Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

(Until this very moment, I had no idea that it was David Bowie who sang that Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes song. Until I ‘youtubed’ it. It was 1971. I can’t believe it. I’m shook. So very shook.)

We’ve talked about it many times over the years that we’ve been together, you and I.

Change.

             Transition.

This was the view out of my den window a few years back. Snow in autumn. An example of someone NOT following the rules of transition.Optimized-P1080776

Which, of course, happens in our lives. Change before we’re ready. Change without warning.

Snow when we’re still wearing our autumn leaves.

Are you one who jumps right into change? Or do you hold back? Maybe you analyze every little thing before you leap? Or do you freak out?

We, you an I, are going to have to accept change, so we might as well learn how to GO WITH THE FLOW. We might as well learn how to DO IT.

My whole life I have been more of a “jumper-inner.” Taking leaps of faith used to come easy for me. Change seemed interesting and adventurous. But I’ve noticed that as I get older it’s harder to cling to my motto of “JUST JUMP IN AND SWIM LIKE HECK!” Lately, I’m more likely to dip in my toes first.

There are basically 2 different kinds of change. One you invite. The other is an unwelcome intruder.

Living your life, you have to deal with both kinds of change. Yep, whether you want to or not. Invited change isn’t always easy. It can be difficult; but because you wanted it, sought it out even, the adjustment comes a lot quicker.

So I’m going to share with you my secret tools on handling unwelcome, uninvited, dreaded CHANGE.

But before I do, I’ve got to tell you about how I’ve been celebrating the change in weather. We’ve had some absolutely delicious autumn weather lately. Crisp. Cool. Breeze-y. Beautiful.

Christmas trees surrounded by autumn.

autumn

We had our first fire of the season in the fireplace, which is a big celebration for us now that we live in the land of fires in the winter (instead of Atlanta, where we would be so ready for a fire, but would still be running the AC.)

So the first year here, we established some first fire rituals that stuck.

The first fire in the fireplace will be held on the first day when the high is 60 or below. That’s a firm rule that I learned as a kiddo. This happened for us last Friday. It was chilly and damp and breezy all day. There was even a prediction of some snow flurries flying, but we didn’t see any here. No matter. It was perfect weather for a fire.

  • We donned our plaid (mine was the traditional black and red)
  • We drank fresh local apple cider
  • We put on a big pot of chilli
  • We baked a skillet of cornbread
  • We ate pumpkin pie
  • With vanilla ice cream on top

YUM YUM YUM

IT WAS DIVINE! A perfect First Fire celebration.

We watched Hamilton’s America on PBS later in the evening and popped popcorn.

I realized this year that most of our First Fire Traditions have to do with food. I see now that I need to create some rituals that are less food focused. Ideas? In any event, I’d like to not only create more First Fire rituals for us, but maybe some type of Harvest Festival for our little rural community.

barn

My Farm

Okey, Dokey. Back to changes, changing, change…

Summer’s red clover covered in frost crystals

Optimized-P1080105 (2)

FIRST TOOL

SPEND 30 MINUTES OF UNINTERRUPTED ALONE TIME FOCUSING ON THE CHANGE, THE PATH AHEAD OF YOU

photo.JPGfall

I know this one is hard. I rarely have any time to myself without interruptions. But when I need it, I take it. You must too. Take 30 minutes and do nothing but contemplate the change. It is happening, so THINK about it. Talk to God. Talk to yourself. Think about nothing else. Flood your mind with this ONE ISSUE. For 30 minutes.

During this 30 minutes, you might journal about it. You might draw about it. You might make lists. Or, you might just sit there cross-legged in the yard and do nothing other than think about it.

The main point of this is to clarify THIS CHANGE in your mind. Think about it from all angles. It’s okay to consider the pros and the cons. It’s okay to think anything at all, as long it is has something to do with the change.

Think of nothing else for 30 minutes. When your thoughts wander, bring them back.

Optimized-20141012_154824

Repeat as necessary.

SECOND TOOL

This Tool has Two Steps

1. The first step is a stated period of “bellyaching.” Now is the time of mourning for you. A period of wallowing. Of being miserable. It might be for a day; it might be for a week. But don’t let this step last too long. Set the time frame at the beginning. “I’ll give myself one week to be miserable about this.” During that stated period, complain, fuss, be miserable, have a pity party. Shout it high and low, tell all your friends. Cry. Scream. Be mad. I’m not happy about this! Life isn’t fair! This is terrible.

Write down every single thing that is negative about it.

And then….when the stated period is over, STOP. You must stop. By then, you will probably be sick of hearing yourself complain anyway.

