I always find it a little ironic - a little pathetically hilarious - just how resistant to change we can all be to change, despite that change is the only constant in life. Even now, we're changing and growing, digesting and evolving. Of course I am no stranger to change; one can't beat cancer then travel to India alone at 21 and still be scared of what's yet unknown or unseen.
There are the changes that surprise and rock us off-kilter-off-kilter and there are the everyday recurrences of change, big and small. New jobs. New homes. New Friends. New Feelings. New realities in the face of tragedy, loss, gain, birth or rebirth and that mightiest force of transformation: truth. Maybe you're in one right now. Did it hit like a hurricane or call in like a new season? Is it enlightening or painful or both at the same time?Is the name of the dark sea you navigate called heartbreak or homesickness or something else?
And where does a sense of direction come from? When it’s uncharted territory, how can we know where to point the sails? That 'truth' which brings about change is only the genesis of the journey; accepting the truth that the time for change or transformation is upon us is only half the battle.
I grapple with this more often, but with less confusion, the older I get. It seems that in age, with it’s wisdom, comes practice for these matters. And though outcomes can rarely be predicted with any kind of accuracy when it comes to matters of the heart, there is a single compass I always rely on regardless. And that is, the one that points in the direction of integrity.
By its definition, integrity is: honesty and a strong moral uprightness. These terms are casually thrown around, an easy way to justify selfishness. There's a second meaning in the dictionary: the state of being whole and undivided. I find it more impactful and practical.
In the face of any change current, which way to flow leads me to being most whole? Which choices, actions, deeds will not only strengthen my uprightness in my own morality, but unite me within myself rather than divide me? By divide, I mean pull me from my own best interest into the interests of others, into what may seem most ‘cool’ or exciting rather than enriching.
I suppose this is much easier said for a writer who dabbles constantly in intangible concepts like this, than done for the everyday woman who has deadlines, bills, people who rely on her. So what I can tell you, when it comes time for to succumb to the waves of change and you find yourself fighting for direction is to feel it out.
The direction with the most integrity will be the one that feels most solid. Not least scary, but most anchored. It feels like parental love. It feels like safety amidst the chaos. Often like the hardest thing to do and yet the right thing to do. You’ll know it by the way it draws back your uncertainty into a sense of calm, justness, and divine beckoning. Like the one decision you won’t regret. In the face of criticism, it feels helplessly honest. In the face of doubt, it feels like the best you can possibly do for the best possible you.
And let me be frank: it often hurts like hell. You’ll know it by the pleasure of the pain, the relief; the splinter newly removed. The aching tooth finally extracted. Sure, it will take time to mend. But only a clean wound can heal fully.
Can I offer myself the patience, space and forgiveness to be honest about what is the right thing to do?
Can I allow my intuition to translate my deepest calling toward a life of integrity and fearless honesty?
What must I release in order to more fully embody my ability to change, adapt, and transform in my life?
(hint: it's probably expectations, yours and others of you)