Ann Vanino
4 min readJul 14, 2021

Oh my goodness, the changes I have been through. They seem so radical and surely were not voluntary. The life I once knew is altered profoundly. How do I acclimate to what my life is now?


Sometimes change comes anything but gradually. There is no time to integrate and we are affected by its force. We dust ourselves off, pick ourselves up and start to look around at the new landscape of our life. Some prefer it this way so they see the landscape all at once. Others would wish for a slower pace of change.

Change is like the wind. It can be a gentle breeze that we let carry us or a full-force hurricane. Here, we are looking at change that arrives with great force. Sometimes, it is a blessing (get it over with) and sometimes it is trouble (so much to handle). In a strong wind of change there are things you can do — use a sail in the wind or ride the wind as a plane or glider does.

When change comes with great force, we are not in control. We can try to stay as steady as possible, maintaining what balance we have or finding something to hang on to. We can employ our powers of observation and be present to what is happening around us. We can reach within, to our wisdom and insight and use them to thrive.


When change knocks us down or startles us, we have to rise. What existed before is gone and something new is already here or coming soon. Our senses may be rattled — we can center them. Our mind may be shocked — we can center it. Our physical body can be hurting– we can heal it. Our spiritual foundation may need some rebuilding. This is all part of change.

It is important that we respond, not react to change. Reaction is not a considered response; it is rooted in unstable emotions. Response, however, is an answer, a return to whatever has occurred. Reaction leaves us weakened. Response leaves us steady, as we have chosen what to do. Response keeps us in our power.

Some say that the only thing we can rely on in life is that things will change. We are currently living in a time of change and chaos that also promises transformation. There is a good chance that the “normal” we once knew is not coming back. There is grief in accepting this, but also positive opportunities for reimagining our lives — igniting our creativity and all kinds of possibilities.


Discernment is the trait of judging and deciding wisely. We need discernment as we deal with change. Our discernment comes from what we have learned from similar situations in the past, our awareness of the world around us, our self-knowledge and our ability to look ahead. A lack of discernment leaves us muddled in the face of change.

Discernment is part of our internal guidance system. It has a lot to do with decision-making in the face of change. Strong discernment relies on our learning from experiences, taking risks and thinking about the outcomes we experience. Practicing discernment develops our wisdom, self-knowledge and ability to live according to our values and conscience.

Some say that discernment involves due diligence — taking time and employing our minds to knowing ourselves and the world around us. It also is evidence that we are living life on purpose — knowing what we are living for. Discernment involves going beyond the surface of things into their meaning and significance in our lives.


As we respond to the force of change, we begin to sense what it will bring. We see an altered landscape and recognize what has left our lives. We know now where we are standing and can make decisions on how we want to move ahead. We begin to acclimate to life as it is now.

We may even begin to see the advantages in the change we have experienced. There are possibilities and opportunities within any kind of change. There are new things that have entered our lives that were not there before. Perhaps, some unwanted things have left our lives. We are still whole, but are reconfigured.

As we begin to embrace our new life, our courage, discernment and strength in the face of adversity have seen us through. We may grieve for our old life, but we know it is gone. The force of change has brought us to a new place that we will make the most of.

I could say that I sailed through this change and, all in all, it was a breeze. However, it was challenging and I have been shaken. The good news is I am now embracing what occurred and life ahead looks pretty good.

photo: Jacky Barrit,



Ann Vanino

Writer and career/new directions coach living in the High Mojave Desert of southern California. Author of Chrysalis: Personal Transformation From The Inside Out