My daughter Julie and I are having a thoughtful conversation about using 2022 to its best advantage. If, as “they” say, Omicron has taken us from pandemic to endemic status, there are important choices we are all being called to make about how to live a life we can love amidst the growing limitations in our shared global environment, and how we can help others do the same.
Julie and I are thinking that the quiet of this holiday season is an opportunity to review what’s happened in our lives—and in our heads and hearts—these past two years, figure out what we could’ve done better, then do it so we can move through the changes that await us in a supportive and supported way. It’s kind of a Do-over Julie calls TWENTY TWENTY TOO, “too” meaning “an addition to.” It’s a bit of poetic license.
It seems that one of the BIG QUESTIONS before us is how to navigate constant change. Change management experts say that adapting to change, to any change, occurs in stages. It’s an ongoing, layered process rather than a final destination:
Stage 1: We become aware that something’s cookin’, that a change is in the air, but we have no intention or commitment to revise or even refine how we do things.
Stage 2: Something starts to rattle our cage and we entertain the possibility of change.
Stage 3: The rattle grows louder. It lasts longer. It goes deeper. It gets our attention. We weigh the pros and cons. We think and rethink. We ignore, avoid, maybe we get cold feet, only to be rattled some more. Our second thoughts—or a push from the Universe—help us change our tune.
Stage 4: We pack our physical and emotional bags, let go of (some of) what no longer fits, pool our resources, and get a move on.
Stage 5: We have a change of heart, a feeling of acceptance or surrender or excitement that allows us to do what needs to be done in the moment. Sometimes we like it; sometimes we lump it.
Stage 6: The whole cycle begins again.
Given our entrepreneurial and competitive nature, you’d think humans would know by now that change is the only thing that never changes. A successful change is not really based on attainment of our desires, but on finding meaning, expanded creativity, even joy as we go. It’s an adventure. And, if we don’t pay attention to the small victories as we go, we don’t see how strong and clever and beautiful we really are. We become crabby. We fiercely defend our opinions and our preoccupation with our own thing. We resist change in a million clever ways and are blinded to the inevitability that some rug, some time will eventually be pulled out from under us.
The point of it all is that change is an eternal cycle designed to teach us that who we really are is the changeless, ever creative, unlimited, adaptable, ever blissful and contented soul. We take that with us wherever we go and whatever we do.
Yes, it’s not always a pretty process. Change can be a fiery interior and exterior letting go of everything we thought defined us. Who among us has not had our patience worn thin or felt disconnected or invisible or overwhelmed or insulted or stuck or lost when life tells us “no.” This is why we need to pay attention to the past two years. This is why we need a Do-over. We learn by doing. It’s not like everything we did was “wrong” or “bad;” it just wasn’t good enough. What we did isn’t working. Changing things for the better is something we all have a stake in.
Here’s an idea! What if instead of New Year’s Resolutions (only 7% of us keep them anyway) we ask ourselves one or two BIG QUESTIONS every month, questions that help us Do-Over, do better, learn from our mistakes. Write them on a sticky note and post them on the fridge or the bathroom mirror or place them on your altar. Ask your question once a day. Be sincere. Just put out to the Universe what you want to know next to move forward and pay attention to what comes back.
BIG’s don’t have to be about curing Covid or stopping global warming, though that would sure be nice. BIG’s can be: How can I live with more ease? Remain inspired? Remain grateful? Honor my must needs? BIGS can be: How can I stop being afraid? Stop blaming or judging others?
If your playing field is smaller, ask: How can I keep my mind and heart open? How can I create a satisfying adventure within my four walls? How can I connect with others in ways that are meaningful and safe? BIG’s are endless. Asking for answers makes space in us that can free our hearts.
We don’t have to know everything on our own. We just have to be willing to ask for help when we need it so we can discover how to be our best self. It’s a good cause! If we are willing to change ourselves, the Universe opens us to the answers we need to move forward no matter how sheltered our bodies become.
Don’t take our word for it. Make 2022 TWENTY TWENTY TOO and prove it to yourself.
Margaret Wolff is a writer, storyteller, art therapist, and retreat leader. Her work celebrates the ways in which the collective wisdom and storytelling reveal the truth and beauty of our inner lives and connect us—heart to beating heart—to each other.
COMING HOME: Finding Shelter in the Love and Wisdom of Paramahansa Yogananda (White Pearl Press, May 20201), is a curated collection of 14 modern-day stories of spiritual awakening that reflect “the most creative and transformative experience life can offer—developing an intimate partnership with the invisible God of one’s heart.”
Available wherever fine books are sold.