How many members of Congress does it take to change a light bulb?

Every one of them, and they still can’t do it. They spend all their time arguing about who deliberately caused the light bulb to break in the first place, debating whether the science of electricity is reliable and fighting over which programs will be cut to pay for the new light bulb. On both sides, they seem to be preserving the world as they know it rather than crafting new partnerships that actual work in today’s world. In the end, it seems that they would rather stay stuck in the darkness of their own perspective than enjoy the warm glow of meaningful, shared solutions.

Change is not easy for any of us. We fight to hold on, and we fight to let go. Whether its politicians fighting to hold on to their seats (literally) or any one of us holding on to the past for grim death, we all have our ways of fighting to preserve the world as we know it and need it to be. We forget that change is inevitable. While reality is moving on, we often end up in mortal combat with change, either resisting it or pushing too hard, and you know who wins this battle every time- reality! Reality always wins.

The first truth of change is that change happens, and we are ALWAYS in the middle of it.

The Taoist story about the farmer whose horse runs away makes the point well. The neighbors say “That’s awful.” The famer says, “We’ll see!” Sure enough the horse returns the next day with another horse, a wild horse. The neighbors say, “You are lucky.” He says, “We’ll see!” The next day his son rides the wild horse, falls off and breaks his leg. The neighbors say, “You poor man.” He says, “We’ll see!” The army comes through town the next day, taking all able bodied boys off to war, leaving the farmer’s boy behind because of his broken leg. The neighbors gather and say, “We’re so pleased for you.” The farmer says, “We’ll see!”

There is ALWAYS more to come, more to learn, more to unlearn, more to be revealed, more to be hidden, more to wonder about, more to experience. We get so stuck on our current perspectives, forgetting that these too will change.

Apply the same principle to American politics. When conservatives are in the majority, liberals threaten to move to Canada. When liberals are ruling, conservatives threaten to move to…… Texas. (just kidding, I have some very good and open hearted friends from Texas)

We’ve seen a lot of fear mongering and anxiety in the last week. Just think of some of the headlines-

America is going to default on Tuesday and won’t be able to pay its bills. ~ We’ll see!

Washington strikes a deal about debt ceiling. Crisis averted. ~ We’ll see!

The deal will easily pass through the Senate. ~ We’ll see!

The deal may stall in the House. ~ We’ll see!

We’ll end up in another Great Depression. Lets all move to Nutopia. ~ We”ll see!

Someone is always crying “The sky is falling!” whether its politicians, the media or any one of us havin ga bad day. So we run to escape the falling sky. The truth is that the sky is never falling, but it’s always moving. We would be much better off to stop running, and enjoy the blue sky of the future. There is always more to see of that blue sky. Life is an adventure and when you get close enough, take Jimmy’s advice and kiss the blue sky of possibility. You can’t escape reality and you can’t beat change. It’s much better to join them. Once you make friends with change, it’s like a light bulb goes off in your mind. You see the light and dance in step with reality, until you and reality are like lovers spooning in the still of night.

As hard as change is, there is a peace within that grounds you while all else is changing. Wake up to this inner peace, and you will manage change with ease. Peace is not about being in a place where there is no noise, confusion or challenge. It is to be in the midst of those things and still feel calm. As Eckhart Tolle says, “Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive. Inner peace does not.”

Not even a leaf stirs on the well rooted tree that is your inner peace. It is a pond without the slightest ripple, the silence in the midst of a busy, star filled sky. Many things keep moving and changing around you, and yet your inner spirit remains calm and grounded. Visualize this inner calm every time change leaves you feeling anxious or unsettled. You are peaceful at your core.

Try repeating this affirmation-

I am at ease and peaceful even while everything changes around me.

Or this Eskimo Blessing-

May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart.

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  1. Ian — Another affirming, thought-provoking post! I love the farmer/son/horse story — there’s so much pressure on us to decide what we like or don’t like, what’s good or bad, who wins and who loses. Seems to me the serenity it takes to accept change and indecision is closely related to humor.

  2. ian says:

    So true Jeffrey- I find this current debate comical. Now people are saying that the agreed spending cuts will kill the recovery. We’ll see. The deal contains very few cuts to 2012 spending. We do like to find things to worry about, dont we?

  3. Chris Hollis says:

    I never listen to the news as I’d rather have inner peace. The news just
    stirs up strife and angry feelings among the peoples of this great
    nation.

  4. Fred says:

    This article came into my life at the very moment I needed it. Perfection!
     

  5. ian says:

    Awesome Fred.

  6. Lenor says:

    May the road rise to meet you
    May the wind be always at your back
    May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rains fall soft upon your fields
    and til we meet again May God (whatever you conceive him to be) hold you in the palm of his hand..
    …just the words of the old Irish Blessing should bring about inner peace and acceptance of whatever is to come!
    Thanks for your perceptions Ian!
     

  7. [...] is inevitable. That is the first truth of change. The second is that the future is open, and you can help to create it. The third truth is [...]

  8. Margaret says:

    How true, how true. We are so quick to form our ‘irrevocable’ position, away ahead of time. ‘We’ll see’ sounds much more appropriate and open to whatever may flow toward us. Keep on writing wisdom. Margaret

  9. Lenor says:

    ….change in itself is exhilarating!…it’s all in the perceptions of the eyes that behold it!

  10. [...] Managing Change in Chaotic Times. [...]

  11. [...] August 22nd,2011var addthis_product = 'wpp-261';var addthis_config ={"data_track_clickback":false};Managing Change in Chaotic TimesAugust 1st,2011How many members of Congress does it take to change a light bulb?Every one of [...]

  12. Bailey says:

    Interesting post, however I couldn’t quite look past how forgiving you are for what current liberal administration has done to our country. “We’ll see” if you still have this same peaceful outlook next time a conservative administration trips up.

  13. ian says:

    hi Bailey, good point. I hope I will take the same attitude and hope you will keep me accountable. LIke the article says, dont be too quick to form conclusions that what is currently happening is such a disaster. We’ll see if the liberals have done harm or good. Plus, they aren’t governing in a vacuum. They inherited a situation as they will pass one on. Its all related. Cause and effect comingle. Im not discouraging strong opinions, just dogmatic and absolute opinions. We’ll see.

  14. Bailey says:

    I like your outlook. Sorry if you thought I was being abrasive, tone is hard to communicate online.

  15. ian says:

    thats cool Bailey- keep in touch

  16. […] befriend change. Befriend change, and you will unlock the secret to a peaceful life. The first truth of change is that it happens and we are always in the middle of it. The second truth of change is to […]