“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” — Chinese Proverb
This is an apropos metaphor for the world we live in today. When you are faced with change you can either harness it or put barriers in its way.
Like it or not, change is inevitable. It happens all the time, and you cannot stop it. However, you can influence, direct, and even sometimes control it.
Like most things you face in life, this is a choice. You get to decide if you will allow change to scare you and set your thoughts to loss, or if you will allow change to excite you and set your thoughts to opportunity. Both options are within the realm of possibility, but you get to choose.
There are a lot of people across the world today who are utterly terrified of change. Many leaders cash in on this by playing on those fears to disempower the masses while grabbing power for themselves. This is why Brexit is an issue, why Trump and his white-supremacist supporters have overwhelmed the US government, and why religious fundamentalists keep women and those they deem insufficiently zealous down. The fear of change drives people to extremes.
This is no excuse for any of the terrible actions many take, nor for those who are complicit by not choosing a side. The only credit I give any of them is that, while they may be choosing poorly, at least they are choosing. But I digress.
Change happens. How do you want to handle it?
Mindfulness makes you aware
Right here and now, you have the power to be mindful of what you are thinking and what and how you are feeling. That awareness of your present self opens you up to guiding change that you can make. Anything having to do with who you are is within your purview to change.
Yes, there are some big scary issues in the world today. Messed up politics, life-threatening climate change being ignored for profit, threats of war over ludicrous things like religion and oil, and other surreal issues. They can be overwhelming, and lead you to believe you have no power over them.
But that is not true. You do have power, but it has to begin with you.
When it comes to you, your thoughts and feelings and general choices for how you live, you get to decide what they will be. The choice is yours. You are only a victim of circumstance if that is what you choose to be.
When you accept that you are empowered to make your life how you would prefer it to be, you can influence, impact, and even control change. As much as it may seem small and insignificant to change yourself — it is actually not.
No, awareness that you can change yourself is enormous. Everything starts small, and the best way to influence the big-picture issues of the world is to empower the small-picture matters.
In other words, you matter, and you can choose to stand like a wall against change or let change, like the wind, power you like a windmill.
You get to choose how you change…or not
It does not matter where you come from. There is no need for you to be from a wealthy family, a higher education, a specific gender, sexual orientation, religious group, or anything else. You have all the power to make choices and decisions when it comes to how you will handle change. The choice to go with it, direct it, or stand against it is entirely up to you.
What’s more, no matter who you are you are worthy and deserving of that power. You are a good person unless you take intentional actions to harm others. It may be unavoidable in the course of your life that you will be the cause of another’s hurt, discomfort, upset, sadness, and depression. Yet unless you set out with the intent of causing those negative feelings you are a good person.
Everybody screws up. Everyone is perfectly imperfect. There are no exceptions.
I am well aware that over the course of my life I have been the cause of hurt feelings, disappointment, unhappiness, and other negatives. I’ve no doubt you can find an ex-girlfriend of mine who will tell you what an awful person I am. Of course, I feel bad about that, but it was never my intent to be hurtful to anyone. But it does happen.
When it comes to choosing change you are empowered to choose for yourself to either accept change, try to direct and control change, or resist it. But change is irresistible, it is going to happen…so why not choose to be the windmill? You are worthy and deserving of that.
Change is a force for good
History is all about change. Disempowered minorities have fought to be empowered, and won. Horrific dictators, presidents, and kings have been overthrown or otherwise removed from power. The greedy have been brought down and stripped of their influence.
Of course, change can be scary. There is a comfort in what you know, and change means that comfort might cease to be. Yet it could also mean that you change into something even more comfortable.
In my experience, more often than not change has been a force for good. Yeah, the initial application of change and/or the way it came about might be painful. Deaths, divorces, break-ups, fires and other natural disasters are an upheaval. But what comes next can be good, in especial when you do not stand like a wall and resist it.
When all is said and done, change is going to occur. You get to decide what action you take in regards to change.
An important proviso
Final special note about resisting change. When a change is a bad change, that is not the time to just stand against it, but to take action to resist it. Make phone calls, write articles, email leaders, attend protests, campaign for the good guys and vote in elections — take whatever actions you can take. That is the windmill versus the wall of the Chinese proverb at the beginning of this article.
Sometimes you need to resist change, but action goes much further than just being a wall to be scaled, knocked down, or tunneled under.
When the inevitable happens, and change is inevitable, how you face it impacts if it will be good or bad for you.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, and you can choose how change impacts you.