is doing the complete opposite. Instead of resisting change, I should practice surrendering to it.
Despite what you may think, surrender is not weakness, failure, or defeat. It is powerful. As a practice, it has helped ease my mind, relieved my burdens, and brought me peace in many other aspects of my life. Perhaps this is no different.
There are many great resources out there to help guide the practice of surrender. Stay in the moment. Relax the body. Be patient. Be grateful. And most importantly for me, keep an open mind.
So the next time I need a diaper change, instead of playing in the pooh I’ll do my best to surrender and heed the words of Einstein.
“The world, as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”