Change Takes Time – so Settle in for Greatness
Those of you that have been following me for a while know that I am all about changing my circumstances, being proactive, expressing gratitude, developing personally, practically, and spiritually, pushing forward, learning new things and new trades, and never accepting if something isn’t as I wish it to be. I never want to settle with something that isn’t working for me. Not in my bullet journal, not in my relationships, not in my life.
But I have been reminded lately that change takes time and I have learned that I am a very impatient person. When I notice that something isn’t working for me or that something needs tweaking or changing I go all in to make these things happen. That’s a personal strength, for sure. But combined with my impatience it has left me with a feeling of failure.
This has got me wondering: why do I feel like I am failing, when I am actually doing my best AND changing so many things in my life for the better?
Knowing how I process things, I have been following my intuition, noticing synchronicities regarding this and I would like to share with you what I have found. Maybe one or two of you are feeling the same as me. My old math-teacher from high school always said: “If you have a problem, say so. You can be sure that 5 of your classmates are feeling the same thing.” So, I am hoping that my struggles with this, can help some of you. If in no other way but just knowing that you are not alone. In the words of Boho Berry or Kara Benz: ”Let’s commiserate!”.
I have been thinking a lot about the dynamics of change. Some changes like attaining new titles, getting a year older, and encountering life changing events happen in an instant: turning 40, becoming a mom, becoming a wife or a divorcée, becoming an independent business woman. These happen when you hit your birthday, when the umbilical cord is cut, when you say “I do” or “I no longer do,” or when you sign that paper that announces to the IRS that you’ll be your own boss from now on. But real change – the internal settling in to your new role, age, or title, letting your heart and spirit catch up – takes time. Sometimes, a long time. This kind of change, happens in the subtle activities of everyday life. This process of settling in, catching up to your circumstances, rapping your head around your situation, occurs in the small, “mundane,” details and nuances of your everyday life.
Take being a mom for instance. You “become” a mom in an instant: by looking at a positive pregnancy test or when your baby is placed on your stomach after entering the world. But it takes a while to settle into the role of being a mom. You must learn the way your life has forever changed, how your feelings, priorities, and responsibilities are of a magnitude that can be just as terrifying as life affirming. I remember the first time I had the feeling of my heart and soul no longer being in my body, but crawling around on the floor in the form of my 6 months old adorable little troublemaker looking for his favorite toy at that time. And I am still – almost 6 years into motherhood, now with two sons – learning every day and adapting to this role as I go.
What I have realized is that this need for taking time to let things settle and accepting that things do take time – sometimes, maybe even often, more time that we would like – doesn’t “just” apply to these apparent life changing shifts in your external life, roles, age, and titles. It also equally applies to the internal changes you go through as well.
Now, these internal changes can be much harder to pinpoint. They happen in a much more subtle way; in your unconscious mind, in the corners of your heart, and at the bottom of your soul. They seem to kind of sneak up on you. Gathering momentum as the move through your system until a need develops, a desire appears, a dream emerges. It seems like it pups up all of a sudden. But it has most likely been on its way towards your conscious mind for a long time, maybe even all your life. Once this need, desire, or dream reaches your conscious mind it often demands some kind of action.
I practice daily, the art of listening to the nooks and corners of my mind, heart, and soul – without judging what I hear. And since I have become a very proactive person – believing that I am the only one responsible for my happiness and fulfillment – I am making moves on many of my dreams, hopes, and needs. But here is where that feeling of failure, I mentioned earlier comes into play. Because when it comes to personal growth, development, and resolution of life-crisis it is just as important to accept that change takes time. And this is not a strong suit of mine! Changing a habit, settling in with new affirmations, something as “simple” as changing your sleep routine, can take – what seems like – ages to implement successfully.
I have found out – apropos listening to what moves inside me – that I am a very impatient person. I want things done yesterday. I didn’t think that I was this kind of person. I don’t find it to be a very charming attribute. But in accepting this side of myself, I also realized that I am not impatient when it comes to other people, only when it comes to myself. I expect so much from myself, I have so high standards for success, and I give myself so little time to achieve things, that I really don’t have a snowballs chance in hell for succeeding based on my own criteria. Ouch… So even though I have moved mountains – personally and businesswise – in 2016, I still don’t feel like I have succeeded. In my eyes there’s always room for improvement, always something to tweak, something new to start on. Always things I could have done better or more of. It’s so difficult to write this. Bear with me; there is a silver lining!
