Compassionate Adaptation: Re-orienting after a life transition

“The only thing that is constant is change”
Heraclitus
(Greek philosopher).

Change is inevitable. Nature teaches us this with its continually moving seasons; constant transitions between night and day, and the never-ending life-cycles of all living things.

Change is a movement, a transition ‘out of’ and ‘into’ and is often outside of our control, as in the case of a loved one’s death, an enforced move from where we have lived, a job redundancy…or perhaps even a birthday that marks the end of the previous decade of our life that can precipitate feelings of disorientation.

Healthy transitions involve healthy grieving of what can ‘no longer be’ and management of our fear of the great unknown.

Always, there is a temporary loss of equilibrium. No question adapting to a new set of circumstances is challenging. It requires mental, emotional and physical energy to adapt to change and to re-establish equilibrium.

A compassionate approach to change involves both noticing and feeling, simultaneously. No need to reject emotional states such as grief or push them away, and no need to cling to them.

Pausing long enough to give ourselves time to encounter ourselves so that we can re-orientate, is a form of honouring ‘what was’ and also honouring our own response to pain and loss – a compassionate encounter with self.

If we can encounter our loss, grief and disorientation, with openness, compassion, kindness, patience and self-validation, fear may dissipate and make space for change and growth to occur.

Tara Brach says, “Mindfulness is a pause – the space between stimulus and response…”

All change involves letting go of the old; how things were, of ceasing to fight the facts and embracing ‘what is’ and eventually turning to face the future and taking along with us in our hearts, love and precious memories, that will always remain.

Insight International - Psychological Services, Counselling, Training, Research

Insight International Newsletter

Insight International’s monthly newsletter ‘Insight into Wellbeing’, is an excellent source of information and resources to help people achieve better health and greater happiness, and an overall sense of wellbeing. Features include ground-breaking neuroscience research, inspirational interviews, blog articles, quotes and images.

Thanks for joining Insight International!