When change unexpectedly sweeps into our lives, taking us off a familiar path and into the unknown, we can find ourselves drawn deeper into the mystery that surrounds us. While the past falls away and the road ahead remains unclear, there is an opening that emerges when we are willing to stand still in this moment—not forcing our way through or searching for familiar ground, but simply allowing ourselves to rest here for awhile. This stillness, that arises within the heart of the unknown, has the power to guide us into a new way of being in the world.
But the very nature of change will crack open the surface of our lives and expose some of our deepest fears. Revealing and uprooting anything we have held onto for safety and security, change invites us to go beyond the appearance of our lives so that we might discover our true nature. During intense times of change, our whole being is adjusting to a new environment. With our hearts exposed and tender to the world around us, we are humbled by our humanness. Whether we are experiencing intense loneliness, pain or sadness, when we are willing to sit with our emotions as they rise to the surface, we allow them to be released so that we might be renewed. By trusting the unknown, we allow the very nature of life to guide us wherever we need to be.
When we aren’t struggling against change, we come to see that where we need to be is exactly where we are. By staying with any discomfort—not trying to escape it, but accepting where we are right now—we can experience the immense relief of just being ourselves. Letting go of trying to be better or wishing our lives were different opens us up to the possibilities that are always within reach.
In our highly pressurized Western culture, it can be difficult to navigate times of transition. With so many different responsibilities and demands calling out to us, many of us feel that we have to push on with life. But this need to quickly move on often means exhausting ourselves, ignoring how we truly feel and depriving ourselves of some of the most sacred gifts of change.
When we choose to pause and find stillness within change, we are not choosing to drop out or run away from life. Rather, we are making a choice to be with life exactly as it is right now. No matter what state our lives might currently be in, when we courageously sit with ourselves, we have the chance to discover that source of inner strength and stillness that is undisturbed by change. From here, we can begin to find a way that is more in-tune with our own rhythm.
From this place of stillness, we come to rest in the true essence of our selves. By slowing down and moving with greater presence, we begin to cherish the little things rather than be so focused and concerned about the future. While there may be challenges that arise in these moments, stillness allows us to discover the place within that is a refuge and sanctuary, a place that is always with us no matter where we go or what we do. In stillness, we come to discover the abundance that is naturally available when we truly let go and let life take care of us.
Below is a beautiful passage from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, a poignant source of inspiration and courage for times of change:
“You have had many and great sadnesses, which passed. And you say that even this passing was hard for you and put you out of sorts. But, please, consider whether these great sadnesses have not rather gone right through the center of yourself? Whether much in you has not altered, whether you have not somewhere, at some point of your being, undergone a change while you were sad? … Were it possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches, and yet a little way beyond the outworks of our divining, perhaps we would endure our sadnesses with greater confidence than our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent.”
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