Well, here it is August already. The summer has been treating us to constantly changing weather and some parts of the world continue to feel chaotic, at best. The two may be connected, I am not sure, but as hot as it may have been a few weeks ago, I am reminded that in a very short time, cold weather will return (all things change).
If we try to step back to see a bigger picture and follow the flow, we may notice there is a season and natural rhythm to all things.
Nelson Mandela turned (95), Calgary has been flooded, Toronto has been flooded, the Middle East continues to be volatile, Detroit has gone bankrupt, and financial stress is pressing many countries around the world. So, is this reason for despair … well actually, No.
The world is in constant flux and we can see change everywhere around us. One constant about nature is its capacity for change and we are in fact, part of the natural order. The more we resist change the more we experience pain. So, how do we move with grace in times that feel like they are filled with chaos and turmoil?
Change is as natural as falling off a log but most of us don’t want to fall. Often, we are overloaded with our personal agenda items and we have expectations about the way we want the world to be. What if we just let go and allowed the world to find balance? What if we did not fight the changes and allowed natural order to find its way? What if we released some of our personal core beliefs and considered alternate perspective?
Deepak Chopra suggests we can do one of three things while attempting to maintain mental and physical health in the face of chaos. First, fix the issue, second, if you can’t fix it, move away from the issue, third, surrender to what is. In many cases, the issue can be so big it is beyond our personal capacity to “fix” it. Additionally, we may not have the ability to move away from it. To save our mental and physical health Deepak encourages us to surrender to it, for now. Remember, all things change.
Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison during the 1960s and he could not “fix it” or move away from such a sentence. He had to surrender to the situation and accept that all things will change in time. Now, that does not mean that he capitulated but he had to surrender to what was in his reality at the time and continue to hold onto hope that change would come.
Surrender does not mean give in to everything and allow ourselves to be pushed and blown through life like a leaf in a strong windstorm. Surrender is the capacity to accept what is, while working hard toward a new outcome. At the same time, we are encouraged to hold the new outcome lightly in our hearts.
Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela teach us that surrender does not mean give up, does not mean accept abuse, and does not mean depleting our mental and physical health lamenting what has been or stressing about what may come.
We are asked to change the things we can, to start with our own beliefs and our own behaviour. If we want honesty in the world then we must be honest ourselves, if we want compassion in the world then we must act out with compassion. It is strange to expect peace from others when we many still act out with aggression or violence when things do not go our way.
Finally, change is inevitable so why not get on board and help direct the change in your life, where possible. If we all look at the core beliefs that form our reality and be open to them changing or being replaced then we may finally be free of guilt from the past and stress about the unformed future.