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Keep Balance During Change

27 September 2010 One Comment

Change is the only thing that remains constant

Clichés are not well worn for nothing. They’re like a favourite pair of shoes getting put on all the time until they start to look a bit shabby and then stored at the back of a cupboard. You can’t bring yourself to throw them out because they served you so well.


There are many variations of this particular old pair of shoes all amounting to the same thing:

You had better learn how to cope with change and uncertainty, because they aren’t going away.

Life Means Change

‘Cope’ is maybe a strange choice of word and ‘thrive’ might be better. After all we know intellectually change is inescapable and life without change wouldn’t be life.

It would be death.

In most cases we welcome change, initiate it or yearn for it. We want to explore and seek out new worlds and boldly go where no man or woman has gone before (I’m sure I heard that somewhere else …). We want to thrive in change.

There are times, of course, when change is unwelcome, especially when it is forced on us and we have no control over it. We may be left in a worse state than we were or the process itself can be painful and damaging.

I deliberately chose ‘cope’ because, as with all things, learning is a gradual process. Before we can learn how to ‘thrive’ we must learn to ‘cope’ because, no matter how much we desire change, it is almost always emotionally and physically unsettling.

Keeping Balance

Stability is predictable while change rarely is.

This can make the experience difficult to navigate even when it’s a change for the better and especially in times of crisis. I imagine many of us are still feeling the effect of the most recent economic squeeze, for example. Such times, whether large scale change or small day to day adjustments, call for ways to keep our inner peace and balance to help us ride the wave.

I asked my Facebook and Twitter friends:

what keeps you balanced in the midst of change and uncertainty?

I’m grateful for all the replies I received and out of those, and my own experiences, I identified 6 things we use to help us cope by keeping our balance:

1  People

Knowing that there is someone I can lean on if I need it.

Having a “support” team around me – not just paid people but including friends and family.

Empathic support.

Holding someone’s hand while walking a narrow path helps keep me balanced. When I start to sway, they pull me upright. When I lose my motivation to keep going, they encourage or cajole me. When I’m feeling alone they provide a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen to my turmoil.

Family and old friends are around for the long term and help us navigate all manner of change. New friends and colleagues may be around for shorter periods but can still help us journey through the day to day chaos we sometimes encounter.

2   Focus On Here and Now

Yoga and meditation, which both help me see and feel that change and uncertainty are constant and certain – and survivable.

Breathing, consciousness about what is most important for me in general and what my needs are for the moment.

Time to contemplate and be peaceful.

The state of on-going fascination by the sensations of the moment, internally and externally.

One of the only things in our awareness with us at all times and in all places is our breath. Inhalation and exhalation of precious air is a constant thread of life we can use to bring ourselves back to inner peace at any moment. Not only that, but we all breathe from the same air and this can remind us of the connection we have with all of life.

Combining conscious breathing with other forms of ‘live-in-the-moment’ practices can be a hugely powerful resettling and grounding before moving forward once more into the uncertain future.

3   Values and Beliefs

Focusing on my values restores balance.

Knowing it usually all works out.

For some a belief in a supernatural being (God, Guardian Angel) looking out for us and protecting us is what keeps our balance. For others it might be belief in our oneness with all of life and the Cosmos. And for others it might be a belief that there is nothing before or after our lives so whatever happens is of no consequence in the bigger picture.

Maybe it’s taking a moment to remind ourselves of what is most precious and dear to our hearts – those qualities most important to our idea of who we are.

Or perhaps it is a simple reminder ‘this too shall pass’.

4   Focus on Others

My kids do. They need me no matter what changes in my life.

Fulfilling the need to make life wonderful (helping someone).

When we’re wrapped up in our own stuff it can be easy to forget the others around us. If we’re trying to cope with some change, chances are it’s affecting them too. Even if it’s not, reaching out our own hand to others can be a great way to bring us back to ourselves.

We’re not alone.

We can make a difference to other people.

We do matter.

5   Sensory Grounding


We are sensory beings and have a strong relationship with the physical world of sight, sound, touch, taste and noise. As a (very) young child I had a ‘comfort blanket’. The feel of the soft fabric was familiar and reminded me of warmth and safety when things around were strange and unfamiliar.

As we grow older our comfort blanket changes into a favourite piece of music that relaxes us, a smell that calms us or an object in our hand that grounds us. Anything in the sensory world can bring memories of secure, stable times and helps us cope and regain our inner peace.

6   Taking A Break

When things get crazy – just doing something I enjoy – meeting a friend, seeing a film, going for a long walk.

When times are stressed, the future worryingly uncertain and we’re in the midst of change, who said we need to stick at it 100% until we reach the end (even if the end ever came!)?

Taking a break, doing something to take ourselves out of the turmoil and just relax into something we enjoy recharges our batteries and brings us back to some familiar territory.

One Comment »

  • Julissa said:

    Wow, that’s a really clever way of thnniikg about it!

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