“I don’t know what the hell is going on and that’s ok”
That is the mantra that New York Time’s bestselling author and life coach, Martha Beck, says you should say to yourself when you are going through the first stage of a period of transition or change in your life and your life feels full of uncertainty. She likens change to the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.
In the first stage, Martha says, you are dissolving, like a caterpillar in a cocoon. If you try to cut a caterpillar out of its cocoon at this stage where it is dissolving, you will kill it, it will not have the opportunity to form into its full potential, a butterfly.
During this initial stage of the change process, you will not feel like you have any volition. You will feel like the process is happening to you, and in fact, all you need to do is to allow it to happen. Easier said than done. In many cases, you will need enormous amounts of faith and trust.
This is especially true when your change process is one that came about as a result of a shock, like when you are fired from your job unexpectedly. Though change can also be initiated when you make a personal decision to leave a relationship or move abroad to find work.
Times of change, however, are opportunities for growth, they show that you have completed all you have learnt in your life thus far and are ready to learn and become more. When you are feeling the most challenged by change, you are actually growing the most.
What the caterpillar perceives is the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning
What you need to do during times of change, is to allow life and the beginnings of change to happen to and through you. To trust that you cannot lose who you truly are, and all that falls away is merely illusion, old habits and ways of living that no longer suit you.
No matter how many times I go through this first stage of change and transition, it still takes me by surprise and it takes me a while to realize that what I need to do is allow for the change. I have to keep reminding myself that change is a healthy sign of a life that is conscious and evolving.
My mind and ego want things to be known, to stay the same. I find myself desperately trying to hold on to old routines and ways of thinking, instead of allowing my change process to unfold in an organic way, as all life does, in its natural state.
Eventually though, I learnt that by making a choice to let go, and allow for a change to take its own form, and getting out of my own way, change happens more smoothly.
I also learnt to ask for help and then be fiercely honest about how I felt, which was at times out of control, hopeless, confused or uncertain in the midst of change.
You may also want to ask for help through your own change processes.
This help can come from those who have walked through similar change processes and come through to the other side, those that can give you hope and a map to follow, though you will likely find your own routes on this map.
Life is full of change and uncertainty, and we can never predict exactly what is going to happen to us in our lives. It is beyond our ability to plan and control. This is the beauty of it too, that there is a force that is greater than us, that is in charge because there will most likely be many times in your life when you do not know what the hell is going on and it doesn’t feel ok.
What you need to do is get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Not many people are comfortable with being uncomfortable, which is why many resist change and stay in the same ruts, unhappy relationships and stagnant life situations for years.
If you can also learn to ask for help when it becomes unbearable, people that have walked through the death valleys of their own doubts and struggles with change and continue to allow for growth in their lives will be able to help you. These people will show you the maps of change and help you find your own route through. Allow them to help you.
I know that the wisdom of Martha Beck and the other mentors and guides I have helped and continue to help me. When I was able to ask and then trust their helping hands and words of advice.
Are you struggling with change at this moment?
Who can you ask for help with finding your route through your period of change?