Monday, June 4, 2012

The Challenge of Change



How many times have you heard the expression, "Change is hard"? All of us have heard these words more times than we care to remember. I thought and said them a lot during the 26 years that I worked at a small liberal arts college because much of my job centered on making change happen. While I liked to think it was change for the better, much of the time I was acutely aware of how difficult it is for some people to accept change.

Change has been on my mind a lot lately because of my recent retirement, an event that I planned for months, but nevertheless, is a big change. We face many changes and challenges in our lifetimes. Some that we've all experienced to varying degrees are: graduating from school; going off to college; getting married; new job; new home; new baby; empty nest; aging parents; serious health issues; divorce; loss of loved ones; loss of a job; broken friendships; downsizing ... the list goes on. Some of these changes we prepare for and embrace, others are thrust upon us.

The question, then, is not "if" change comes, but "when" it comes, how will we face it? A lot, of course, depends on the event itself. Happy changes are usually pretty easy; unplanned changes are usually not. I've always believed that how we handle change will help determine the quality of our lives as well as our health. We know it's inevitable, so it's in our best interest to meet the challenges of change head on.

Sounds easy, huh? In actuality, it's not, but we don't have to face these things alone. That's why we gravitate to communities of like-minded people for support - our families, our churches, our social circles and yes, even our online friends. In addition to sharing a passion for photography, I've found a caring group of friends on the internet. This is what the Focusing on Life community is all about: caring for and about one another, encouraging one another as we pursue our dreams, supporting one another in time of need. Change is inevitable; it's how we handle it that makes a difference.

How about you? We've all experienced change. Change is sometimes beautiful ... and sometimes not. As Stephanie reminded us in her beautifully written post, our lives are books with one chapter following another. How does your creative gene react in times of change? Is it kicked into high gear or put in reverse? Mine tends to hit reverse. And yet when I do allow the creative wheels to start turning again, I find that it actually helps clear my head, re-establish my self-confidence.

Please share with us the pearls of wisdom you've earned as you've moved from one chapter of your life to another. What did you learn that might help all of us? Your words today might be just the words someone in the FOL community family needs to hear to help her face her own challenge.
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
                                                                                    --- Alan Wilson Watts

Oh! And don't forget to post your ATTRACTION TO ABSTRACTION pictures on our Flickr page.


18 comments:

leighlovedesign.com said...

Oh Dotti...I needed to read this today! I was just at lunch with a friend when she got an email from her husband confirming that were indeed moving out of state as he just got the official job offer they had been waiting months on. Even though she (and i) knew it was a possibility it still didn't seem like it was going to happen. Now it is happening. She just let go and began crying and as I cried with her I told her that this was a new journey for their family and it was going to be great. I just sent her the quote you ended with. Thank you.

Focusing on Life said...
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heyjudephotography said...
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Dotti said...

Oh, Leigh! I can tell you and your friend are going to miss one another but it's so nice that you were able to be there for her ... that sense of a caring community can be so helpful.

Dotti

Dotti said...

That is a very good point ... to often we get so focused on the change itself that we fail to realize that it is a small bump in the larger journey we call life.

Dotti

heyjudephotography said...

Yes, change is hard for me, and as you wrote, for most people. I also find my creativity and motivation for creating slide when I'm stressed over a change. I don't really have any "words of wisdom", but when there is a "bad" change in my life I still try to find one small positive thing from that change, and realize that the difficult time will some day just be a memory!

terriporter said...

I think there are people who welcome change, who are inspired and stimulated by change. I just don't happen to be one of them. I try to avoid change of any kind and don't deal with it well. I need to remember that, as you said Dotti, it's just a small bump in the larger journey we call life. My mother used to say, "A year from now, nobody will know the difference." But it's hard to remember that when you're in the middle of it. And like others have said, my creativity suffers when I am stressed. So no pearls of wisdom here but I completely agree that whatever change you are experiencing, it helps so much to have caring friends to share it with, whether they are next door or across the world.

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

I SAY I am good w/ change but I am not. I fret and stew over it even while I am in the midst of it. But I quote the Mary Engelbreit saying : If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ~

Kim Stevens said...

Yep, I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to that word! haha And it's not like change hasn't been thrown my way in "big" ways at times. I'm getting better at it, at least that's what I tell myself. What I have learned is that change, whether brought on by myself out of choice or those not in my control all have a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, I just have to remind myself to look for it.

kelly said...

i can totally identify - i do not do well with change at all! :) and my life has been full of it for the past couple of years. i guess for me what has helped the most is FINALLY getting it into my head that change happens. {I should make a bumper sticker! LOL!} all joking aside though, it's also my faith that gets me through times of uncertainty. a peace that comes from knowing that even if i don't know what's in store, God does. and His plan is always WAY better than anything i could dream up for myself. :)

Dotti said...

Your mother is as wise woman! Mine is, too ... we should do a better job listening to them. :-)

Dotti

Dotti said...

That is one of my favorite quotes. One of my husband's frequent questions is, "What are you going to do about it?"

Dotti said...

Yeah - I don't like change that's thrown at me ... I like to prepare well in advance for any changes. I'm sure that's my OCD showing.

Dotti said...

I think that's one of the hardest things to learn: Change is inevitable. Why fight it?

Linda said...

Oh, change! I am not good with it! I have spun my safety net around me so tight that changes really throw me for a loop! When I was younger I embraced it, looked for it.
I know there are more changes in store for me. I will lean on my loved ones if I need to. I do also believe the little phrase-"let go, let God" That's the best way for me to go!

xo,
Linda

Carol said...

I find this all very interesting. Since photography is about preserving and remembering alot of the time, I wonder if all photographers are bad with change.?? Because - I'm right in there with you all - I hate change too!

gina said...

I am really enjoying this discussion -- this topic has been on my mind for several years. In the last four years we lost three parents, gained four grandchildren, and I retired. Now we are planning a move to another city. I used to resist change, but now I am getting used to it, and even embracing it. It's taken me 60 years to accept that I can't control everything in my life and that's okay.

Deanna said...

I think this quote pretty well sums it up for me....
"It's not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it is the one that is most adaptable to change." ~ Charles Darwin.

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