Coping with Life Changes

Coping with Life Changes  

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Life is unpredictable with various uncertain changes. The death of someone you love is just one kind of loss, though it is often the most severe. There are many other kinds of losses, both small and great:

  1. Loss of a job
  2. Loss of a home or car
  3. Loss from disaster
  4. Loss of a limb
  5. Loss of your youth
  6. Loss of a romantic relationship (break up or divorce)
  7. Loss of a family (if your parents get divorced) Loss of your health.

Other life changes are also losses, such as the loss of what we were used to, what we were comfortable with, how we saw ourselves.  For example, if I quit my job to start a business, instead of being “Leo who had  job security,” I might become “Leo who doesn’t know his financial future.” Losses of identity like this can be very difficult to deal with.

Also Read: What Is Zen?

Some other life changes you might be facing:

  1. Starting a new job or career
  2. Starting a new business or venture
  3. Starting a project that scares the crap out of you
  4. Being diagnosed with a major illness
  5. Suffering a major injury
  6. A loved one getting a major illness
  7. Moving to a new home
  8. Losing everything in a natural disaster
  9. Going to a new school
  10. Transitioning to a new role in your job
  11. Transitioning to a new phase   in life
  12. Becoming a parent
  13. And so on

Major life changes include anything that takes a major shift in mindset, that gets you out of your comfort zone in a drastic way, that forces you to change how you see yourself, that scares and confuses you, and fills you with uncertainty.

What we need to recognize is that these all come with the feeling of groundlessness that we’ve discussed and worked with.  

And so the method for coping with these various forms   of groundlessness is the same:

See the groundlessness, invite it to tea.

Recognize that the difficulties you’re having with this change in your life are groundlessness and that you’re struggling with it, not wanting to feel it. Instead of avoiding, welcome it, stay with it with a compassionate attitude.

Explore with curiosity. 

Stay with the feeling, and explore it, get to know it, feel where it is in your body.

Relax your struggles. 

Notice the tightness in your body and mind around the feeling, and start to relax both, one at a time. Relax your struggles, and just be with the feeling. Hold less tightly to the idea that you shouldn’t have this feeling.

Merge into the feeling.

See if you can remove the separation you have with the feeling, and just become it. In this step, the “me” that doesn’t want the feeling disappears.

Embrace the impermanence.  

As much as we’d like to have things stay the same, have control over things, it’s not the way of the world.  We can embrace the impermanence, accept the change, relax into it.

See the basic goodness.  

We can see that once we relax our struggle, we uncover the basic goodness in ourselves, the basic goodness available in every moment if we just allow ourselves to appreciate it.

Note: I’m not saying that this method will end all struggles, and make everything bright and cheerful. But we can struggle less, with practice, when we face these struggles instead of avoiding them or wishing they weren’t there.

Related: Seeing and Working with True Nature

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