Sailing on the Winds of Change

“We cannot change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails.” ~ Bertha Calloway

Sailboat in Rough Water, Ticonderoga Race by Michael Brown

Sailboat in Rough Water, Ticonderoga Race by Michael Brown

Today is warm. A breeze is gently fluttering the curtains and chattering through the chimes hanging from the eaves. Elsewhere, perhaps in another time, the wind will not be so kind. Tornadoes will come, dropping destruction from the clouds, sucking lives into their funnels, stealing the familiar landscape, leaving behind destruction. Hurricanes will rage, tearing roofs from buildings, toppling trees, smashing everything below.

As destructive as they seem, these are the winds of change. In an instant, the life we’ve known will vanish forever, leaving behind bewilderment and devastation. How can it happen so fast? Where does our invincibility go?

For it is invincibility—or the illusion of it—we seek. Change is hard. Resistance to it is tempting but foolish. “There is no true security in sticking only to what you’re are used to, because change is inevitable. New experiences cause every one of us to change. However, it’s also natural and normal for us to seek security&ellips; The way we judge and feel about ourselves, even if it is negative, feels real and secure. Most of us get locked into a box called ‘The Self,’ and can’t think outside it.” Sheenah Hankin, Ph.D. notes in her book, Complete Confidence Updated Edition: A Handbook.

After disaster hits, as we sift through the remnants of our lives, we struggle to reconcile ourselves to our new reality. It is a hard journey.  “We live in a world that is breathtaking. But when we’re in pain, it is difficult to see anything but the pain. Nothing tastes good, nothing looks good, nothing is interesting. It feels as if the world has come crashing down. It happens to everyone. And it should happen. We should be shaken to our core by a tragedy,” Naomi Levy wrote in To Begin Again: The Journey Toward Comfort, Strength, and Faith in Difficult Times.

Levy doesn’t stop on the heels of misfortune though. She speaks of a path toward healing. “But spending time in nature will help to show us that our lives can and will begin again. Nature brings out different sides of us. Its rhythms are hypnotic, and they quickly permeate us. Before long, we find ourselves relaxing, breathing more deeply. Taking in the sights, scents and textures, we find ourselves revived.”

It is ironic that nature—the very force that steals our lives—is the same force that will heal us. In the midst of catastrophe, it is hard to see this. It is in our nature to cling to a life that is static and reliable. It is our nature to resist change. Yet it is also our nature to use changes of life as a catalyst to even more change.

After the mourning, we naturally find ourselves on a new road leading to a new life. What that life will be is up to us and our perceptions.  In Empowering Women: Every Woman’s Guide to Successful Living, Louise L. Hays shares, “Remember: the smallest possible change in your thinking can begin to unravel the bigger problem. When you ask the right questions of Life, Life will answer. There are many ways to make our changes. We could also begin to honestly look at our flaws—not looking at what is wrong with us, but to see the barriers that we have put up that keeps us from being all we can be. And without self-bashing, we eliminate them forever and make changes.”

The easiest way to change our thinking is by simply refusing to go forward using old ways. If we dare to sit down and rest while allowing ourselves to contemplate what is significant to our soul, we will see life from a new angle, at a new pace. Our priorities will change, and the new priorities will suit us better. A new life will evolve from the torn remnants of the old.

As fearful as the winds of change are, we can learn to welcome them, even embrace them. Their momentum carries the breath of new inspiration, scattering our creative seeds in new directions, fanning the flames of our imagination, and filling our sails for the next phase of our adventure called life.

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