Transformation as Change

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

-C.S. Lewis

Lately, I have been thinking a great deal about change. One thing about fall, if you don’t believe in change, the trees will show you what it means to leave behind what you love, to transition, to gain or lose, to emerge stronger, and to accept that more change awaits. As a Board Certified Diplomate and 13-year clinician, I can also recognize in myself the change that happens each fall. I don’t feel as happy and bright, and I retreat to my naturally introverted self which the cold and early darkness enables. Many of the activities I enjoyed are limited by the cold weather and the fruit that I love to snack on aren’t as ripe, as the plants too must experience change to prepare for the next harvest. While all this change sounds overwhelming, there are some positives. I focus on my indoor strength training, I journal and meditate, and I like to spend hours sitting with my family watching shows, playing games, and just enjoying those special moments I have with them.

Many people spend a lifetime trying to avoid change, me included. While, in theory, I believe and truly stand behind the notion that “a life worth living is a life full of change,” I spend a great deal of time trying to avoid change. This year I had three major changes that I am still processing, celebrating, grieving, and, maybe, even resisting:

Changed from Chief of Behavioral Health to Region 3 Officer in Charge – This was a change filled with resistance. Although, my leadership asked me to take this position, I resisted it with every fiber in my being. Looking back, it was probably one of the best changes that ever happened to me. I found out what it means to lead during a time of uncertainty and support my leadership and colleagues—we harnessed our greatest power…our team.

Changed from Commander (O5) to Captain (O6) – You may have seen my joyous post in the ABCSW July newsletter celebrating my recent change from Commander to Captain in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corp. I am still celebrating this amazing endeavor and realizing what Winston Churchill stated, “where there is great power there is great responsibility”

Changed from working with the Public Health Emergency Response Strike Team – Due to a change in our program, I returned to a previous duty station. Partially because it was familiar to me, since being back, I realized that this too has changed.

Change comes in so many different forms—physical health, mental health, relationships, work, age, and even the seasons. Nature can teach us so much about change by accepting it and preparing for the transformation. As I reflect on 2023 and all the change I’ve experienced, I am accepting the grief and loss that comes with change but also wholeheartedly embracing the opportunities for hope and renewal. As we embark into 2024, let’s welcome the change, shed our old leaves, embrace the loss, and await the restoration. 

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