On the dharma of change

22 Jan

Ok, so not to beat a dead horse, but my anxiety is way up regarding work and upcoming changes. I tried to work through some of this in therapy this week and basically came to this conclusion: I should be feeling anxiety about all of this change! It’s normal. Leaving work, becoming a stay at home mom and not the primary earner, renting/selling house, moving to a new city, finding a new job for sig-o, finding a new place to live — these are some rock-your-world kind of changes, and they’re happening all at once!

I recently read an article on the dharma of change (also from my therapist). It says (and I’m heavily paraphrasing) that all change, even for the better, has a dark side to it and you have to be prepared to deal with that. Change is a normal life cycle, and just as there is newness and birth in change, there is also death. That darkness, that death, while not easy, must also be embraced. I really like that perspective and am working on embracing my own dark side of change while celebrating and moving towards the new. The article also suggests that there are three questions one should ask themselves when contemplating change. Here is the gist of the questions and my own responses:

  1. What is your motive behind the change and is it wholesome? I’m talking about two major changes. First is leaving work and becoming a stay-at-home mom. My motives here are to spend more time with my baby, leave an unhealthy work environment, and attend to my family’s overall well-being (not eating out, exercising, etc…). Second is a move to another city to be closer to my mother. I want the baby to have the opportunity to grow up close to a grandparent (we do live by my sig-o’s mother now) and I’d like to live close to my mom again. It’s a different level of support that I could really use right now. I’d also like to move the family to a smaller town and slow down a bit, which is possible but hard to do in a bigger city. So are these motives wholesome? I think so. Each of these changes are moving me closer to my authentic self and away from destructive patterns and unhealthy relationships (no regrets because I learned big lessons there, so I don’t feel like I’m just running away from something…).
  2. What are the expected effects of this change? I expect to have the time and space to heal from this postpartum depression and get some additional support from my mom that I just don’t get from my in-laws. I expect that with a healthier me, we’ll have a healthier family. I expect to wrestle with a significant identity shift as I make this work to home transition. And I expect that the cut in income will be a challenge but not impossible. We agree on what’s important — the fam, not things — and I think we’ll feel better in the long run. I also think that this move and change will help with sig-o’s ego since he struggles with not currently being the main breadwinner of the family. Well, here’s your chance! So overall, I think the good outweighs the challenges to these changes.
  3. Are you going about the change in a healthy way? This one is trickier for me. Who’s to say? I think we are since we are giving attention to our motives and have set our intentions. I’m trying to acknowledge and embrace the darkness so that positive change will dawn. But beyond that, I’m not really sure how to answer this question. Logistically speaking, making these kinds of changes all at once is messy so it feels like we could be doing a better job at it, but I’m not sure that’s totally possible or that it should even be a goal for us right now. We have a little bit of money stashed away — not much — and expect some more from taxes. So we could use this as a cushion to get us through this bumpy time, or I could keep on working (albeit at an expense to my health) and save all of that money as a down payment or something. I feel guilty if we aren’t saving it for the future, but I’m torn because I also feel grateful that we have this cushion to get us through this bumpy time. Is this a test from the universe to see how committed I am to this change? Am I willing to let go of that money and my fears to achieve the changes I’ve set out to make? Is that part of embracing the darkness? Let the old fall away to make way for the new…

Note: Here’s a link to a similar article by the same author (I want to give credit where credit is due). Enjoy!   http://www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/439


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