Change and Growth

Change is inevitable; growth is optional. ~Tavis Smiley

Thanks to Carol for passing on this great quote. There are many people talking these days about change, the pace of change, the disorienting effects of change, “change management.” (Now there’s an oxymoron!) But I don’t hear much about growth within change, rather more about just keeping up, staying sane, not falling farther behind. There is something lost in this discussion. I don’t want to spend my energy just treading water; I want to swim into new water! Remembering what Marcel Proust said: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

I think the first step for growth is embracing (or at least shaking hands with) the change itself, accepting it as a condition of modern life. Why struggle against the inevitable? But beyond that, I have found stillness and mindfulness useful for getting in touch with the part of me that hungers for learning and growth. It is easy to be overwhelmed with the plethora of choices today, and this stillness helps us hear what we need above the din.

How have you approached change? Growth? How do we not only stay sane in this crazy-making proliferation of options, but expend our energy wisely for both our own development and a better world?


One Response to Change and Growth

  1. donna says:

    Well, I write an entire blog about change…

    I would say I try to learn to use change to facilitate my growth, and use the ways I’ve grown to facilitate change. Change is not just a condition of life; it is a major part of life itself, to me.

    Rather than fighting against change, I think the way I’ve learned to deal with it is to actively work to help create the changes that I think need to be made, in accordance with what is naturally emerging. When things become a struggle, it is often a sign that you are fighting against the natural order of things, and need to simply step back and let something occur by itself. It is not merely reacting to do this, but it is empowering and freeing to know you don’t have to be responsible for everything, or even sometimes for anything except your own choices. We can’t save the rainforests by ourselves, for instance, but we can shop locally, use less resources ourselves, etc. By controlling our own actions and teaching others by our example, we do begin to influence the way things change.

    I also look for opportunities for change. My cat had scratched up the wall and doors in our hallway, so this became an opportunity to change the paint colors in the hallway to something more pleasing, and to clean up and create a sense of order in the hall area. Rather than be angry or upset at the damage, it became easier to repair it and create the changes I had wanted to make anyway.

    I used to get upset and angry during the Bush years, finally I stopped being angry and focused my energies on organizing and creating a change movement. I was surprised and shocked when within a year an activist friend let me know that through my actions I had become an opinion leader! It seemed strange to know I actually was influencing others to change their opinions. It is no accident that Obama picked up the theme for change when so many of us were pushing for change and organizing around changing the political atmosphere of the country.

    We are powerful, both individually and collectively. Realizing this, helping others to do so, is a big part of what I do now and why I blog.


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