A heartfelt piece from one of our in-house counsellors here at Anglia Counselling, Penni Osborn, as she approaches the next decade of her life!
Oh no, the ‘big five-oh’! As my fiftieth birthday looms, I’ve found renewed wonder in the beauty of the Suffolk countryside as it makes its annual transition from summer into autumn. With views of freshly ploughed earth against a background of brooding skies and the rich crimsons, coppers and golds of the trees, autumn brings with it the opportunity to consider the changing seasons and, for me, the changes I have seen in this world, those I’ve witnessed in the lives of others, and those that I’ve personally experienced over the last five decades.
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven… – Ecclesiastes
The lyrics “To everything turn, turn, turn…” made famous in 1965 by the legendary band The Byrds, were taken from the Bible’s book of Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). They allude to there being a time for everything; both good and bad. The full verse reminds me of the impermanence of all events and provides a profound sense of connectedness amongst all human beings – change happens for all of us.
Sometimes it’s good, sometimes not so good. But it lets us know we’re alive, and that, whilst we are evolving as individuals, we remain connected to each other through our times of shared experience.
But my retrospect doesn’t carry the same weight as the actual event of change, and the effect it can have on our equilibrium – our thoughts, emotions and behaviour. Just when we believe everything is going fine, along comes one of life’s ‘curveballs’. It could be an unexpected illness, a close family bereavement, redundancy, divorce or any number of other events that turn our up-until-now balanced world, upside down. Even positive events like getting married or getting that ‘dream job’ can knock our equanimity out into the stratosphere and leave us struggling to find our way back to earth.
As humans, we are ‘wired’ to resist change. Learned habits are formed by the basal ganglia, a collection of nerve cells in our limbic brain.
Developed to protect us, unless we employ the efforts of the neocortex – our more recently evolved ‘thinking’ brain-habits are here to stay. Breaking them is no easy task. It requires the conscious acceptance of change. It means facing our fears and breaking paradigms that have been fixed and rigid. This takes immense courage and determination.
Familiarity equals security. All #change, whether positive or negative, can create stress.
When it’s negative, such as the terrible loss of a loved one, we feel like we have lost control, that a piece of us is missing and that life isn’t following the rules and patterns that it should. That sense of having no control creates fear and fear creates anxiety, stress and despair.
Paradoxically, change can bring with it so many gifts. We’ve all heard the saying “…a blessing in disguise…”. Change can lead us to self-actualisation; a richer and wiser version of ourselves. It can bring about possibilities that simply could not have existed without that curveball hitting. Change may be painful, unexpected and unwanted, but it’s also full of opportunities for personal growth; for reassessing our values, adding more tools to our emotional ‘toolbox’, building resilience and creating space for the ‘new’.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. – Albert Einstein
If you are currently overwhelmed by unexpected events and would like warm and non-judgemental help to regain your balance, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you! Alternatively, grab my free download Embracing Change.
Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of Conscious Living by Design™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.
Bob provides bespoke counselling services to clients in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).