8 Teachers for Navigating Change

navigating change

As a recovering type A personality, I wish control worked. And it does, sometimes. But there’s always at least one area of life that cannot be tamed. You’re happily married but have health issues. Or you’re financially stable but struggling with fertility. You have fulfilling work but no life partner. Nothing ever goes our way entirely, and that can become a great doorway for personal transformation.

The heart of transformation involves facing change. Here, change makes us feel vulnerable because it means engaging new unknowns. We’ve been taught to rely on control to deal with uncertainty. The challenge is that control boxes us into viewing reality as good versus bad. So if a change arrives that fits into our perception about what life should look like, we’re happy. But what happens if a change arrives that doesn’t fit into our box? Either we can’t recognize it or we push it away (hello, denial). And what if life throws us a curveball? Then the box crumbles and we’re left feeling overwhelmed.

For me, there’s a place between maintaining control and feeling like a victim. A place that includes being open to what life brings and adjusting to it while remembering my inner authority. By releasing an either/or perception of reality, it’s possible to create an AND way of life. Here, I can learn how to be with something, even if it’s uncomfortable, and get to know it. I may not be able to control everything, but through growing conscious relationships with feelings, people, and circumstances–including the unknown itself–I can learn to navigate life.

Moving beyond control to cultivate an AND relationship with life takes practice. While every relationship is unique, during 15 years as a healing practitioner I began to notice people gravitating towards eight core teachers: fear, awareness, choice, body, intuition, energy, intention and surrender. By growing a relationship with these teachers, we can learn to navigate the unknown within ourselves and throughout daily life.

Meet the 8 teachers

1. Fear

Instead of pushing fear away, explore fear as a cast of characters (comical, grumpy, mean, ornery) so you can stop reacting and start responding. Which fears regularly appear in your life?

2. Awareness

The art of noticing awareness can change everything yet it takes time to grow. What colors, sounds or interactions tend to draw your attention?

3. Choice

A conscious choice is a leap of faith, a direct experience and a practice all in one. What choices have you made today?

4. Body

Begin a conversation with your body that relies on listening instead of lecturing. What is your body trying to tell you?

5. Intuition

Intuition is an internal compass that helps you sort through static to make better decisions amidst daily unknowns. How do you connect with your intuition?

6. Energy

By definition, following energy means staying behind something. What beliefs, fears and experiences taunt you to jump ahead?

7. Intention

An intention is an opportunity to learn how to love yourself fiercely as you grow self-worth. What aspect of yourself needs some fierce love?

8. Surrender

Practicing surrender means accepting change so you can cultivate life in a different way. How can you begin to let go?

As we loosen our grip of control, we can make friends with the unknown as a path of change and transformation. What we release and develop inside and out as we transform becomes the foundation for our next new beginning. Along the way, we cultivate wholeness so we can sustain ourselves through whatever life throws our way.

Photo by Jane Rahman

6 thoughts on “8 Teachers for Navigating Change”

  1. I really have trouble with delving into and facing fear. I tend to shove it aside, ignore it. I like the idea of facing it head on and delving into it – look around and see what’s in there.

    1. Thanks for your comment. If fear has been difficult to face, you can start slow. You can write a letter to a fear, or just imagine what fear might want to say to you. Here’s a video about how working with fear differently has impacted some people in my life: http://youtu.be/vJeOrFCB9Qc
      Take care,
      Staci Boden

  2. The most difficult part for me is allowing myself to let go of my rational controlling logical mode of thinking, and develop and rely on my intuition, body, and energy to take me where I need to go. Otherwise, it’s a futile battle. I sometimes think myself into the ground, and end up lost, confused, and fatigued.

    I think your 8 teachers speak well to this other mode of action – one that works with the ebb and flow of daily life, rather than trying to “outsmart” nature.

    However, the really cool thing (and this is something I’m working on at the moment) is I think our rational controlling mind and our intuitive emotional mind can be tuned to work synergistically. And when that happens, you can move mountains.

    Thoughtful post, thanks!

  3. Hi Tom,
    Thanks for your response. Yes, working with the 8 teachers is about growing relationship with all parts of life. And my intention isn’t to get rid of the mind which is a very useful tool but help bring it into more balance. My experience is that we overdevelop our minds. I’m interested in turning our mind into more of a team player, yes? Retraining the mind to help notice your body, intuition and energy synergizes a powerful force indeed.

    As for letting go of the rational mind. It sounds like some resistance arrives in your life to distract and drain you. You may ask yourself what your mind is afraid of, why it won’t let go. And again, it isn’t about shutting off the mind, but helping it to focus in a positive direction.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  4. Hi Staci,

    As I went through your 8 teachers it reminded me of some work I learned about (and have applied) in my past. I think there is immense power in personifying each of these teachers. You imply that when you spoke about the body.

    What I have done is identified emotions that I have than I give it a face, a name, and write about it as if it is another person in my life. I write a script, have a dialogue with it and see where it goes. As I write this it sounds kind of funny and strange but it does work.

    In my pat when I struggled with anxiety I did this and as I wrote out the script one of my big questions was: “What do you want from me?” The answer caught me off gaurd “I want you to be perfect.” It kind of scared the cr– out of me. It was then that I realized I needed to loosen the grip I had on myself.

    Good post :)

    1. Thanks, Izzy, for responding.

      I don’t think it sounds strange at all. Writing is a great medium for not only connecting with yourself, but also with something beyond yourself as well. I write to learn and learn to write all the time!

      You can also play with imagery too where you imagine having a conversation with something, like a fear, and ask it what it needs. My experience is when we stop trying to clamp down on these parts of ourselves and instead invite relationship, especially with fears, then they don’t immobilize us so much.

      Good luck,


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