2. The second step is taking time to absorb the change.

Give yourself time to adjust. Be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself. Lower your expectations.

During this period, you’re going to pay attention to how you feel. You are going to do things to help you feel better. You are going to soak in a bubble bath. Drink hot tea. Read a book you love.

You are going to breathe. Slowly. Deeply. Breathe in THE GOOD. Breathe out THE BAD. Over and over and over again.

This is the step where you ACCEPT IT. To do that, you are going to have to FLIP the way you feel about the change. While this step means you do have to accept it, it doesn’t mean you have to happy about it and accept it for good. What you are going to do is accept it for now. Getting through the day, moment by moment. Don’t let your negative thoughts continue. Instead, any time a negative thought enters your mind, flip it into a positive thought.

truck

Something else you are going to do is to INTENTIONALLY

DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY THAT USES YOUR HANDS OR FEET, BUT DOESN’T TAKE A LOT OF MENTAL EXERTION.

Bake. Make soup. Knit. Garden. Create something. Hike in nature. Pet your cat. Walk your dog. Hug your horse.

This is spirit healing activity. Sometimes, when we must deal with unwelcome changes, we feel lost, dispirited, weak. This tool helps you find joy. The remedy for being dispirited is being joyous. Where do you find joy? Do that.

The main thing is to find something that fits the bill: quiet, alone, no interruptions, hands or feet busy, mind free.

THIRD TOOL

Silver Lining List

Optimized-20141012_135942Get a piece of paper or a large index card and write down every single silver lining you can think of for this change that has occurred. If you need help finding some, ask your friends and family.

There is always something good to discover. Some things take longer than others to find, but they are there. Focus on the good.

Keep this card on your bathroom mirror or in your wallet or on your refrigerator or someplace else that you see it frequently.

I know I’ve told you before because I ADORE this quote, but my Grandma used to say, “It’s hard to tell your good luck from your bad luck sometimes.” Truth. Truth. Truth.

punkins

I have CHANGES on my mind because I feel one coming. The surgeries I had on my ankles and feet slowed me down. It turns out that I had to have a second surgery which I am recovering from now. I have never, ever been this STILL before for this long. I am usually a wearer of many hats and a spinner of many plates. It has been harder to wear hats and spin plates from this position. So, as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been sitting and thinking. A lot.

And now I ask: What’s next? Where is my next big challenge? What is next major concentrated focus? Where should I direct my attention? What sounds like FUN?

And when it comes to ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, let’s keep Pooh’s words close to our hearts:

“You are braver than you believe. Stronger than you seem. And smarter than you think.”

Jump.

river

Let’s not be….

PHOEBE

….chicken.

Change is an opportunity,

Whether you invited it or not.

Turn it into something exciting.

That you’ll be proud of.

That makes you smile.

So what if it scares you a little.

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, Rebekah, The City Farmgirl Living on a big ole crazy Farm

 

Leave a comment 33 Comments

  1. Kimberly Diener says:

    Last time I jumped in without looking I ended up in California for a month and that was where I was suppose to be so I than went to Utah and lived there for 3 years. Than my dad got sick and I moved back to Michigan. That was 16 years ago.

  2. I’ve missed you, and your words of wisdom! I hope you heal perfectly and are soon “jumping in” as much as you want.

  3. I just loved this post! Sorry to hear about having to go through another surgery but I am one who knows first hand that sometimes these changes are what bring about new opportunities for growth. A fall I took two years ago that resulted in a fractured hip and three pins to hold it together also resulted in two years of healing from the inside out and a period of positive growth that amazes even me. I love your list, especially allowing yourself a designated time to rant and rave! Having been raised Italian, I can certainly relate to that! Hope your recovery is speedy and your foot issues a thing of the past. Blessings!

  4. Carol says:

    Good advice and I find that I am less willing to just jump in these days as well.

  5. Ruth Merritt says:

    Dear ART – Your blog was beautiful. I’m sorry to hear that you had to go through another surgery but it sounds like you’ve got a good attitude about it. Even though it didn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked….the outcome will be worth it. Hang in there my friend. Take care of yourself and your sweet family. I’ll be thinking about you.

    Ruthie

  6. Krista says:

    Your blog definitely gives me something to think about. I have never been a fan of change, wether big or small. In fact I hate change! For example, my husband recently put his truck up for sale and I don’t like it. He has had the truck our whole marriage, so apparently I feel an attachment to it. Even though I know we need a new one because we need a second row of seats for the kids and something newer with less chance of breaking down. Seeing that the reasons for selling are beneficial to us, it still breaks my heart to sell it and see it go. I even hated when we changed cell phone providers. Another dumb thing to stress over but I do! So hopefully your steps can help me handle change a little better, both big and small. I need to see that change can be good rather than scary. I’ll work on not being a chicken!!

