Embracing Change as a Way of Life

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Guest post from Dan Garner


"When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge" ~Tuli Kupferberg
 

I try very hard to live a direct and meaningful life. I don't waste time watching television, I prefer to experience life directly. Thoreau's words I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach” had a great impact upon me at a young age.

I meditate, I write, and I spend a great deal of time outdoors; all in order to live deliberately and see life as it truly is.

One hurdle to being fully alive is our constant desire for something safe and permanent in this world. This  delusional craving causes us stress and unhappiness. We want to be forever young, for relationships to always be positive,  and our bodies to always be healthy and strong.

This stress then gets in the way of our ability to see things as they are. Alas our attachment to desired outcomes brings us suffering and a distorted reality. 

I have spent years as a minimalist, paring down unnecessary belongings to reduce my attachment to material possessions. I have placed emphasis on relationships and experiences as sources of happiness. I have to say that I have been much happier as a minimalist.

My wife and I spend a large portion of our resources on experiencing life rather than purchasing and caring for material “things”. We own only one  automobile, we have only second-hand furniture, and a simple home with a small yard. We live very simply and enjoy life. 

Despite my accomplishments as a minimalist, I still found one major obstacle between myself and peace of mind – I was still seeking safety and security instead of facing life boldly. I spent a large portion of this winter trying to carefully plan the rest of my life, to come up with a master plan that would guarantee happiness and security.

I think many seek to build careers or businesses, not to be bold and achieve, but in seeking security. There are two problems with this way of thinking:

      1.  There is no guaranteed safety. Even the best laid plans fail, nothing lasts forever.

      2.  As you build your empire ( or wealth, or business ) you will find that you spend a large amount of time trying to figure out how to protect it. Now we're back to stressful living. 

Because most of us are looking for security and safety we see change as awkward and unsure. We crave for things to stay predictable. It is this craving which causes much of our stress and unhappiness. 

This winter I had a set of plans fall through. I was crushed. I was put into a tailspin for a few days. What would I do now? My plan for continual bliss was falling apart. I was uncertain and fear paralyzed me for days.  Perhaps the most disappointing thing was my reaction. I was disgusted with myself for being so weak.

Where was all of the strength that I'd built through years of being mindful and practicing non-attachment? 

I have since recovered. First I forgave myself for being human. Next I did a lot of introspection to understand where my fears and doubts were coming from. I had doubted my own ability to handle whatever life threw at me so I sought something solid – a definite path.

I put so much stock into one path that I could not imagine taking another. 

I now realize that life happens. Life happens to everyone, no one is exempt. I am working on not worrying – no matter what. Life is what it is. Whatever happens, we choose how we react.

The growth and learning that come from making bold choices and decisions are more important to us as human beings than particular outcomes. 

In an all out attempt to awaken, to abandon a futile grasp for security, I have chosen to embrace change as a way of life. I am completely abandoning a fixed path. My wife and I have purchased a motor home and will live in it full time with no permanent address. I have no fixed plans for a career path. 

I currently work for the National Park Service, but beginning next year we will travel from place to place and seek adventure. My wife has a job which allows her to work on the road and I will rely on my creative abilities and  pursue opportunities that arise along the way. 

I have to admit that I still feel fear when I think of our new life, but it is not the kind of fear that immobilizes.  Instead it invigorates me. I feel bold. I am filled with a sense of excitement and adventure that I haven't felt since I was a teen. I look forward to embracing change as a way of life.

Dan Garner is passionate about travel, the outdoors, photography,and mindful living. Dan believes that everything we do matters and that through mindful living we all have the ability to change the world. Dan shares ideas for meaningful living at Zen Presence. He shares his photography at Dan Garner.

Source: myapophenia.blogspot.com via Dan on Pinterest

 

{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Fran Sorin July 8, 2013, 1:15 am

    Dan-

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience with fear…it’s tremendously helpful to others when you talk about fear ‘first hand’.

    Our society has turned the idea of fear into the ‘enemy’ – most times, it is considered to be counter-productive….and though we might note, our goal is to ultimately annihilate it. I have always followed Rollo May’s philosophy that ‘you create in spite of the fear’..that’s what i hear you saying.

    But thanks to a dear friend of mine, Bridgit Dengel, Founded of New York Voice Dialogue, she perceives fear in a different was – as a part of us that needs to be given a voice – listened to and appeased. Then it will feel that it needn’t rebel and is willing to recede – it sounds like a child’s voice- but isn’t that much of where our fear comes from?

