Last weekend, I took a beautiful walk to one of my favourite woodland parks called Fernhill Park & Gardens, located at the foothills of the Dublin mountains. I made a video of my walk and am leaving the video below in case you are in need of a few moments of calm and peace today. If you have never visited Ireland, we have some of the most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world and I am so happy to be able to share this short walk with you.
As we move from Summer into Autumn here in Ireland, there is a slight, palpable change in the air. It’s noticeable in the smells, sights and sounds as I look around me. The leaves have not yet started falling from the trees, but the change is coming and I can almost feel it in the temperature in the mornings when I open my kitchen door, walk out into the garden and it is there. A slight chill, a damp mistiness in the air. This is my favourite time of year. I love all the seasons for different reasons, but Autumn makes me long for cozy sweaters, warm blankets, hot chocolate, lighting the fire again in the evenings.
While on my walk, noticing the subtle changes in the air as I walked through the woodland, I began to think about change. Just as the seasons change, so do our lives. Sometimes these changes come dramatically, without warning, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a house move that has become inevitable, the break up of a relationship or the end of a friendship. And, sometimes, changes come slowly…physical changes such as getting older, going grey, our bodies slowing down a little, can sometimes creep up on us and before we know it, they are here. Other slow changes we can go through in life can be changes in our mindset, how we view the world, beliefs that were once ingrained in us may no longer hold the same value. Occasionally changes creep up on us so slowly that we barely notice them and then, when we do, we are amazed at how we never even saw them coming.
Many years ago when I was much younger, I often wanted to run from change, hide from it, fear it, despise it, even. In my younger years I used to see change as something that had the potential to be bad, something to be afraid of, something that would bring no good my way. Leaving school and then going to college for the first time was daunting, but although I was afraid I embraced it. Moving to a new country when I was 21 was terrifying, but I did it anyway. The break-up of my first marriage was so traumatic I didn’t even know if I would get through it. But I did. And later in life finding myself dealing with sudden illness (mine) and then several years later the death of my Dad, again those instinctive feelings came flooding back. The need to run, hide, take cover and simply hope it would all go away.
Then one day, seemingly overnight, I stumbled upon a breakthrough of sorts. What if, instead of wanting to run from change, I ran to it? Embraced it with open arms and shouted, “Change! Do your worst!” What if, instead of hiding, I came out from the shadows and stepped into the sunlight and held my arms wide open, waiting to welcome change in? What if (this was my breakthrough moment) I could see all changes in my life as opportunities for personal and spiritual growth and a chance to allow new possibilities come into my life and transform me into a better and stronger person than before?
For me, once I had changed my mindset, everything changed. If I were to say one thing about change, is that it is constant. Our lives move, ebb and flow in many directions over time and change is inevitable for all of us. So what if, instead of fearing it and hiding from it we ran towards it with open arms and saw each new change as an opportunity rather than something to be frightened of?
Before I finish this post today, I want to share a personal story with you that proves without a shadow of a doubt that change is a good thing. In 2010 I left a job I had been in for 11 years to take up a contract with a new company. This contract was for one year but at the time I took the job I was told that the contract was really only a formality and that the company was going in a great direction and that it would be an amazing opportunity for me to grow with the company. It was the best job I ever had. I worked with an amazing boss, had a great team of people working alongside me and it was literally the best working year of my entire life. I learned new skills, I met new people and couldn’t wait to get into work everyday. The hours were long but I didn’t care because I loved that job.
Then in September of 2011, my boss called me into his office to tell me our section of the company was moving to Poland and my job along with everyone else’s, was gone. I was devastated beyond words. Oh my goodness, my tears fell so hard that day. I would be finishing my job in October and a new person would be moving into my role from another section of the company until the entire department was closed. During my week-long handover with this person, she asked during the course of a lunchtime conversation if I was single. I told her I was and she mentioned a lovely French man who was friends with her husband and that she thought we would be perfect together. Would I like to go on a blind date with him if she could set it up? At that point I absolutely wasn’t ready. The changes already coming into my life were overwhelming. I was going to have to find a new job, pay my mortgage, pay my bills and I couldn’t focus on anything else. The last thing I needed or wanted was a date. I resisted change and closed myself off to the possibility of meeting the potential love of my life.
We stayed in touch and three months later she was still texting me and asking me if I would like to meet this man for a date. It was coming up to Christmastime and she told me he would be away for a whole month with his family and it was now or never! So I agreed to the date. Fast forward ten years and I have been married to this man, my blind date for six and a half years now. The moral of this story is that if I had never lost my job, I would never have met my husband. The enormous change that brought so many sleepless nights, turned into an opportunity of a lifetime. And from that day onward, I realised we always have a choice. We can either embrace change or fear it. Change no longer represents fear for me, but an opportunity for growth, new beginnings and a chance for real transformation in my life.
I would love to know your thoughts about change and if any changes that have happened in your life created a new opportunity for you in some other way.
There is truly always a rainbow after every storm, if we can just wait for that storm to pass.
Enjoy the video and, as always, until next time…