  7. Denise Ross says:

    Love this- so inspiring and true. Great ideas and there’s al Syd good thi God that come from change uninvited or invited. Live to hear about yours when you’re ready. Take care and big hugs from Australia xo

  8. Brenda Towsley says:

    Such good advise you have given all of us to think on. Hope you heal quickly and enjoy the what is left of the fall season. And you are right the older we get the more change we have to accept.

  9. Joan says:

    So inspiring!!! yes the changes they do happen, planned or not, so thanks for the great ideas. Hope you are doing much better. Our Fall is one of the prettiest we’ve had in many a year, nothing like the colors y’all have but still God has given us a beauty. Take care, till next time from the plains of Colorado — God bless.

  10. Cynthia says:

    I sure needed your mentoring this morning! Thank you!!!!
    I too hesitate now befor plunging head first..and I have to admit I don’t like that change. We may have more time at this point in our life BUT I miss that unbridled freedom to just let go. Cautious cautious , Yuck. I fight it …fight…fight…fight. Maybe that’s why we tend to dwell more on things..are demands have changed.
    My dear mother-in-law always said ” This too shall pass” and I seem to be quoting it to myself a little more frequently. It’s very reassuring to know we really are not alone, we are all connected in this realm. Thanks for connecting , enjoy your day…

  11. Great advice! I going through some changes, some I brought about, others that sort of ‘hit me in the face .’ Trying to ‘breathe ‘ and not feel so ‘broken,’
    Today is a new day! Thanks !!

  12. Irene says:

    So inspiring. It was very hard for us when we realized we had to stay in our apartment another year. Got over it and realized we were lucky to have a place to live and to make the best of it. God knows what is best for us now. Have a speedy recovery. I look forward to your posts. Take care.

  13. denise says:

    enjoyed reading your post.
    thank you!

  14. Amy P says:

    Than you for this. It is exactly what u need as I sit watching my healthy 6yo son get diagnosed with a heart defect. I don’t know what the future holds but your words are exactly what I needed to hear right now.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Dearest Amy, Light and Love and Prayers and Thoughts and Blessings headed your way….for you and your precious child. Lighting a candle now as I lift you both up. Please keep us posted. OXO

  15. Therese says:

    This post hit me between the eyes!
    I knew and predicted every word of it, nothing new! But I needed someone else to tell me to not be afraid! And more importantly that of which I did NOT anticipate, to EXPECT it because it WILL come. And you have to be ready and think how you will deal with it!
    As always, I love your posts!

    Thank you!

  16. Marilyn says:

    What beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy the Autumn season.
    Marilyn

  17. Mary Rauch says:

    I came here today to beg you for an update on your healing and see that there was another surgery! I hope you can feel all of us pulling for you and wishing you well! Maybe THIS post is the best one you ever wrote (for me, that is). Thanks again for your beautiful photographs and this inspirational post.

  18. Jamie Moeckly says:

    Just what I needed today! Thanks!

  19. Irene says:

    I don’t know Amy P but after reading her comment I went back and read mine. I feel ashamed about being mad last month because we couldn’t move. Very selfish. Blessings to you and your son Amy.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Dearest Irene, I know what you mean. BUT. We’re all on a different journey. It’s okay to be mad about disappointments and challenges in our lives, even if others have greater or different ones. Don’t you think? I do. Sure, we don’t have to look far to find someone with “harder” challenges, but that doesn’t make ours less pertinent or painful. That’s my take on it anyway. Be as kind to yourself as you are to others. Blessings to you, My Friend. OXO

    • Amy P says:

      Thanks Irene! We are doing good. This is a case of a blessing in disguise. We found out about a congenital heart defect that he has. But the defect won’t become an issue until he is a middle aged man. Also, the defect is a genetic one that will prompt the rest of our family to get tested as well. Now I need to sit down and think about how this diagnosis needs to change our family. Thank you for all your thoughts.

  20. Vivian Monroe says:

    Great advice. Love it. Especially the 30 minutes of reflection, and then the time of doing something that brings you joy. Mindless joy without having to overthink but Joy no less. Thanks for sharing, and I pray you heal quickly and get out there and hug Merlin. :) Be Blessed. Neta.

