Saturday, August 27, 2011

Light in the Tunnel- Change Management

This post first appeared on my blog at Soulseeds, and is the first in a four part series. All four articles are on the Soulseeds blog.

I have whiplash from following news of the economy in recent weeks. One day I read an article titled, “The top 10 reasons the U.S. will not see a double dip recession”. On the same day I read another report titled, “The top 10 reasons a double dip recession has already begun.” So which is it? Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is so sure they have the truth. In order to keep a little perspective in the madness, here are 10 lighthearted ways to know that we are in a recession.

10. For his birthday last week, President Obama asked for cash gifts….in Canadian dollars.

9. Angelina Jolie and Madonna have begun adopting American babies.

8. You now receive pre-declined credit cards in the mail.

7. Paris Hilton has changed her name to Paris Holiday Inn.

6. When you order your MacDonald’s burger, the server asks “Can you afford fries with that?”

5. When the ATM declines your transaction, you don’t know if it’s because you or the bank have insufficient funds.

4. You take your sales clients for a round of miniature golf.

3. A picture is now only worth a hundred words.

2. Wall Street has been renamed- Wal-Mart Street.

1. The light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off because we can’t afford the electric bills.

The economy is not a laughing matter of course, and many people are feeling its devastating effects. I don’t mean to minimize the difficulties in any way. However a little fun can release some of the tension and offer a little perspective. When you get up each morning, as you eat your Credit Crunch for breakfast and before you watch the so- called news, remind yourself that economic change is in itself a gift. Every economy, strong and weak, creates new, and unforeseen, opportunities. Many jobs today were not even imagined 20 years ago. A recession is an awesome time to get innovative, bolster your resilience and believe in the power of change.

There IS light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s NOT a train). It’s an LED bulb, which incidentally is one product that is selling well this year. This in itself is a sign of optimism. People are making a change to their energy habits after all the focus on sustainability in recent years. Change is happening like it always does and we seem to be finally catching on. Go with change because the light is calling you to make empowered choices and live with optimism. The darkness of the tunnel; your personal shadows, blind spots and forbidden thoughts, are punctuated by glimmers of light. Embrace the time in the tunnel, whether it’s a recession, an illness or a loss. The light is there in the tunnel, waiting for you to see it.

Optimism is the light at the beginning, middle and end of the tunnel. No matter how dark it feels, stay focused on the light which flickers with a reminder of your strength and brilliance. When you stare at light, you still see it when you look away. It’s the same when you focus on your inner light. It colors everything you see with optimism. With optimism, it’s ALL light and no tunnel, just open space and possibility. Follow the light of your intuition and you will arrive at new and exciting opportunities.

Where do you look for optimism? There is an ancient Sufi story about the trickster Nasrudin who loses his keys. His friends find him on his hands and knees under a street lamp. They ask him, “What have you lost?” “My keys”, he says. After a while, one of his friends asks him if he is sure this is where he lost them. He says, “No. I dropped them over in the next street but the light is so much better here.”

As the Zen proverb says, “If you can’t find it where you’re standing, where do you expect to wander in search of it?”

The shimmering new realizations arrive where you are because they ARE you in some new form.

Rumi wrote about light,

The lamps are different.
But the Light is the same.
So many garish lamps in the dying brain's lamp shop, Forget about them.
Concentrate on essence, concentrate on Light.
In lucid bliss, calmly smoking off its own holy fire, The Light streams
toward you from all things, All people, all possible permutations of good,
evil, thought, passion.
The lamps are different,
But the Light is the same.
One matter, one energy, one Light, one Light-mind, Endlessly emanating all things.
One turning and burning diamond,
One, one, one.
Ground yourself, strip yourself down,
To blind loving silence.
Stay there, until you see
You are gazing at the Light
With its own ageless eyes.

Trust the opportunity of change. If we learn nothing else from the ebb and flow of economies, let it be a reminder of the inevitability and opportunity of change. It’s those who adapt best to change who thrive on the waves of life. It is those who are able to stay present to the loving silence of the moment who find the treasures of change.

In recent weeks I have been writing about change that is forced on us by external circumstances- grief, job loss, divorce, physical pain etc. In these situations you can’t change the circumstance; you can only change your attitude towards them. I turn my attention now to a different sort of change, change that you help to create. These are the opportunities that present themselves for you to get active and get involved. They might be changes to your lifestyle or health, they might be changes to your consumption or energy efficiency, or they might be changes to the way society functions. Whichever it is, similar principles apply. The goal is to live and express beauty, truth, justice and love in your own life, and intend those same virtues for the entire planet. When you do this, you transform the world with light from the inside out.

In the coming days I will outline a three point plan for how to be an agent of conscious change, or in other words how to effect change in the healthiest way possible. It’s the AAA plan for change management that involves

1. Awareness,

2. Acceptance and

3. Action.

There is an article on each step at Soulseeds.

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