We all know someone whose life… at least to the rest of us… appears to be a wreck! And yet, they continue to live that way, and we wonder, “Why don’t they change?” The fact is that they don’t change because they don’t feel the need for it! To them, if not to the rest of us, the way that their life is… works. For there to be a lack of change in a person’s life a certain degree of denial is essential. Hoarders come to mind; people who have to carefully creep through the canyons of hoard in their own house, and who, when asked if they are a “Hoarder” reply that they are simply “Collectors”, as if that title elevates the ignoble state of their squalor into something superior! Denial is at the heart of the lack of change in our life. Denial keeps us and our life reassuringly as it is, thereby preventing any change. It is neither normal nor good for us to strive to keep things as they have always been just so that we can feel reassured by a sense of familiarity. It is normal for a 2-year old to not know how to read. It is not the normal course of events in a healthy life if that child at 35 still cannot read! The fact is that we only make changes when we come to deeply believe that what we are doing, and the way in which we are doing it, is not leading us to where we want to be.
So what do we do when change is forced upon us? I recently watched the film “My Beautiful Broken Brain” which is about a woman in her 30’s who suddenly had a stroke in the middle of the night which changed not only her physical self but also her life. On the outside she still looked the same, but inside everything had changed. After the stroke she had trouble with words and had to work, relentlessly, to make any progress in regaining that ability. Having to grasp after what had all her life been so easily accessible and so part of herself caused her to also have to wrestle with the essential question, “If I am not now how I have been, then who am I?”
Do we ask ourselves the question, “Who am I?” Where DO we want our life to arrive? The one question is fundamentally related to the other. Are we guiding the evolution of our life’s unfolding, no matter what happens along the way, or are we simply a hostage to a runaway life? In order for our life to arrive where we want it is necessary that we periodically ask ourselves, “Who am I?” This question can sometimes lead us to the realization that we don’t like who we are right now, or where our life is going, and this realization can both jump-start needed change in our life, as well as to fuel ongoing change.
Change can mean chaos and destruction, or it can mean an evolution which leads us into our maturity, a maturity in which we grow the fruit of our life. Even while events in our life may cause us to lose the farm in which we were growing that fruit, this doesn’t mean that we cannot then switch to growing plants in pots… even if we don’t yet know how!