Working in the field of transformative change, and talking to people about change everyday, I was reflecting on the nature of 'change.' Here's our common definition of change: Change is bad. Unless what you have to change is really bad, and then Change is good.This
idea that change, in and of itself, is a negative thing can be easily seen all around us. You'll find it in your own head too... what is the first thing you say when someone says "I've lost my job"?
I'm not suggesting that my first response to that would be "oh, how wonderful!". But I do notice thatthe first response is almost never, "Is that a good thing or a bad thing for you?"
Don't you find that interesting?
That default definition, 'change is bad' just kicked in. And we have other ways of viewing change.
In another of our operating reactions to life, the purpose of change may not in itself be bad, but the purpose of change is to get rid of what is bad (about me, the world, what happens to me). That's very interesting too.
It assumes that we can always know what is good and what is bad, make a clear choice and then kick in the change mechanism.
Now, I'll be the first to say thatI am always operating out of what I judge to be good and bad. That's just human. (Not doing the dishes the night before and waking up to a dirty kitchen has got to be bad. Right?)
OK, so, totally true in my world. But it doesn't mean that it is in yours.
I'm not suggesting that it's all good and there is no such thing as bad. But I do think it is possible to become more philosophical and to see that we live within a bigger context called life.
Not everything that ever happened to us that we judged as bad, turned out to kill us. In fact sometimes, years on, it not only didn't kill us, it strengthened us in some way. Which doesn't mean everything is good no matter what, but it does mean that everything contributes to life in some way.
Or, everything is part of life.
Or... life just is.
Maybe time delivers us a fresh perspective, or distance shows us new vantage points, or we simply wake up, have a change of heart, or let go. However it happens, change happens.
Isn't that the same thing as saying: things are not always what they seem
? or There is no good or bad but thinking makes it so?
Since I'm not content with platitudes, here is what I'm reflecting on... if we could accept the nature of life is change, rather than certainty, wouldn't that make everything easier?
We could remain judging creatures, but begin to consider change natural, normal and perhaps sometimes welcome. It opens up the possibility of not having all the answers all the time - and being OK with that.
I am going to share a story that was sent to me in a longer version and that I passed on this week, in a completely bastardized and shortened version. You'll probably recognize it...
Two angels are walking the earth in human form and are taken in by a very poor farmer and his wife.
Now when angels come into form, their powers become more limited, and only experienced angels are empowered to intervene in cases of highest need and emergency.
Anyway, when they wake up in the morning the farmer's only cow has died. The farmer and wife are distraught that their only source of milk and some small income has gone forever. Not only that, they've given most of what they had in provisions to their two house guests. They are destitute.
The younger angel, whose miracle powers are strictly limited, says to the elder angel - "How did you let this happen? They sheltered us for the night and gave us everything even though they had so very little. Surely you should have intervened on their behalf. Now they have nothing!"
He becomes very discouraged and also angry at the cruel misjudgment of his teacher.
As they set off down the road, the more he considers this wrong decision not to intervene on the part of his mentor angel, the more upset he becomes.
Finally after a long period of walking together the gentle elder said, "Things are not always as they seem little angel," for he had been receiving the silent snarls with kindness and understanding.
"Last night another angel dropped by, " he said, "it was the angel of Death coming for the wife," he paused, "I gave him the cow." This week on the show: GET OFF YOUR OWN BACK
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