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If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Personal Perspective on Change - guest writer Rian

My life has seen quite a few changes in recent years. It has always fascinated me why things happen the way they happen. You may think differently, but I am convinced that things happen for a reason, even though we might not always be able to see or comprehend that reason. Such is the case in my life.

In 2006 I started my journey in search for some answers to important questions in my life. This was the start of a period of change. A change within me: what position do I take in life, how do I view life, how do I want to lead my life? A journey into my values and boundaries and into who I really am.

In the latter half of 2008 a big change was added to this journey. Our family moved to the U.S. This was a physical change: a change of environment, culture, language, habits and thus a change in how we perceive our own culture, habits, and environment. You only realize this change of how you perceive your own culture when placed back in that old culture. A culture that suddenly doens’t feel that familiar anymore. This is a very distinct experience.

Changes can be conscious choices, they can cross your path, or they can be caused by certain situations or  opportunities. Either way, change is movement and can elicit all kinds of responses. Sometimes you immediately feel that a change is a positive experience and it makes you feel happy. Other times you might feel surprised by the change because you discover a piece of yourself that you weren’t aware of yet and which makes you feel good. Whenever this happens, I perceive it as a connection with who I really am. I had this experience during our stay in the U.S. I discovered that the space that is literally available provided me with space to breathe and it allowed me to be who I really wanted to be. I felt more energy because I wasn’t constantly confronted with the energy in my environment. Our home had a most wonderful view of wetlands through which I could recharge my battery within minutes.

Because we had a new start with all new people around us I had and took the chance to present myself the way I really was and felt at that time. There was noone who had a history with me and who tried to place me back in his familiar world and in preconceived molds.

A change, however, can also be perceived as negative. It can cause sadness because you have to let go of something or someone that you would have loved to hold on to a little longer. It might feel as if you’re back where you started. I strongly felt this way when we were unexpectedly relocated back to the Netherlands, earlier than we anticipated. I grieved for the loss of space and nature surrounding us in the U.S. and for the fact that I wasn’t quite done with my new experience yet. Life in the Netherlands had, of course, taken its predictable course, nothing much had changed, except for me. As a result of my new experiences I felt (and actually still feel) that habits that seemed so obvious before, didn’t seem obvious or self-evident to me at all - not anymore. To me, the fact that something had always been a certain way didn’t mean that it had to stay that way. For my environment, nothing much had changed and I felt the expectation that it would be nothing less than normal that I’d step right back into the old, familiar world that I had previously lived in. This was terribly confusing for people in my environment, and even more so for myself.

The Netherlands is so much smaller. There are many people living too closely together. Everything is happening at a fast pace with much impatience and it seems like nobody has time to listen and to see what is really happening around them. Everyone seems to be shouting and fighting for their own spot. This change was and still is my own fight. Because I still want to be able to breathe and feel the space and peace inside me to be who I really want to be. I want to take time even though life seems to rush by. I do now realize that also this change is a movement forward since it is impossible to really move backwards. And as I stated before, nothing happens without a reason. My challenge is, wherever I am, to be who I want to be and to take my own responsibility for my own life and happiness.

I have already broken many circles in which I previously was going round and round. I am also aware that I’m probably still walking other circles that I do not yet see, or maybe I don’t want to see them yet until I am aware of self-repeating patterns and events and I choose to change whatever I can and want to change. Or merely accept whatever I don’t want to change or think I cannot change. This requires courage and confidence because fear for the unknown can be daunting at times.

I know one thing: If I don’t change anything, I will keep getting what I’m already getting so If I want something else I will have to change something.

By my dear friend Rian Peeperkorn

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