Blog entry by Alan Chapman

by Alan Chapman - Saturday, 28 August 2021, 5:05 PM
Anyone in the world

change life skill

Change affects each of us constantly and differently.

Change happens unpredictably for us: 

  • internally (mind, body, soul) 
  • and externally (everything else).

Imagine infinite spinning mirrors, or infinite floating raindrops, each one reflecting and altering the energies of everything we believe exists, and everything else we are yet to discover, or might never know.

Depending on personality, some people seek and thrive on change; others prefer to avoid it.

There are countless other reactions to change. Imagine the infinite floating raindrops :)

traumatic change

When change is traumatic, for anyone (which depends on our own resilience at the time), it causes stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety seem to increase inflammation in our brains and bodies.

Inflammation of our brain or body weakens our immune systems.

This anxious 'inflamed' response to traumatic change, and consequential impact on our immune systems, all tends to prompt a cycle of lifestyle responses that can spiral into worsening stress, anxieties, inflammation, ill-health, and increasingly unhelpful lifestyle choices, notably addictive behaviours and treatments, many of which can be counter-productive towards recovery and health.

Diet, exercise, sleep and connecting positively socially and with nature, all seem important for health and recovery, and yet all these tend to be undermined by a worsening spiral of response to traumatic change.   


Grief is another way to imagine traumatic change.

Grief is the loss of something that we considered vital for who and what we imagine ourselves to be.

Grief is a normal part of life; it's not a 'mental illness'. 

Grief is part of our growth as human beings, as it has been since humans first evolved to experience it.

Grief might be the loss of a loved one or pet; a job or a relationship; a limb or eye or bodily function; or the loss of 'self', as happens sometimes when we grow from one major life-stage to the next, for example from child to adult; from adult to parent, from parent to grandparent, and from grandparent towards end of life and the acceptance (or denial) of our mortality.

Within grief is the opportunity to 'let go' of what we held dear or vital within our own self-identity - our sense of self.

Where we have a big sense of self and our own importance in and for the world - which some call 'ego' - this seems to create a bigger vulnerability to traumatic change, logically because we have more to lose.

The converse is that people who have a very small sense of self, i.e., people who have a very modest or tiny sense of their own self-importance, seem less vulnerable; logically they have less to lose.

So in many aspects of grief, loss and traumatic response, homeless people are more resilient, less vulnerable, and more experienced, in the managing of traumatic change.

Exponential change

It seems that change in human evolution is exponential, and that we are living in particularly fast-changing times.

Empires used to last for many centuries. Now they do not. 

Technological change used to be slow. Now it is very fast.

Our early 'homo erectus' ancestors are believed to have first 'climbed down from the trees' and started walking upright, about six million years ago. 

The agricultural revolution and the beginnings of cities was about ten thousand years ago.

The industrial revolution began less than five hundred years ago.

The internet now connecting nearly all humanity, data, communications, robotics, economics, etc - and enables unimaginable artificial intelligence and machine learning, plus more advanced technologies than these, have all happened in the last two generations.

We simply cannot imagine what the human planet will be like in a year's time, and probably we will be surprised by what emerges in the next few months or even weeks.

It's exciting, and yet the increasing sense and reality of uncertainty (whatever is actually real :) can be daunting for anyone who engages with it. 

Meditation done gently is gentle. Meditation done very deeply can be very traumatic.  

Meditation, like grief, is something that we can 'dose' - we can decide how much to process and how fast and deep. It's a skill that can be learned.

Whatever, these days to simply 'be' is understandably quite a popular aim that goes deeper than simply trying to be 'happy'. 

It seems to be about letting go the past; not fearing the future; and living in the 'now', with:

  • mindfulness
  • acceptance
  • gratitude
  • forgiveness (of self and others)
  • compassion and love (for self and others)
  • abundance
  • peace and contentment


The less we have, the more we appreciate everything.

Abundance comes far more easily to those who have nothing than to those who have all they want.

While 'mindfulness' and 'gratitude' seem a natural starting point for many people seeking more personal peace, 'abundance' is a particularly interesting outcome as an aspect of being grateful for what we have, and especially for having less, whether we lose someone or something or leave or give away something or someone.

The grief and 'letting go' can open the doors to gratitude and abundance. 

And so rather than loss and grief remaining 'stuck' in regret and sadness, loss and grief can be part of our growth to peace, if we believe this to be.

And then we can show this to others.

traumatic growth life skill

I wonder if the most valuable human commodity - or life skill - will increasingly become the capability to understand and process traumatic change, and the successful navigation of grief and the 'letting go' of what we hold dear, or imagine vital in our own sense of self-identity.

As ever, for any life skill, this capability is for our own individual self-awareness and personal growth, and for the teaching and showing of all this to others, potentially extending to the emergent design of these capabilities for people more widely.

To know anything properly about our own human growth we must live it, and some things we can never know, aside from the obvious (e.g., a man can never know motherhood; just as a woman can never know manhood).

A theoretical appreciation of any human growth can be helpful, but theory is no substitute for the actual experience and successfully processing the grief and other emotions entailed in the growth of traumatic change.

Other paths to peace are available. 

It's different for each of us.

[ Modified: Sunday, 29 August 2021, 12:57 PM ]