Things Change


Lately, many of my clients have been reporting feeling unsettled, especially around things–whether big and small, personally and professionally–changing in their lives. This has struck a chord with me quite strongly because I am feeling it too. The ick factor of transitions and change is both on my mind and in the pit of my stomach. If I had to guess, I think this routinely comes up this time of year, but also I know there are very specific reasons why I’m feeling it so strongly right now.

Even though I haven’t lived in Los Angeles for almost nine years now, until recently there were many ties that kept me traveling back frequently, and so still closely connected. But this has shifted quite a bit over the last two years, now that my son is well into his college years, we’ve sold the property we owned, and many of our friends’ lives have continued to roll and evolve. Now that I’m rarely in town, the close ties that I enjoyed in LA are more tenuous. It’s been a painful reckoning. And also, I know that this is a normal part of life.

Things – life, relationships, you name it – they just change, and it isn’t always comfortable. I know this intimately because it’s not my first time at the Change Rodeo. Living in large cities means there’s a bit of transience one must accept they will have to endure. People–the closest to you people–well, you will live near them for a time, perhaps a long time, and then you go or they do. I personally have cried what’s felt like a million tears when beloveds have moved away from me, it’s not easy, in part because I know how distance can impact the closeness of the bond. Even when social media can make us feel more connected, it just isn’t the same as cultivating closeness through actual togetherness and quality time spent. And if we’re being honest, bandwidth and our busy lives means we all have to prioritize. It’s a simple and real truth. Also, whenever there’s a new big point of transition, it brings up the previous ones, which compounds the emotional impact. Meaning: it hurts all the more.

Here’s what I’ve learned through my personal experience with change. There isn’t really much I can do about this discomfort in my gut, this feeling of unsettled anxiety. What I also know is that all periods of intensity (thank you to my dear friend and teacher, Jenny Aurthur, for this gem) end. Quite literally, the only way out is to go through it, and not wish or shove it away.

If you’re in the same boat, feeling the discomfort of change or are enduring a transitional period of time of uncertainty–for whatever reason–please know you are not alone. Eventually and intermittently, we all go through it. If your ick factor is about work and your to-do lists, allow me to refer you back to the tips in my last post. Making lists to help you make plans? So helpful!

If the unsettled feeling is more free-floating, and you can’t quite put your finger on it, my guess is you just need to get intentional about riding the waves so you can get to the other side. Here are some tips to help you get grounded while you do. I like to take my shoes and socks off, sit forward on my chair and plant my feet firmly on the ground. I find it super empowering to put my hands palm-down on my thighs, spread my toes, and do several cycles of deep breathing. This feels great on carpet (or in the grass if it’s nice to be outside!). If thoughts come up that disturb me, I’ll create a zero agenda brain dump of a list just to get them to stop rattling about in my mind, making me edgy. Sometimes, something important will emerge that needs attended to, but more often than not it’s the act of being present with the discomfort that’s exactly what I need to begin to move through its intensity.

I hope this helps you feel more centered when in transition, whether it’s right now or at a future date.

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