Changing us

Two days ago I wrote about breakdowns: when something familiar and transparent to us stops working in the way we’re used to.

In every breakdown (or opening) there’s an opportunity to step in and discover a whole new way of relating to life if we’ll only take it. And there are endless openings, if we choose to treat them as such:

finding out we don’t understand something important
a change in a relationship
making a mistake
the death of someone we care about
the failure of a project
the end of a job
the departure of a colleague
becoming a parent
children leaving home
illness
promotion
the success of our plans.

But so often, faced with a major opening, we hold back, clinging tightly to life as it was, held in place by our anxiety and by the force of our habits. We’re ashamed or afraid to know ourselves, and be known by others, in a new way.

Just look at the figures for lifestyle changes after heart attacks and strokes. You’ll see how many people don’t significantly change their way of living even when they’ve entered the biggest opening of all – an encounter with physical frailty and with death.

In order for breakdowns to become something, we have to give up our attempts to control life. And we have to give up our attempts to control the story we have about ourselves.

And in order to grow, we have to discover that it’s not our role to change life, but to allow life to change us.

Photo Credit: Forrest.Rowell via Compfight cc

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