Living in Change, and in Truth

by David King on December 6, 2012

change Mahatma Gandhi was famously quoted as saying, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” But we have a love-hate relationship with change, us humans. We try our damnedest to embrace it, to go with the flow. Yet on a very fundamental level, perhaps evolutionary and definitely mechanistic and instinctual, we despise the thing. We try to avoid it at every turn (which is ironic in itself, since turning is an act which necessitates a change in perspective), especially when things are going well, or even (dreadfully) when things are just good enough.

Rationally, of course, I could imagine a world without change and it would be all too boring and horrible: No one would really learn, because there would be nothing new to learn from. People would never progress, or invent anything, or determine solutions to the world’s problems, because all of these things would require change. There would be no growing up, no journey into adulthood and old age. By extension, there would be no wisdom. There would be nothing, really, since it all started with change – one big bang of it.

That’s the rational side of change, of course – the side that we appreciate intellectually and stuff into our bedside drawers with self-help labels and publisher trademarks. That’s the side of change we try to hold onto as we navigate our daily lives, as we wade through all the realities of change, barely keeping our heads above the water. These realities know no reason. They are cognitively raw and emotionally disturbing. They are the kind that rip us from our expectations and leave us naked once again. They suck, to state it most plainly.

If we look to psychology, major life stressors are often conceptualized based on their implications for change. The more changes that result from a particular event or experience, the more stressful it typically feels. The death of a spouse or child might feel the worst, especially when the point of comparison is catching a cold.

But despite all its rawness, there is more to be done with change than simply the rationalization of its requirement for existence. You see, such a rational perspective speaks of a giving up – a throwing up of one’s arms, a knee-jerk had-enoughness that places change next to death and taxes on the shelf of life’s inevitable annoyances.

The third perspective, the one that involves more than an intellectual appreciation or pessimism over the inevitable, speaks of a giving in. And there’s a big difference, because giving in to change is where the true embrace occurs. It implies a deeper understanding of how the world works, and a surrender to the truth that good often comes from bad, and that change always leads to wisdom if we so allow it. Beauty is not only found in the breakdown. Beauty also resides in change, and in all that keeps us moving and propels us forward – and teaches us. At a very basic level, one might find beauty in a spilled glass of milk. But if we truly give in to the notion of change, and embrace it, beauty might also be found in loss, and even in death.

In order to embrace change (either in the moment or upon reflection), one must accept the deepest truth in life – that everything changes. Whether the milk spills or the relationship ends or the money is spent, this is the way of the world. And in this way, lessons are learned, new opportunities are created, and paths are carved that can only be dreamed and imagined, but which may in fact lead to some conception of better.

Stable systems have only two options: stay the same, or become unstable. But unstable systems (particularly those of the human variety) are always capable of returning to a state of stability. We must see change for what it is. It is birth, death, and all the moments in between. It is both heartache and beauty, both turbulent ocean and tranquil sea. It is that which drives us, and keeps us on our toes, and makes us wake every morning to a new day.

Change is potential, even when it sucks. Use it wisely…

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

dreiski December 6, 2012 at 2:48 am

This is sort of Fight Club-esque.

“Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.” – Chuck Palahniuk,


Salah Dean December 17, 2012 at 5:10 am

Going through big change in my life recently, that I refused to accept for a while makes me connect to this inspiring article blog post. I truly believe we have love hate relationship with change. I am a believer that a healthy routine can have as inspiring outcomes as change but change comes with a price or loss or win or stop that makes us wonder what’s next. Sometimes change is needed & sometimes it comes undesired nevertheless, quoting you “In order to embrace change, one must accept the deepest truth in life – that everything changes….And in this way, lessons are learned, new opportunities are created, and paths are carved that can only be dreamed and imagined, but which may in fact lead to some conception of better. ”
On that note,I’m focusing hoping for the better.
Great read.


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