Living Through Change


Living Through Change
by Sheila J. Ramsey, Ph.D.
March, 2001

Our relationship to change seems to be both intriguing and paradoxical. Recently this seems most clear to me as I have heard a number of people say how much they dislike change, how difficult it is for them and how “nobody really likes it.”

Obviously, those who find change especially challenging are speaking about an experience of change that is overlaid with physical stress and the emotions of anxiety and perhaps fear. Such emotions can arise as we must make decisions or take actions in situations that are uncertain or different from those that are habitual and expected. But does this need to be the experience of change? Certainly not.

Rather, we can live full, joyful and creative lives through change rather than as victims of change. What does this look like? To the degree that we make a personal commitment to live and work in ways that energize rather than diminish us, we can develop a welcoming and grateful relationship to change. Within this commitment, “change” is about paying special attention to completion and beginnings. We can look at each day with fresh eyes and ask “How am I different today? What am I about today? What is now complete in my life and how do I need to move forward?” Really engaging with these questions means that we are willing to let today be different than yesterday and that we will not hold onto ‘the way it has been’ just because it ‘has been.’

From a perspective in which we live through change, we can develop a heightened awareness of our physical sensations. These can tell us that we are creating our lives in nourishing ways aligned with personal purpose and vision. Such sensation call also tell us through feelings of “dis-ease” that we are not in alignment. In this case, in very personal moments of quietness and willingness to be guided by our inner wisdom, we can ask ourselves about what needs to change and shift so that we may once again experience the expansive sensation of rightness and possibility in our lives.

In summary, our relationship to change is one of personal choice. Will change be something that just happens to us when we can no longer fight it off? Or, will we welcome change as a partner in the experience of intentionally creating our lives?

Sheila J. Ramsey, Ph.D., is principal of The Crestone Institute: Designing Environments for Innovation. She can be contacted at