plants

I noticed on my morning walk today that the giant pile of Pandanus leaves on my neighbour’s front yard was gone… Strangely I had gotten used to seeing them there over the last few months and it looked somewhat vacant without them.  It took me back to the days when I lived in Far North Queensland and there were giant mounds of green matter stacked high in every suburb after a cyclone passed, waiting to be picked up by council.  Sometimes this could take weeks and the putrid fumes would escalate in the intense summer heat.  I got used to seeing and smelling them over the time they sat silently reminding residents of the power of Mother Nature.  I was often surprised when they were eventually cleared leaving a vacant brown spot and a few discarded leaves on someone’s front lawn.

 

Funny how we get used to change; even changes that are not pleasant and/or imposed on us eventually become part of our internal landscape.  During the 11 years I lived in Far North Queensland I lived through five cyclones including “Larry” who was a category 5. 

During each of these storms I was left without power for three days.  At first it was a shock that there was no respite from the thick heavy air (without fans or air conditioning) and candles were the only form of light when the sun went down.  After a day or so, we adapted to these minor inconveniences, using our swimming pool more and enjoying the earlier bed times and a house glowing with tiny flickering lights.  The business of life resumed for all despite a lack of electricity.   

We humans are resilient despite our constant craving for a “comfort zone” and things we can rely on.  We adapt and create new routines that can then turn into a revised comfort zone. The real question is how this adaptation process works internally and how we can learn to become more resilient with the imposed changes we are faced with regularly in our professional and personal lives…

The trick seems to be in how we perceive change (especially the imposed changes) in our lives.  After cyclone Larry we all heard or witnessed “Larry” survivors that retained a positive outlook even when faced with a home without a roof, or a desecrated banana crop - some posting comic signs on the remains of their property: “Larry was here” or “Kissed by Larry”.  Faced with adversity and an unknown future, these few chose to remain positive and look forward to what was next.  What secret do people like this possess that allows them to be resilient when faced with challenges and the ability to focus on change in a positive light?  Perhaps if we remember that change is part of the Great Mystery and something that walks beside us constantly.  We are not meant to have all of the answers or know what is next on our journey.  Instead we are but to trust that it will be something suitable, pleasurable, or perhaps something in our highest good.  We cannot remove ourselves from change even if we avoid risk at all costs, but we can look at change as a two sided coin.  One side is a loss and one side is an opportunity.  One thing is for certain: when one door closes (even slams) there is always another door that will open eventually if we walk forward with an open mind and heart.

During change we can learn  to put one foot in front of the other courageously while embracing the magic of the great unknown…that mystery to life that we all love when it works in our favour but are simultaneously afraid of.  It is living thoughtfully in the present moment prepared to take an unexpected turn in our journey when the call arises.

We all know that change (even that which is perceived as negative) brings about new beginnings so why do we often stubbornly resist it when it is staring us in the face?  I remember an old story of a professional ball player asking an angel if he could know what was going to happen in his future and was told simply “If you had known that you were going to lose the game you played today to the other team, would you have played it anyway?”

How can you embrace the mystery today, look change in the eye, and put one foot in front of the other?