Embracing Change with the Help of Mindfulness
Do you embrace change?
Often when people hear the word “change” they respond with a sense of caution or reluctance. I used to be one of those people. When we think of change, we might think of a move, changing jobs or having a baby. These changes can create a great deal of stress and uncertainty in one’s life. They can also create a great deal of excitement, optimism and resilience. With the help of mindfulness, I discovered that can lean into change and become aware of new possibilities in my life. This is the story of how I used mindfulness to support me in one of the biggest decisions of my life. Quitting my lifelong dream job!
I left my dream job! Yup, my lifelong dream job. I had dreamed of being a school teacher most of my life. In 2003, my dream came true, I became a kindergarten teacher to the most amazing group of kids at a large public-school board. I loved my work! The pay was fantastic. The benefits were terrific. I had great holidays and felt like I was making a difference in the world. It was more than a job to me. It was my identify. So why did I leave? I must have been crazy right? Maybe a nervous breakdown?
Choosing Courage over Comfort
Well, you are not totally wrong. Some of the confidence that came with my decision was in thanks to a crazy leap of faith. On the surface it seemed a bit crazy or even irresponsible to others, but that crazy leap of faith is exactly what I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone. Leaving a good job with great pay and benefits was not a decision I came to overnight. It was a decision that had bubbled up over a number of years. However, once I truly considered it, it was a rather swift decision. It was not free of fear, worry, or regret. Many sleepless nights, lengthy conversations with close friends and my husband all contributed to my final leap.
I was being asked to choose courage over comfort. Courage in the form of trust, bravery, and the following of a deep desire. A desire to cultivate more connection, community, and compassion in my world. I saw that my students, my colleagues and I need something else. I was suffering from burnout and compassion fatigue as were many of my colleagues. Emotional overwhelm and dysregulation were becoming more present in our classrooms and conventional methods to support students seemed ineffective. We needed to try something different. I kept holding out and waiting for my school district to create new programs and supports for students and teachers emotional and mental health. One day while in a yoga practice I heard a small brave voice say “What are you waiting for? You can offer these programs? Don’t wait for the district to do it.” I knew I had to leave my comfort zone and create something new for students and staff to best support their mind and body as well as my own.
What came next?
In 2019 I launched, Present Possibilities. After a decade of studying and practicing mindfulness meditation, yoga, wisdom traditions and alternative modalities to support my own wellbeing I founded Present Possibilities. It is a small business focused on empowering kids, teens and adults with mindfulness and meditation to thrive rather than just survive in our modern-day world.
This transition required a great deal of self-compassion, kindness, confidence and clarity. All characteristics I have developed over time and thanks to my personal mindful mediation practices. Mindfulness can help cultivate more self-worth as well as the beautiful practices of self-kindness. I believe without healthy self-care practices and a deep sense of self-worth we are more likely to feel stuck and avoid change. Mindfulness helped me embrace this change and hold myself with compassion during the difficulties that arose.
In time, I realized it was actually really just a pivot. A pivot away from one dream job to a new one that brought a new light into my life and the world. I was still teaching, just in a new role, in a new way, in new settings and with new students. I was still embracing my dream job; I had just changed gears and was following a new path. My desires and alignment had shifted and so my job had to follow. Tuning into my deeper awareness and the wisdom of my heart led me to choose courage over comfort. I knew I had to take action. It became louder the longer I waited. I learned to see it as a shift or a pivot and not a loss. Rather than becoming stuck in the possible judgments or loop of overthinking I empowered myself to see the possibilities. I was able to gracefully pivot from one dream job to another.
It is all a Practice
I continue to lean on my personal practice each day to embrace change, face difficulty and overcome the obstacles that show up. It is a muscle that must I need to strengthen each day to support me. I now have a much larger tool box of internal resources to call on when I need support.
Mindfulness can support you too! Small daily practices and changes can foster new awareness to possibilities. I love to use empowering questions during moments of stillness to help me embrace change. You can try questions like, Is this still true for me? Does this align with my true nature? What else can I choose to align with my greatest desires? What can I let go of? Spend a few moments each day in the present moment with stillness so you can hear the whispers of your heart. It has empowered me and it can empower you too.
About the author:
Amber Pavey is an experienced educator and with a specialty in secular mindfulness meditation, offering mindfulness programs in schools workplaces, and online to support and improve personal well-being. She shares evidence-based practices with kids, teens and adults in public and private settings. Amber will help you develop a practical understanding of mindfulness and meditation. You will gain insights about the current research, benefits, and practices to reduce stress, create connection, and foster more ease in your life.