Dear Dr. Norquist:
I have always had trouble dealing with change. My mom used to say that I so vehemently refused to let go of my winter coat each spring that she allowed me to wear it well into the warmer months, until I was willing to let go of it. I have had many changes this past year, and I am still fighting them. I lost my roommate and had to move to a new apartment with people I don’t know. My father died after a long fight with cancer. I got a new boss who I’m not sure likes my work. And, to top it all off, my dog, who I loved dearly, passed away two weeks ago. Some days I just want to scream. I loved my dad and my dog and I really enjoyed and felt safe with my prior roommate and boss. Why did it have to change? Seems as soon as I get things the way I like them something happens to mess it up. I want things the way they were. I’m very frustrated and unhappy with all these changes in my life.
Dr. Norquist responds:
Life is a series of changing conditions that are imposed on us. If we cannot adapt to these changes, we will drown – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Things can never stay constant. It is not the way of the world. If we do not move forward with the changes, we will be moving backward.
All of our personal and spiritual growth emerges from how we navigate shifting inner and outer conditions. Life is a dynamic process. It will carry us with it, whether we go kicking and screaming or by learning to flow with it. Flowing with it entails letting go of our attachments to what has been and accepting what is now in our lives. We only have this present moment.
Life’s forward movement delivers you to your own organic healing process. Your own healing process is available now, if you are willing and able to listen to that still inner voice. Change is to be welcomed, as it is the essence of an enlivened life. My suggestion is for you to develop a daily practice of consciously welcoming change in your life. Welcoming change is the antidote to your current frustration and unhappiness. It will bring great peacefulness and contentment into your life despite changing circumstances.
(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.)Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanya.com or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax at (201) 656-4700. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. 2012 Chaitanya Counseling Services