Photo Credit: Bit Cloud, Unsplash.com

Written by Paul Silva
October 4, 2019

It starts with a thirst . . .

We all have a thirst for change, even if we don’t necessarily want it. That thirst is often an itch that can’t be scratched, a sound that can be heard but not located. It wants to be slaked, to feel full in the belly of the mind.

We often don’t know or understand what that thirst wants, other than it just wants. And it’s frustrating when we don’t exactly know what it is that needs changing; but we sense in our bones that something needs to shift, that our old ways of operating no longer serve us.

As a person in addiction recovery, I know this feeling all too well. When I was active in my alcoholism, my thirst was insatiable . . . for all things. I used alcohol to satisfy the thirst, but it wasn’t enough.

Attention from others, food, seeking external validation, etc. were among many things I used to fill the void, but it only lasted for a short time. I was always in lack, always feeling like I wasn’t enough, and when I finally hit my bottom, I knew that I had to change.

And that scared the hell out of me.

Stay Anchored

Dr. Carl Jung, in a letter to Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, described the craving for alcohol as “the equivalent of a low level of spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God.”

He further writes,

“You see, alcohol in Latin is ‘spritus’ and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison. The helpful formula therefore is: spiritus contra spiritum.”

My thirst was never about alcohol. Alcohol was a chaotic and greedy substitute. My real thirst was the desire to live from a place of authenticity–and this was tested when I got sober. How could I make the shift from alcohol-dependent to successfully sober when I didn’t feel connected to myself or Spirit?

When we seek changes (large and deep ones, that is) we feel like we’re standing at the abyss of the unknown, even if we’ve been through something similar. We’re both frightened and exhilarated.

Whether it’s moving on after losing a loved one, or adjusting to retirement, dealing with a cross-country move, learning to be alone after leaving a long-time relationship, dealing with the decision to shift your career, or handling the fear brought about by jumping into something new like writing a book, we’re dislodging ourselves from the known, the comfortable, and into the itchiness of the “what now?” phase.

We kick up the dust and ash of our old life or way of being as we push forward towards what we want.

But how do we do this? How do we deal with change when that thirst comes knocking, and how do we remain true to our own Higher Self while in transition? How can we stay spiritually, mentally, and emotionally anchored as the gusts of change whip around us?

  1. Appreciate and acknowledge the end—Make peace with the fact that you’re no longer where you used to be. Grieve the old ways and person in that place. Thank them for the work they did to get you to where you are today.
  2. See the situation as an opportunity—Rather than seeing things as a loss, look at what’s to come. What are you gaining with this new shift in your life? How would Spirit want us to see this chance to grow in our lives?
  3. Use your experience from previous changes—This isn’t your first time making a big shift in your life. What did you draw from within yourself the last time you went through a large change? Was it your resilience? Your compassion? You ingenuity? Summon the strengths from within.
  4. Stay in the present—There’s no conflict in the now, as Eckhart Tolle would say, so instead of projecting fears of the future or ruminating about the past, stay in the present. Stay focused on what can be done right here and right now. It’ll alleviate stress and keep you grounded.
  5. Maintain self-care—It may feel natural to want to ignore self-care to tend to what seems like more pressing issues, but this is precisely when you need self-care most. Recharge your batteries and make your serenity and health top priority, even if it’s only for a few minutes a day.
  6. Tap into your support group—Lean into other people who have either experienced what you’re going through and/or those who are there to encourage and support you through your transition. Create new friends and colleagues in your new area of life.

I still use these daily, in one form or another. Transitions don’t have to be dramatic, but we’re always in a state of flux—we’re either moving towards something or away from something.

We all long for comfort and ease, and when we’re creating a new life or new aspect of our lives, we’re going to feel anything but comfortable. Using the tips provided can help to keep you less fazed and more focused on the goal, which is to assimilate and settle into the new changes in your life.

When you’re connected to Spirit in the midst of upheaval or change, you’re more grounded and more likely to respond and act in ways that’ll serve you. You’ll rise from the ashes quicker and with a renewed sense of purpose. You’ll actually get excited about where you are now, regardless of the current circumstances.

You’ll rise above it all, thirst quenched and ready to tackle the next thing that taps your spirit on the shoulder.

Photo Credit: Bit Cloud, Unsplash.com