Yesterday I was talking with a dear friend (thank you, Sjoera!) on Instagram and many of the thoughts and feelings I have had about this fell into place. Sometimes it’s the smallest things – in this situation a message from a friend (containing 20 words) – that made things more clear to me. I love that about life! I am so blessed that the things I need, the help I need, always seems to find its way to me. Thank you, universe.
The gist of the message was: Change takes time. A lot of time. And baby steps are the way forward. O. M. G. So simple!
I am the happiest I have ever been. I consider myself to be very blessed and very fortunate. I am at such a great place in my life but, I kind of lost focus of this. Pushing forward. Learning new things. Starting new projects. Striving to better myself and my circumstances. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with this in my eyes. I am ambitious! Very ambitious. But I got a reminder, deep within my soul, of the pure necessity of taking the time to settle in. Letting my soul and feelings catch up to my thoughts, learning, and new habits. And based on very hard earned experience, I know that I have a tendency to move so fast, that it can seem like it takes ages for my feelings to catch up. Often – this is hard to admit – I don’t even let them. Because I am so determined, so impatient, so ambitious, and so fond of learning new things, pushing myself, and moving mountains, I simply don’t give myself time to take a breather.
When I learn something new – that I feel has value to my life – I want to use it. Again, nothing wrong with that. But I do have to remember a thing called “balance.” I am a go-getter, a doer. And I am just realizing this as I write this blog post! I strive for so many things. But I have to learn how to balance this with the other side of my personality: the introvert, highly sensitive person who is still – even though it does fit into her schedule or mindset – affected physically by the stress-collapse and following anxiety she had almost 3 years ago. I am still processing this, just to put things into perspective.
And no wonder! If you met me 3 years ago, you would not believe the changes, I have undergone. And how different a person, I am now. If you had told the old me: “You are a very ambitious person, you strive for pushing yourself, learning new things, always moving within yourself, helping others live better lives and reaching as many as you can through social media, blogging and as an independent business woman who is also a single parent and sole provider of two boys.” I would have laughed out of disbelief. But that’s the thing about the shadows Jung always talks about. You can try to repress them, but they are part of you. And they will make themselves known in some way or form, so better to include them in your life in your own timing. I may have gone a little overboard with my freedom and all the possibilities. But this has also taught me a lesson that I wouldn’t have been without: balance. Remember to have balance, my dear. Balance yourself out. Then the sky is the limit.
So, summing up, I am taking time to settle in. I am taking time to grow some stronger roots. I am taking time to acknowledge how far I have come and how blessed I am. I am going back to basics. Once more. I do this ever so often. And now it’s time for one more round of basics. Prioritizing only the absolute necessary goals and projects for the rest of 2016 – and believe me; there’s enough as it is! So, I am marking the rest of 2016 as a consolidation period. In order to do so I am moving some deadlines into the new year, focusing on cutting myself some slack, and enjoying the holidays with my boys. And thereby grounding myself and gradually settling more and more into this wonderful life I live every, single day.
“Like a strong oak tree; nurture your roots.
Settle in. Deep into the ground beneath you.
Rest firmly in your space.
Let the storms of life bend you, make your leaves rattle, let your branches complain.
But settle in deep, soulful, and determined so the storms never break you.
Stand firmly. Stand strong. Nurture your roots.
Be soulful, healthy.
Grow downwards and upwards.
Remember and learn from your past.
While preparing for the future.
Take inventory, note your blessings, add your accomplishments.
Count the rings of your life.
Be strong. Build the layers of your life.
Let the seasons change you, while guarding your core.
Grow deep into the ground, soil, and dirt.
Let your roots intertwine with the sediments and rocks.
Grasp on in order to grow tall.
Determined on reaching your dreams.
Let your branches reach for the sky, the rainbows, the stars.
Bask in the sun. Brace during the storms.
Settle in for greatness.
As the storms of life approach; lean into your roots: You got this.”