There is a little tray in my shower, which is actually way too small for all the things I keep on it. Since we moved into this appartment I’ve been developing a “stacking method”, which allows me to make all my showering utensils fit anyway: shower gel, shampoo, face wash, conditioner and a razor…Of course I also came up with a special order according to bottle sizes and shapes to come to the perfect arrangement. It worked for a long time and I was quite happy with my little set up. About a month ago I switched shampoos. Not a big deal as one might think but it shook my little tray arrangement to the core. Of course the new shampoo differed from the old one in shape and size…but I didn’t care and kept the order that I had been working on for so long to finally make it fit – more or less. I managed to put everything on there but I just couldn’t get it to stay! So every time I took a shower in the last couple of weeks at least one of the bottles (mostly the new shampoo) fell down but usually at least the face wash – sometimes everything else – dropped as well. As a result I found myself picking up all my shower utensils anywhere from one to five times while showering. The shampoo (and face wash and shower gel and razor) kept falling and I kept picking it up…over and over again. Of course with every time I reached for the things on the ground I got a little more furious, impatient and annoyed.
While taking a shower today the falling down routine started again and when I was just about to get down to pick up my shampoo it hit me: The new shampoo just doesn’t fit with the old order! Why had this taken me over a month to realize? So I took “action” and changed the ‘face wash behind shampoo order’ to ‘shampoo behind face wash’ and with a little change like that I had not only restored but even improved stability on the tray!
My little shower story got me thinking. The more I thought about it the more it resembled common life issues for me. We grow up in set structures with predefined values / aims and we start to arrange our lives accordingly. At some point these structures or values might start to shift due to external circumstances or maybe because we start questioning our old beliefs and start developing new ones. Either way one or several parts of this little ‘puzzle’ go missing, change shapes or new parts come into the picture. So what happens? The entire ‘puzzle’ arrangement changes and some parts just don’t fit anymore but we try EVERYTHING to make them fit anyway. We try so hard that we start bending pieces or leave them out because we want to keep the old arrangement. We liked the old ‘puzzle’, we had known it for a long time, it was pretty to look at and most importantly we knew every little detail by heart – no (unpleasant) surprises. The more we try to use the new parts for the old puzzle the more we break it; the pieces we have at hand are just not made for the previous order.
Unless we switch perspectives and accept change as a good and necessary thing that keeps life flowing we are stuck with a stubborn attempt to keep the status quo. Once acceptance takes place and we look at the new situation from a different angle we realize that the new ‘puzzle’ is just as pretty as the old one – maybe even prettier. It didn’t take any effort to put together because for the new ‘puzzle’ we had everything we needed: perfectly fitting pieces. But as long as we desperately fight change and try to keep things as they are we will find ourselves in an endless struggle.
Change is a scary thing for a lot of people. I never thought I was one of them because I usually crave new experiences and unknown situations. However, my little shower incident today made me realize that there is (at least a little) fear of change in everybody, even when it is just about keeping the order on your shower tray!
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin