Embrace Change

BY Agnes Kowalski TIMENovember 15, 2014 PRINT

As we move deeper into autumn, things are changing fast! The days shorten noticeably, trees let go of their green summer chlorophyll to reveal their inner fire. Birds migrate. Animals prepare for winter. Change is all around us. Actually, change is all around us all the time, but frequently we resist it.

There is a very human tendency to want to cling to familiar patterns, even if they are outgrown and no longer serve us. At times, we outgrow relationships, jobs, and various aspects of our personal lives. Deep in our hearts, we know that we are ready to move on, but we resist. It reminds me of a children’s story I once read of a autumn leaf who was afraid to let go of her tree. She clung tenaciously, even as her friends all let go and moved on. In the end, of course, she let go too, and all was well.

I like to think of this story from another angle, the perspective of the tree. If the tree clings to her leaves and refuses to let them fall to the ground, she cannot grow new buds for the following spring. It is now, in the fall, that buds are formed which will sleep dormant throughout the winter and burst forth with new growth in the spring. We all feel like the tree sometimes, clinging to the familiar, not knowing that we are holding back our own growth in the process.

The tough part (for both the tree and ourselves) is of course, the winter. We too may experience a period of harsh cold barrenness, wondering why we ever let go of our leaves. We feel naked, open, and exposed. We may not see our own new growth right away, and may not recognize the need for a period of quietness before we begin to grow again. For us and for the tree, it may be a “dark night of the soul.” But spring comes as it always does.

It’s not easy for either the tree or us to embrace change, but we must. Change is the stuff of life, the stuff of growth. This autumn, watch a tree closely, day by day. Follow it as it changes and prepares for winter. Maybe pick a leaf or two to press and keep as a reminder of the necessity of letting go of those things that no longer work in our lives. Sometimes its change will seem slow, almost imperceptible. Other days, you may find yourself astonished at how quickly it changes. Autumn is here. Things are moving quickly. To make it through to spring, we must embrace the process of natural change, and welcome it as best we can with open minds and loving hearts. Change happens, to both people and trees.

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*Image of “couple” via Shutterstock

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