Mental Health Healing Man

Staying Present Through Change

by Guest Blogger Angela Hoffman, Certified Integral Coach©

Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it: the sights, the scents, the tastes and textures that come with fall. In Colorado where I live, autumn is especially beautiful. The air turns crisp (even downright cold) in the mornings and evenings, and the smell of roasting green chile fills the air in the farmer’s markets. One thing Colorado is noted for is the beautiful gold color of aspen trees as they change. They shimmer in fields, in the mountains, and even in the city with a brilliant yellow-gold glow.

As much as I love autumn, a part of me dreads it as well. I know that winter is not far behind (and we do get a lot of snow here!) Autumn also means it is time to put the winter tires on my car because the snow will fly soon. The long days of summer leave, taking warmth and light with them. I wish autumn would last longer — but Mother Nature does not work that way. The funny thing is, the more I dread the change, the worse I feel. If I’m not careful, I can be so busy dreading the winter that I forget to appreciate the gifts of fall. Through that, I’ve learned that it is important to stay present through the changes that autumn bring, holding the best inside my heart while embracing this time of transition. Here is what I’ve learned that I want to share with you: Staying present, even while going through change, is what keeps us grounded and able to respond to the change.

If you’ve ever faced change, you know it can be a challenge to navigate. Sometimes change is wonderful; a work promotion, a new addition to family, or achieving goals are great examples of wonderful change. Other times…change brings hardships and tough challenges. Changes in health, relationships, work status, and other tough transitions are part of life that can make it very hard to stay in the present moment and move through it with grace and strength. No matter what kind of change you face, it means adjusting your life in some way. In that adjustment phase, we often lose sight of where we are because we are either wishing things would stay the same or dreading what is to come.

How can you stay present in the midst of change?

Ground yourself in the right-now moment. This is a critical first step. Feel your feet on the floor or ground. Use your five senses to tune in to what you see, hear, feel, touch, and taste. Breathe in and out slowly. Bringing your physical body to the present moment helps you stabilize; it gets you out of your emotional intensity and into the right-now present.

Notice what you are holding on to that you must release. This is hard to do…and it is something you must do. Holding on when it is time to let go keeps you in the past and away from what is happening now. I cannot hold on to the gold leaves of autumn any more than someone can hold on to a job opportunity that was given to another candidate. Knowing when to let go gives you a sense of freedom and space to notice what is possible now.

Find the opportunity to become stronger and more resilient. Ask yourself: what is keeping me from being my whole self through this process? What do I need to do to be resilient right now? It could be taking an action step or changing your perspective to match the change in your life. As you make the adjustment to match the change, notice how much stronger and how much more present you are in the moment.

Practice gratitude. What hidden gifts are right there for you to receive? Is it the beauty of your surroundings? The company of your friends and loved ones? An opportunity for something bigger? A challenge to stretch you and increase your confidence? Notice and be thankful for the gifts of the present moment and carry those with you through your transition.

A Final Thought

The key to staying present through change is being present with yourself. Notice what is happening both inside and outside of you. Honor your need to experience the intense emotions that can come at this time, and stay with them. Stay present with yourself by noticing and reflecting on your progress. You will know when you need to release and let go. You will know when to take bold action and when to simply stop and appreciate what life is giving you in the present moment.