Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life Changes, how to handle it, how to love it. Some Solutions

No pills please!

Recently,  family and friends have been experiencing major personal and professional changes in their lives.  For us, the bad news about a dear friend or family member passing away has been a bit too much of late. In the midst of all of that we have  jobs changes, job interviews, career changes, children to raise and just general  uncertainty and  many other lows and highs along the road( as you get older they seem to happen simultaneously).
 I remembered an article I saved from Real Simple so time ago about embracing change.  I searched through the moving boxes and found it. The author is Katherine Russell Rich who is the author of Dreaming in Hindi. Her life change was losing her job in a shrinking job industry. The change helped her to try things she never had before, such as live in India and learn a new language Hindi in the process.
I hope that this helps you; it helped to make things a bit clearer for me. Save it for that rainy day.

10 ways to embrace change in your life.

  1. Don't Just Do Something: Sit There. If you are facing a massive rescaling of your life, your first impulse will be to go into a whirring spring of activity. There is a lot of value in sitting quietly instead. In the realm of language learning, there is a stage called a silent period. Adults may try to avoid it, but if you take a child and put her in Paris for a spell she will naturally clam up for a few months and when she opens her mouth, her French will  have flowered. Making sense of a major change is a lot like that. You need to allow yourself a fallow period before you can blossom.
  2. Mother Yourself A Little. When familiar routines dissolve it can seem as if all your supports are gone. For a while after I lost my job I had the sense I was in free fall. It is crucial that while absorbing the shock of the new, to make yourself feel well taken care of. Prepare nutritious meals for a week ahead. If you can spare the cash have someone come in and clean the house. Yes you need to take some time for yourself.
  3. Ignore your Inner Reptile. There is a part of the human mind that is often referred to as the "lizard brain" because it existed in even the earliest land animals. The lizard brain is concerned with survival. it likes the tried and true, so it is likely to pipe up now, flooding you with warning signs of Danger as you veer off course. This was handy function to have with deviating from the familiar path in the watering hole may have led to an encounter with a saber toothed tiger. But in the modern world it's like a misfiring car alarm: pointless and alarming.
  4. Silence Your Inner Know It All- Too- The Eminent linguist Alton Becker said that it helps not to be too smart referring to how some people master languages. "Smart people don't like having their minds changed, so to learn a new language, you have to change your mind." If you're so smart that you can't rethink your positions, all your IQ points won't do you much good when your life is turned upside down. This goes across the board.
  5. Seek Out New Perspectives- Zen practitioners cultivate the "don't know” mind; they work to assume they don't know anything and in that way see the world fresh. This is a great way to approach change- as an opportunity to start anew, to consider all possibilities. Ask naive, wide eyed questions of anyone who is doing anything you might be interested in trying. Listen seriously to arguments you may have once dismissed.
  6. Try Something New and Slightly Scary- I have to say that I have many friends who fall into this category and they provide lots of inspiration everyday. Why? Because now is the timed to explore what it is that you really like. Catch yourself off guard and see what happens. At a time when I was feeling most stuck, I spontaneously volunteered to get up onstage an open mic storytelling evening in New York City. The experience was elating and terrifying and showed me that I wanted to lead a more creative life.
  7. Be Skeptical of Common Wisdom- It's dangerous to live in the aggregate, especially when you are trying to figure out your next move. One year everyone knows you need an MBA to succeed at anything. The next, they're saying that there are no jobs out there anywhere, so don't even try. In my case everyone knows that you can't learn a language at age 43. But since no one alerted me to that fact, that's what I set my sights on.
  8. Learn To Live with Uncertainty- When I began to learn Hindi, my teacher encouraged me to get our and practice with native speakers in New York. I would up asking a waiter for live (pyar) when I'd meant to request a cup (pyala). But in that way I inched into a new language. That anxious feeling does not signal that you’re doing something wrong, only that you’re trying something new.
  9. Say "really" A Lot. When you start to turn this sudden shift in your life to your advantage, you might shake up a lot of people, especially the ones you aren't happy with how they're living. To them your efforts to move forward may feel like a glaring searchlight that needs to be switched off and fast. To their descriptions of the terrible fates that will befall you if you dive headlong into a new life say/.......
  10. Shed Your Old Skin- Discard physical clutter, tired ideas, and old routines. Seeing things through another's eyes can help. I had that chance when the Hindi school I enrolled in asked me to list my daily requirements. I could have honestly said “for the past 62 days, I have eaten pineapple sandwiches for breakfast, instead I wrote, "None". It's only when you have cast off what has been weighing you down that you can finally move on.

Photo courtesy Istockphotos.

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