Why is it that even though we know change is inevitable, we still fight against it? Is it a fear of the unknown? Is it a belief that the future isn’t going to be as good? Or is that we are happy and we don’t want things to change? Perhaps it is all of those.
Change is a fact of life. Nothing ever stays the same, the seasons change, we get older, we grow in our understanding; we change our jobs, our homes, our friendships, our partners, our clothes, and our mind!
We experience change on a daily basis and it is necessary for our evolution that we flourish in this ever changing environment. Yet whilst we know change is a necessary part of life it is something we often find ourselves resisting.
A year ago I read a book which was recommended to me called ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ It’s one of those books that you could read at any age but one which is so profound that it leaves a lasting impression. I certainly wish I’d been given this book as a child.
It’s a short story about four characters that live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. In the story the 'cheese’ is a metaphor for what you want to have in life whether that’s money, health, love, a good job or perhaps spiritual peace of mind, and the maze represents where you look for what you want.
In the book, when the cheese is moved, one character, overwhelmed by the change, is stuck mourning the loss of the cheese while another takes a different approach, embarking on a journey, braving the maze to find new cheese. As he travels through the maze he writes the lessons he learns on the walls of the maze reflecting on his journey and also in the hope that his friend, if he braved the maze, would see them and follow him.
It’s a simple storybook but the messages within it are profound.
1. The more important your cheese is to you, the more you want to hold on to it
2. If you do not change you can become extinct
3. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
4. Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese
5. When you stop being afraid you feel good
6. Imagining yourself enjoying new cheese leads to it
7. The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese
8. It is safer to search in the maze than remain in a cheeseless situation
9. Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese
10. When you see that you can find cheese and enjoy new cheese, you change course
Having experienced a number of life changes in the last few years, starting with a significant relationship ending, moving from London to Sydney, starting a new job, gaining new friendships and losing new friendships too, I’m learning about starting over and how to navigate this next chapter of my life.
It’s been scary and many times I’ve wished I could just go back to how things were, where I felt safe, where everything was familiar. But reading these messages above helped me realise that by holding tightly to my past I was denying myself the beauty of the present moment and of course not only that but I was denying myself the opportunity of new cheese!
Change is inevitable, sometimes welcome and other times not, but now when I face these moments where things happen that I haven’t perhaps wanted I remember this story, I laugh and remind myself that someone must have moved the cheese and it’s time to let go and move in a new direction to find some more, perhaps a new variety that’s even tastier!