The Practice of Being Present
Making Changes, Times of Transition
There are times in our lives when we know we need to make a change. Sometimes the reason for the change is obvious; sometimes the change in itself that we need to make is clear. Sometimes , though, we just have a sense or a feeling that we need to make a change. For example, that an old situation no longer fits us, or is no longer right for us; that our growth lies in making a change, moving on and doing something new.
In these times of transition it is not unusual that even when we are trying to break free from old patterns, old patterns seem to be activated, and to get in the way. Times of transition are times of uncertainty, instability and sometimes, insecurity. Since we are always, at some level, trying to create security, there will sometimes be a default return to old, familiar patterns. Sometimes this will be evident in familiar, limiting fears and beliefs rising up to create self-doubt or anxiety, a perception that we're taking too big a risk, or just a sense that it is too difficult. Sometimes we become aware that part of us is holding on to what we are really wanting to let go of
Sometimes, we are so ready for change, so "done" with an old situation, so energized by the idea of doing things differently, feeling better, achieving our goals, that the transition is simple and easy. But other times change, transition, take energy and effort, commitment and perseverance as well as courage. The logistics of what we need to do in those situations don't change, regardless of our emotional reactions or our beliefs. But it sure can be a lot easier and simpler to do when we are not reacting to the process of transition with negative thoughts and feelings. It frees us up to simply do the work rather than get bogged down in internal conflict.
Sometimes we can free up this energy, and clear the path, by simply doing the research, getting information we need, asking for help from others, making a plan and following through on that plan. Sometimes, fears and negative beliefs get in our way of doing that. Or, even when we are doing that information-gathering process, fears and beliefs can bog the whole process down and make it a lot more difficult and onerous. So it is useful to change those negative thoughts and beliefs, and to resolve the fears, in order to remove them from the equation.
One of the ways to do this is to explore and understand the origins of these fears or beliefs. When you understand the origins of the fears and beliefs then, first of all, it helps you to see that the fear isn't really about the situation you are facing today. If these fears and beliefs have origins, then by definition they did not originate with this situation you're dealing with in the present. The situation you are facing today – as transitions often do – is bringing up feelings, fears, beliefs from an earlier time in your life that resulted in losing confidence in yourself.
Sometimes, that recognition can be enough to allow you to push through the "old" fear or belief and do what you need to do in the present. Other times, it is useful to actively address and resolve the fear, and the thoughts and feelings associated with the situation in which it was created. It is then useful to use one of the very simple and effective methods available – for example, an Energy Psychology method like Logosynthesis – to help "clear" or resolve that old experience, so that you can resolve the fear associated with it.
Another useful thing to do, especially after you have resolved the origins of the experience, is to imagine or think about someone you can think of, whether a real or fictional person, who you perceive as being able to handle the situation you are facing with confidence and courage, or otherwise having the qualities and skills you would want to have in the situation. You can then imagine being that person, strictly in relation to that specific quality; you feel how that feels, you really take the time to "step into" and experience that feeling of confidence and courage that you would have, if you were that person, and you allow yourself to absorb that into yourself.
You first just take a moment to notice and experience feeling that confidence and courage, and then you look at how you would imagine them dealing with the situation you are facing. (It is irrelevant if the person truly has those qualities. What matters is that you believe they do and you feel that they do, which allows you to access those qualities through imagining you are them.)
Now, you let go of the idea of this other person and what they would do, and you refocus very simply on the feeling inside, the qualities such as confidence and courage, that would enable you to act. After all, if you are feeling it already by imagining you are that other person, then the truth is that you are actually already feeling it within you! Now, with that feeling, you will easily visualize the decisions and the actions that are appropriate and effective, and right for you, and imagine following through with them.
After doing that, ask yourself, "here and now, do I feel enough confidence and courage and strength to do what it is I need to do?" Note: it does not require feeling 100% confident to successfully do what you need to do, it is a matter of feeling enough strength, confidence and/or courage.
If any negative thoughts come up in reaction to this (self-doubt, fear, anxiety, etc.) you can again use an energy psychology technique like "Tapping" or Logosynthesis to help reduce or clear this.
The method described in my book Listen to Your Heart: Using Mindfulness to Make Choices That Are Right for You is also super useful for clarifying for yourself that you are making the right decision, for connecting with the feeling that it is right (i.e. that it is congruent with your overall well-being and success) and for strengthening your motivation to follow through with the changes you need to make.