Over the past year, we’ve faced so much change in so many different ways. Almost every month of last year transformed our daily life in a new way, and much of that transformation came in the form of adversity, sacrifice, and loss. Now we’re experiencing different change in the start of a new year and, with the presidential inauguration, a new chapter in our history as a country. No matter where on the spectrum you lie, big shifts like these are, more than anything, an opportunity for us to evaluate and observe our own responses and consider what purpose change can serve in our lives.
Heraclitus said, “There is nothing permanent except change.” We are always experiencing change; it flows around us like a river, constantly in motion. You can’t resist change any more than you could hope to hold back a river from running, and trying to do so will only create sorrow. If you learn to work with the river instead of struggling against it, allowing it to flow and learn from its movements, it might have something to teach you. Change, not stasis, is the natural order of life and finding harmony with it can grant so much peace.
This day may represent a big transition for our country, but it means little if each of us aren’t embracing change daily in our own lives. By nature many of us may fear or feel discomfort with big shifts; we tend to prefer the things that are familiar to us and the patterns we’ve grown accustomed to. What if instead of being suspicious or resentful of change we greeted it like an old friend? After all, change has always been with us and it’s brought us so much, from the leaves that fall every year to the healing of our own bodies when we experience sickness or injury. Inside of our bodies change is constantly happening as our cells replace and replenish themselves; what if we saw external change as the same opportunity to learn and grow? Can you think of anything in your life, whether it’s a relationship, a job, a home or just a better perspective on something, that you didn’t have 5 years ago? Focusing on these gifts that change has brought us can help us realize that change doesn’t just take away from us without bringing us good things too.
Every day, not just this day, is a new chance to learn something new, adapt, transform, find a new perspective. If we learn to embrace it rather than treat it as an enemy, change can be one of the greatest gifts that life offers us. Change can be scary and, yes, it can mean pain and loss and endings, but it is also responsible for all growth, new beginnings, and any hope for the future that we can have.
I hope that each of us can start to greet change not as something to be dreaded or bargained with but as the dawn of a new day with new possibilities.