    Love the fact that you’re living in a motor home. I’ll be checking in on you to see how your uncharted life evolves – With gratitude – Fran

    Reply
    • Dan Garner July 8, 2013, 12:39 pm

      Hi Fran,

      Thanks for reading. I agree that our fears need to be given a voice, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept what it has to say. We need to listen, but we must make our decisions from a higher level.

      Dan

      Reply
  • Sue | Life Coach July 8, 2013, 5:18 am

    I feel your fear but I totally understand it. Change is the only constant in this world and yet none of us is prepared for any change. We are not prepared because we have our fears. But I think you ‘re in a the right way. Feel the happiness of life everyday and face whatever it is that may come tomorrow.

    Reply
    • Dan Garner July 8, 2013, 12:44 pm

      Hi Sue,

      The only way to be prepared for fear of change is to be strong enough to accept anything that comes our way. Live with intent and passion but, without attachment to specific outcomes.

      Dan

      Reply
  • karen crossett July 8, 2013, 8:55 am

    Hi Dan, a great article. Your desire for freedom and adventure comes through strongly. While you write about fear I see so much courage in your writing. Enjoy your adventure.

    Reply
    • Dan Garner July 8, 2013, 12:46 pm

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for commenting. Courage comes through practice – it is acquired through facing our fears one at a time.

      Dan

      Reply
  • Elle July 8, 2013, 12:04 pm

    It seems we’re on the same wavelength Dan, having recently published a post on change myself. And I’ve read a couple more this week on other sites. How great is that?

    I think you’re spot on when you talk about embracing change as a way of life…ultimately we don’t have much choice in the matter do we? Unless stagnation is our goal…let me think for a minute…hmmmm don’t think too many of us will choose that one.

    Wishing you more wonderful adventures as you step out fearlessly into life. And I thank you Tess for sharing Dan’s insights.

    Reply
    • Dan Garner July 8, 2013, 12:48 pm

      Hi Elle,

      It seems that I run into you all over the web. Good to see you here, thanks for reading. I really enjoyed your post.

      Dan

      Reply
  • Dan Garner July 8, 2013, 12:35 pm

    Thank you Tess, for allowing me to share my story here. I’ve been a fan of The Bold Life for a while so it is a true honor to contribute. I hope that others will see that facing change boldly will open up new opportunities for them.

    Dan
    Zen Presence – Ideas for Meaningful Living

    Reply
  • Cathy Taughinbaugh July 8, 2013, 12:59 pm

    Hi Dan and Tess,

    I enjoyed reading about your new adventure and your process for working through your fear. Change can give us a new perspective and presents unique experiences that enrich our lives. Best of luck on your travels. I’ve heard of a number of people doing something similar and the feedback has all been positive. Have fun!

    Reply
  • Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com July 8, 2013, 3:02 pm

    Hi Dan…your post is further proof that there are no accidents and that many of us are on the same path. I too recently wrote a blog post about “feeling safe” (and secure) and then I just yesterday read another post from Elle (who commented above) about change. I so completely agree and relate to your stories. That’s why one of my favorite quotes is the one from Helen Keller that says, “Life is a daring adventure or nothing.” I think for me it is important to be reminded that it is only when we become comfortable with uncertainty that we open ourselves to infinite possibilities. ~Kathy

    Reply
  • Bethany @ Journey to Ithaca July 8, 2013, 6:20 pm

    Well put, Dan!

    I’ll just come out and say that I already knew about your current adventures, but reading what you’ve written about them, hearing about the mindset that led you to embrace such a life as freedom…It really spoke to me, with the changes that I am making in my life right now. We’ve planned so much, and I’ve gotten so attached to one plan, that it would cause me anxiety. Being flexible, being able to roll with the punches and make it work–THAT is life, that is freedom. Security is fake. We can’t control the wind. All we can do is adjust our sails. (Or pray that the motor starts, LOL)

    Bethany

    Reply
  • Nneka, Working Mystic July 11, 2013, 11:26 am

    Hi Dan, this is a really powerful and moving post.

    For me, the concept of no desire turned into a slippery slope of thinking that if I desired nothing, I could not ever be disappointed. For a while, it kept me from making any “bold” moves. It was more entrapping than freeing.

    What helped was embracing my desires, and, as you write about in your post, knowing that life will work out.

    Reply

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