Parker, Colorado

I am thankful that I live near a beautiful and serene walking path in my part of the world. I have walked this path many times, but today, a windy and cloudy day, I realized something.

Very recently, there used to be a wooded area around a bend with a bridge that I found serene. It was covered with all kinds of plants and trees. Beautiful and breathtaking, it was part of our path until the town leadership decided to remove the vegetation and remake the area to something more practical.

At first, I scoffed at this decision. I did not want it changed. I loved it the way it was with the old trees and swamp-like essence. I enjoyed seeing it every time I walked or rode on the path because it was familiar. It was comforting. It was good.

Today, as I was taking a morning stroll in the area, I realized its beauty, and I acknowledged that it was more than just “a practical redo.” I now can sit on a man-made rock formation and meditate or relax (even sleep). I am able to hear the stream (And I love the sound of running water!). I can appreciate the fact that now it will be nearly impossible for this area to flood.

It is progress. It is not so scary anymore. It is good.

I embraced the change.

The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.”– Kakuzo Okakaura

Change is scary, and most of us do not want to welcome it fully. But living an authentic life is about accepting the new, however painful or uncomfortable.

Welcoming unexpected changes in our lives, no matter how that might appear, is personal growth. It is knowing what you can and cannot control and embracing that fact. Growth is a gentle reminder that life is meant to be fluid. Growing is how we thrive.

But growth does not happen without change.

Here are four ways you can embrace change and thrive today.

Do something you have always been terrified of doing. You will realize that the fear was only an illusion. Once you do whatever it is you are afraid to do, you will have destroyed those thoughts, and the next time will not be so frightening.

Most of the time, what we fear is not something in the present, but something that was part of our past and now tied up in our present imagination. Doing what you dread despite feeling afraid will make you familiar with that awful feeling.

Once you know that feeling, you will be able to accept any changes that will come into your life with grace and courage. You will know that fear is temporary. You will learn that taking action despite fear will dissolve fear.

I have recently done something I was terrified of doing. I am now not afraid of it anymore and realized there was no reason for me to have been frightened.

You can, too!

If change is constant, then learning must also be continual.”– Meir Liraz

Do something you love that you stopped doing. Have you quit golfing or swimming? Did you stop crocheting or eliminated a hobby you enjoyed from your life because you now have too many “responsibilities?” If this is the case, get back into it! Find the time, even if it’s only for a half-hour per day. Once you restart this activity, you will feel authentically alive again.

Feeling alive again will help you handle any change that comes your way. You will have something you know you love to do. That will help ground you during difficult times of change (if you stick with it).

I am committing to scrapbooking again. What will you recommit to?

Become reacquainted with someone with whom you have lost contact. We lose contact with those we care about for many reasons, but many times, it’s because something changed in our lives.

Is there someone you would love to have back in your life again on any level? If the answer is yes, then you need to contact that person. Once you reunite with this person, you will have opened up more authenticity in your life.

You will be glad you reached out, and it will be easier to live with whatever changes you are facing.

Learn something new. Trying a new activity, hobby, or adventure makes us come alive. Leave the “I can’t” thoughts behind, and just do it. This new experience will enrich you, take you away from your current rut, and help you see beyond your preconceived fears. You might even discover a new direction for your life.

Finding something new helps you handle the changes in your life. It is practice before the change arrives. You will be ready because you’ve primed your mind. The more you learn, the better you will be prepared for anything that might occur in the future.

The above four ways to experience authenticity will inspire and allow you to live from your most raw, loving self. I realize some of these things might be harder to do during the current COVID-19 life, but they are not impossible.

Doing these things will help you accept change when it rears its challenging head. And, like a renovated wooded area, an authentic life is experienced with embracing the new, moving past our fears, and accepting what is.