As the nights draw in and a familiar chill fills the air, Autumn slowly marks her presence.
Her colourful coat begins to descend on our outer landscape, a sweeping technicolour brush. Magically transforming our natural landscape from rich shades of green to an artist’s pallet vibrant with rich golden ochre, oranges earthly siennas, burnt umbers and fiery reds.
A reminder of all I love about this world and the changing nature of everything, the good the bad, the uncomfortable, the comfortable, the happy the sad. The impermanence of it all.
We see this in our moods, our weather systems, the moving clouds, rain showers and sunny days and our thoughts, our feelings. Present in the beautiful nature that surrounds us from the trees, hills and seascapes to the seasons.
As Autumn makes her move through our lives, let us pause for a moment, and contemplate what do we think of change?
Age and Change
Recently I heard young man tell me he didn’t like change. He caught me unaware, but reminded me that an appetite for change can be less about age and more about our character. Our wealth of experiences and associations with change can mark our response and our attitude. As can our level of inner confidence to deal with change. As our world and our external landscape changes we will respond in relation to where we are in our life. This is relative to our inner world and current mental, emotional and physical wellness. Psychologist Rick Hanson talks about how we manage our challenges, protect against our vulnerabilities and increase our resources. Imagine having a true knowing and trust of our inner and outer resources to lead us through change.
On reflection I sense change is more unsettling when it happens without our permission, without ‘our say’. It often does. Much of my working life has been helping organisations and individuals to plan for and navigate change, or to help both deal with the impact that change has had on their lives.
This happened recently to a coaching client who in his words had a “Career change – but not through choice. “
“Having worked for a company I absolutely loved with a team of people I had grown and developed it came as a complete shock to be notified of a re structure and it was pretty clear that my role was to go and whilst other opportunities existed, whether it was hurt or middle aged stubbornness, that I opted for voluntary redundancy. Clearly, I was angry, upset and confused, and it was pretty clear to me that I needed a sounding board…..” Stuart
All eventually unfolds, the expression of trust and of patience ‘further along you will understand why, further along you will know more about’ that sees me through many transitions comes to mind.
“Lou was inspirational and provided me with the environment to safely vent, which I needed to. It was only then was I able to re focus, yes, I was challenged, it was at times uncomfortable, I didn’t know how to respond sometimes, but Lou persisted and it worked. Very quickly after only two sessions do I now have clarity, my confidence and self esteem is not just back, but far better, I have a new job already and excited. Thanks Lou,” Stuart.
Change can be unnoticeable. It can be exciting or challenging or dam right scary, activating our hidden fears! It can be absolutely major, reshaping our lives and relationships with family, friends and colleagues. It can impact our roles, our jobs, our health, our wellness. Change can bring gains or losses. Change can be minor from our favourite beauty, brand or food product being discounted, to shifts to our daily home and work routines, journeys and traditions.
Well worth a read is the book Lost Connections , author Johann Hari explores some of the issues around the “Causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions”. Hari brings into awareness the normal big and small changes we navigate. He talks about the benefits of living to our intrinsic value systems, where we can and the challenges of living in an unpredictable world. All can seriously cause havoc and impact different dimensions of our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health and wellbeing. Such awareness and building, restoring and retaining our wholeness and health is core to elementas wellness coaching.
Certainty and Anchors in Change
I realised the importance of having certainty in change recently when I felt a subtle draft of change blow through areas of my life. I found myself rather perplexed when my some of my favourite and delightful food haunts from Todmorden to Brighton closed their doors. Silly really, especially as I pride myself as loving adventure travel. I know, with support, I’ve navigated some big and painful changes, close family and family losses over the last few years. A gentle reminder, that during big life changes I take joy in the simple and the familiar. And that certainty acts as an anchor to the choppy seas of change!
We often need anchors and ‘the certain’ to light our way in life’s storms. As I reach for Rick Hanson’s book “Resilience” where Rick clearly simplifies our three basic needs for safety, satisfaction and connection. Explaining why perhaps our mind likes and needs certainty and habits. That our mind is often on alert, constantly scanning to keep us safe. This is why I believe by keeping open to what is unfolding, yet retaining some routine helps at times of transition. Routine means we can rest and relax, and or focus on the areas of our life that bring us satisfaction and reward, bringing in the good.
Sometime change is small and incremental, yet eventually it can add up to something bigger, valued or not! I am definitely learning of the benefits of being more mindful and present. To appreciate and be grateful for is, what is no longer and what may be.
So as Autumn beckons, I recall my favourite season. I bring out my favourite winter clothes, make some soup and take a joyful walk and rustle through Autumn’s tailcoat of leaves.
And I feel truly grateful for her annual familiarity.
Coach, Wellness Mentor, Mindfulness Practitioner