Dr Mary Beth Ford
‘A Reflection on Working with Change’
Dr Mary Beth Ford
Change is a constant in our lives. Working with change opens us to discover opportunity. But we must remember. For the past 300 years our ideas about the world of change have come from Isaac Newton’s machine metaphor. For the past 150 years our ideas of struggle and competition have come from Charles Darwin’s theories about evolution.
The new sciences reveal a world filled with millions of species that adapt and thrive. They tell a different story of how life is capable of so much change and resilience. To learn from the behavior of living things offers us great opportunity. To let go of our mechanistic and competitive world views requires an enormous shift in perspective. The following three ways of thinking offer a place to begin.
First, we must understand what mystics and modern science have told us. Everything in the universe is connected with everything else. Nothing separates us.
The Earth community is a sacred community shared by all living things. Its members belong to the whole universe. Consider a whole and its parts. The universe is an integrated whole. Each one of us has a part to play in relationship to this whole. A sense of oneness is at the heart of being fully human and spiritually aware.
The more we know the more responsibility we have to care for all life. We must change from humans exploiting earth’s resources to participating members of a life community. True progress must benefit all members. Relationships are complex. But differences stimulate new ways of being. When we open our hearts and broaden our minds, we can build diverse relationships. We expand as human beings.
Second, we must understand that the human need for meaning underlies our desire for change. We pay attention and make choices based on what is called self-reference. Who are we? What do we aspire to be? As human beings, our capacity for self-reflection differentiates us from other species. But are we moving too fast to use our gift for reflection? How can we hear wisdom from within if we are never still enough to listen?
Third, we must understand that the shift from competition to cooperation may be the key to our survival. The story of bacteria reveals how living things adapt to preserve themselves. For 2 billion years bacteria ruled the world. They competed with each other and caused crises of global hunger and pollution. To save themselves from extinction, ancient bacteria moved away from selfish competition to dynamic cooperation. Today their descendants continue to thrive.
Life is a process of becoming. Expect surprises. Be curious about what comes next. Letting go of resistance and working with change is a step forward. It allows us a feeling of relief. It opens us to discover new ways of being. Each one of us has a great capacity for change. By participating in the dance of life, we become more resilient. We adapt and thrive in a chaotic world.
Blessings for your journey!
Dr. Mary Beth Ford
Author, Wisdom from the Gardens – Life Lessons
Mary Beth Ford © 2015