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Change is difficult

February 9, 2010

‘Life is difficult’, says Scott Peck, in The Road Less Travelled. If we can just master that, it will get easier.

I think – but don’t quote me – that the Buddhists say that too; along with one or two other philosophers, religious or otherwise. Speaking for myself, and perhaps I’d be safer doing that, I think the most difficult thing about life is that things change.

Just when I decide it’s safe to feel contented, that I’m getting the hang of it all, an appliance stops working. Someone in the family goes down with a cold. A large bill drops onto the mat and lies belligerently beside all the other large bills that call the mat their home.

These problems, high-class ones I admit, can all be dealt with – even easily – if I would stop kvetching about them and just get on with whatever needs to be done. In fact, that reasoning can be applied to real problems too: problems of bereavement, serious illness, divorce, unemployment, natural disaster, addictions and homelessness. (Have I covered all the world’s problems there? Maybe not, but you get the gist).

The Serenity Prayer is a useful resource:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Literature helps too. Books like Susan Jeffers’ Feel the fear and do it anyway and Louise Hay’s You can Heal Your Life inspire life-altering shifts in perception that make it all seem manageable.

For me, the main problem to overcome is my resistance to change, because change happens whether I want it or not: all the time, every day. My struggle with that – my thrashing about in the water – is painful, time-consuming and unproductive. I need to learn to swim, and not just swim. I need to learn to surf.

Imagine riding the waves on the sea of life, your hair flowing in the wind. Isn’t that what people like Jonathan Ross do? Successful people like Wossy, Alan Sugar and Terry Wogan? Terry Wogan? Yeah. I like Terry. He’s a British Institution and you can’t get much more successful than that.  I’m not fit to wipe his boots. I could at a pinch, but my knees are terrible. I must change that. I’ll go to Pilates.

So, have I made sense? Probably not but it doesn’t matter. Next time, I will change the way I say it.

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