• Carolyn Brouillard

Choosing Change: Taking (and Surviving) the Leap

I’m sitting on my bed with the window open and the sheer curtains blowing in the breeze. Looking out my bedroom door, through the distant windows, all I can see are leaves, like my house is perched in a forest glen instead of the middle of a city neighborhood. It’s one of my favorite places in the house and one of many experiences I will miss when I pack up and leave this house and this state in less than three weeks.

Often times, big change is preceded by those moments of “something’s got to give,” “I gotta get out of here,” or simply “fuck this.”

Change is often a rebellion against something that we feel isn’t working in our lives, whether that is a relationship, a job, a town, or anything else that is getting under our skin.

I’ve definitely been there. I was there when I dropped out of college the first time, when I asked for a divorce, and when I decided to stop drinking. There are countless other examples, but what they share is that I was usually walking away from something that had gotten so uncomfortable and dysfunctional that I felt like change was the only way out. The energy was more about leaving behind what I didn’t want, as opposed to reaching for what I did want.

This time is different. I am being pulled into change, lured by the prospect of new doors opening up. I am choosing change not because I am particularly dissatisfied with my life, but because new and long dormant desires have awoken in me and I want to follow where they lead.

I am following the breadcrumbs, as I am wont to say.

It is incredibly exciting, liberating, and affirming. It is proof to myself that I am free and creating my life. But I’ll be honest--it is also a bit unnerving.

In 18 days I will load up my car and drive 1,500 miles east, leaving behind a house that hasn’t yet sold and a mortgage I still have to pay. I will set up for some unknown period of time in a borrowed house in a little village on Cape Cod where I spent every summer growing up but no longer know anyone, except my parents. I am taking a step away from my job and the certainty of a 40-hour a week paycheck to give me a little more space to explore and adjust.

The result is that I am entering a period of openness, flexibility, and possibility unlike any I've experienced before, at least in my adult life.

Life will be more fluid, as I am perpetually navigating the crossroads of my new life. I have my vision and ideas of how I want to spend my days, but I’m also allowing for my dreams and desires to pivot and develop in new ways that I haven’t thought of yet. I want to leave lots of open space for inspiration, beauty, and magic to come in.

That is my intention. Now, because I am human, the reality is that I’ll have my moments of feeling afraid, of grasping for certainty and security, of missing the company of familiar people. I know that there will be things that look like setbacks that leave me questioning whether I made a mistake. I know I will feel impatient at times for things to click into place faster. But I also know that I am better equipped now more than ever to take this on.

I have done the inner work to better ensure that when I show up in my new state and in my new life, I will be the person I want to be.

To help me remember that, I wrote a letter to the future me that is sitting on her new bed in her new house wondering “WTF did I do?!”

First, I told her to take a deep breath, and then another. I reminded her that she loves the excitement and adrenaline of leaping into the unknown, that it is the joy of self-expansion that makes life so rich. I told her that we got here because we believed in us and our power to create a beautiful and interesting life.

If she is feeling afraid, I guided her to ask what belief about herself and the world is giving rise to that fear. We know from experience that fears are a sign that we are misaligned with the truth of who we are and the power we have. We know that introspection leads to revelation and understanding and ultimately, if we can bring objectivity and compassion to bear, we can release the fears and flawed premises that distort our view and keep us living small.

I told that unsettled girl on the bed to find her ground in the present moment. I told her to trust that we will have all of the information and tools we need when we need them. When she feels that jitter in her brain, I asked that she ask herself:

What is true for me in this moment?

Where can I place my focus that will bring me to a calmer, more peaceful place?

What is needed to realign to feeling good?

This period of change is calling on me to trust myself in a new, bold way and truly practice what I’ve been learning the past year. It’s also requiring me to trust that the universe will respond to my leap and support me in what I want to do. Closing my eyes, I like to visualize giant trampolines appearing under me as I fall. For in making this leap, I’m not looking to firmly land in one spot. I want to keep bouncing and flying through the air. At least until I find what I truly love.

Things like a move or leaving a job bring change right in our faces, but really, everything is always moving and shifting to some degree. We are never truly standing still, especially in today’s world.

The present moment is often the most ground we will ever have.

Focusing on or trying to overly manage what is ahead can create anxiety and shoo away all the good things that want to come in. My promise to myself is that I will get off the bed, open the door, and invite in the inspiration and magic that awaits.

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