The Tao of Dealing with Change
"The world belongs to those who let go.”
~Lao Tzu, from the Tao Te Ching
When something “big” changes in our lives—especially when it happens quickly—mass confusion can set in. We may find ourselves wanting to cling to our recent past, “how things were,” with all of our might. It can be scary to realize that we have to let go of what we thought life would be: the type of partner we thought we would would marry, the number of children we thought we would have, the city we thought we would live in and the “way of life” we thought was our future.
From my experience, when you “wake up,” that all goes right out the window. Your life is no longer your own. You have to let go or drown. And the choice is yours.
"You have to let go or drown. And the choice is yours."
In 2011, my mother passed away after a long, drawn-out bout with cancer, and I slipped into a deep depression. My entire world went black and one day, on the floor of my shower, I fell to my knees; shattered into a million pieces, I begged God to either save me or help me end my life. The truth is, I had actually already “died” before I planned to take my own life. Some would say I’d completely surrendered.
A friend had grown increasingly worried about me and had insisted I go with him to venture out from my misery and isolation. I finally relented and went to a company dinner party with him at a high-end BBQ joint in Chicago. Little did I know that what would occur that evening would change the course of my life.
Within a short time, I found myself talking to a futures trader sitting next to me. As I cried into my chardonnay, he asked what was going on. I just burst out, “My mom died and I feel like I’m going to kill myself!”
He immediately grabbed my friend, then his boss, and said, “Get her to the TM center in the city and have her taught Transcendental Meditation.”
For the record, at that time I really had no idea what meditation was and had never really been interested in it. On top of everything else, I had been battling a thirteen-year sleeping disorder that was getting increasingly worse. Upon hearing this, he felt my learning how to meditate would at least give me some relief from the brutal affliction I was dealing with, let alone my depression.
None of us could have known that after one meditation, I would completely transform.
A couple weeks later, I found myself sitting with my meditation teacher as she gave me my mantra. I closed my eyes, repeated it silently in my mind and dove head-first into a giant ocean of peace and infinite space. I was traveling through the limitless depths of my being and metamorphosing on the ride down. I opened my eyes twenty minutes later to find a world filled with beauty like I had never experienced before. It felt as though I’d been shot out of a cannon and landed in Disneyland.
Soon I was working with my meditation teacher and giving talks about the power of Transcendental Meditation. Amazingly enough, my first talk was with Oprah Winfrey. I remember leaning back, watching the sentences form in front of me, and just letting my voice follow the words that were clearly being shown to me. Feeling completely unaffected and solid, I knew in that moment that my life was about to take a very different turn.
Fast forward two years and I had sold or given away everything I owned, rented out my condo in Chicago and moved myself and my little dog Frida out to the middle of the country in Iowa. I had made the decision to write a book (which I did in fact write), follow my instincts and ditch my old life.
I went back and forth for awhile regarding various parts of my now out-of-date life: trying to still go out and party with my friends, dating the same type of men I used to hang with, eating the same foods I routinely devoured—basically, holding onto my old ways. Apparently, I still had one foot in the past.
Things were moving so quickly, I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that my old way of thinking was not going to work, not even a little bit. In time, it became clear this “new life” was inviting me to operate with a new set of rules, which I was slowly learning as I went. I had to feel the pain of my decisions over and over before I could really say, “Okay, I’m done... I give up... you win!”
You have to die a few times before you can really live.” —Charles Bukowski, from The People Look Like Flowers at Last
The pull of this new energy was way too strong. A bigger dharma was waiting for me and The Universe wasn’t going to allow me to mess it up. But I learned—boy, did I learn! You can’t fight “Change” with a capital C. That old Star Trek line is true: “Resistance is futile.” Your life force will beat you down until you just let it go. My journey has shown me that the more you let go, the smoother the ride, the cooler the experience and the larger life gets.
When you let go of who you thought you were and embrace who you really are, that’s when life gets… well, off-the-charts spectacular. My sense is that it’s one of the biggest challenges you’ll ever face, but the gift is your freedom, your peace, your authentic self and your unbelievable ability to expand.
My suggestion is this: Find other humans who have been on this journey. Read books. Get a therapist. Meditate. Walk in nature. Eat clean foods. Be easy with yourself. Trust in God. And find support wherever you can.
My journey has shown me that the more you let go, the smoother the ride, the cooler the experience and the larger life gets."
You are safe and you are alive.
Die to your old life and wake up to a new day.
Fill your life with the unknown and all the magic life has to offer.