  21. Sandi King says:

    Rebekah, the pictures are beautiful and the colors are gorgeous and bold. Your advice is worthy! I think this must be the time of the year that something always happens to upset the cart and cause stress when you don’t need it. (Does anyone ever need it?) Anyway, I had a bad day yesterday and I prayed about it last night. I asked for that peace for the soul and my brain that Jesus delivers and I felt a bit better. This morning when I checked on the situation I felt I was being let down and prayed again and asked forgiveness for my ranting the day before. I didn’t mention that I ranted, did I? Well, I did. My son calls it “drama”, and so it is. So I had to go and try to fix my situation and it didn’t turn out like I wanted so I went back home, disappointed. I had left my cell phone at home and I had a message on it from the person I had talked to, to call her back. So I did. God works in mysterious ways. I received an apology and acknowledgement that I was right and she was wrong and everything was put back as it should be. Prayers and repentance definitely works. I have that peace now and I also apologized for my actions and thanked her for calling me. I hope you get better soon and keep up with the jumping in, but do so slowly now. God bless.

  22. Irene says:

    Thanks Rebekah.

  23. JoEllen says:

    Rebekah — I love reading your blog — have been since the very first one but haven’t sent too many comments in. But this one is especially good to contemplate and then take action. My elderly mother, she will be 99 in November, moved in with my husband and I four years ago. Talk about a life change! She is pretty healthy, but wheelchair bound and so we’re not able to get out too much anymore and our relationship has gone through an upheaval for several years and now is better because I have made that choice to take time out, think about something or nothing, and let my body relax. It has helped — not so much our situation, but me. When your parent has become more like your child there are a lot of changes to think about and accept. I love reading everyone’s comments too — they’re all different, but we as women are a strong lot and we understand each other so well and that is such an encouragement.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Dearest JoEllen, your words! These words…”It has helped – not so much our situation, but me.” Hit me straight in the heart. Yep, that’s the key, isn’t it. You’re right, we’re all different with different challenges, but as long as we love and encourage each other, well, that’s what matters. Especially in hard times. There’s a Maya Angelo quote about being someone else’s rainbow, their blessing. That’s what each and every one of you are to me. My rainbow. Thinking of you, JoEllen, as you continue to care for those you love. Take special care of yourself as well. oxo

  24. Tonya Crofts says:

    Thank you for your insightful letter on change. As I look out my window at the autumn leaves that are fast falling from the trees i realize that even more changes are coming soon. The once green and lush healthy foliage aged beautifully with the rich yellow, orange and red hues, undoubtedly their ‘goldenyears’!! But soon those leaves will Be gone, leaving behind a skeleton of once was!! I look in the Mirror at my almost 70 year old silver locks that was once rich golden and brown hues and realize winter is fast approaching! Change is not only all around us, but within our very souls and bodies as well . I want to embrace these changes in myself as much as I welcome the first green buds on the trees in spring. So first thing tomorrow morning I’m going to get that box of golden hair color out if my cabinet and extend the autumn season! Jump on my elliptical and take up the leaves! I’ll cover my garden with them to help it grow rich vegetables in the summer to nourish this skeleton of mine! I’ve got more seasons to enjoy!! I’m much to young to be this old!!!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Beautiful. So much to love about your words, Tonya. But “I’m much too young to be this old!!!” Well, that’s my fav. Ain’t that the truth! Me too. :)

  25. Lynette says:

    Thank you so much for you words & steps of wisdom! It couldn’t have been at a better time as my Mom & me were taking a trip from Minnesota to New Mexico last Friday when the events of the day changed. The last time mom was on a plane was in the 70’s, so the was an exciting trip for the both of us. God does work in mysterious ways and we don’t always understand them. But three minutes into the airport my mom fell and the end result was a broken hip – yep surgery. All we can say at least we were disappointed, but we were also at home with family. It gave me time to reflect and my mom & I will be using your Grandmas saying Good/bad luck. Wish you many blessing and a happy recovery too!

  26. Rebecca says:

    Your pictures are incredible! I love your view. Your words today hit the mark in a lot of ways and I think your Grandma’s quote will stick with me for a long time. It sort of goes along with the “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it” train of thought. One thing is certain, though, God knows our needs even when we don’t have the strength to voice them.

  27. Dena says:

    Rebekah, I am big maker of lists for ‘what to do when so and so happens’. However, I have never seen such good advice for dealing with change. Thank you so much for sharing these tools; perhaps your time of quiet has partly been so you can bless others with wisdom for their own times of change. I pray that you will continue to blossom during this time of change, quiet, and personal reflection. Blessings to you and your family, Dena

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