Who moved the cheese? September reflections...

Who moved the cheese? September reflections...

Who moved the cheese?

With the start of September, I find myself reflecting upon the fact that we are always facing changes.
Some changes we embrace and plan for. Others we look forward to, many are thrust upon us and we are left reeling from the shock.

The happy changes of starting preschool, school, college and University are expected and we deal with them generally positively. Getting married, moving to a new house and having a baby are also expected changes and are treated with enthusiasm. However, how we actually cope with these changes varies. A business woman dealing with adults and difficult stressful situations, who is suddenly thrust into Motherhood can feel isolated and extremely lonely.

Other changes that aren’t planned can throw a curve ball at us. A change of employment, divorce, death and a health diagnosis for example can be earth shattering. The process of change can affect us all in different ways. How we feel, eat, sleep and interact with those around us can all be effected. It can almost feel like a grieving process. From disbelief to anger to numbness.

I read a book many years ago that really helped me when tragedy struck our family. During a bit of September self-reflection, I found myself thinking about this book which is aptly named ‘Who moved the cheese?’ The book, written by Spencer Johnson, is a lovely story involving mice and the difference between them when their cheese is gone.

The story involves four characters who live in a maze: the mice Scurry and Sniff and two ‘little people’ Hem and Haw. All is going well because they have found a huge source of their favourite food, cheese. Hem and Haw have even moved their houses to be near it and it becomes the centre of their universe. One day they realise that the cheese has gone and this is where the story splits in two. Scurry and Sniff quickly accept the loss of the cheese and go off into the maze in search of other sources. The other two, because they have built their lives around the cheese, feel they are the victims of some kind of fraud or theft. Yet this only makes matters worse because instead of going off in search of a new food source, they go hungry. The fable captures beautifully the important message that change isn’t the end of something but rather the beginning. In order to not waste our life, we must accept a level of risk and adventure. What the characters in the book discover is that breaking through your fears makes you free. Those who continually seek security ironically are wracked by the possibility of losing it.

When a change occurs, there is a time of initial disbelief which must be acknowledged especially if it’s a change that wasn’t prepared for. A phone call late one night changed the lives of my family. The change was forced upon us and we had no choice but to act. Then the reality set in, the grieving process began and we found ourselves grieving for what was. To find the positive in a new situation isn’t always easy. Life is all about change and learning. Facing each new chapter with enthusiasm can be very challenging. Allowing the emotion, giving yourself time to adjust is necessary. Then the art of finding the positives begins. This can be difficult for us all. I often think women are better at adapting to change than men. From the moment that we discover a new life is growing within us our whole world changes. Home life and friends change, even where you go on holiday can change once you have a baby. It takes time but then gradually the new routine becomes the norm and the old life is a distant memory.

I think the messages in the book ‘Who moved the cheese?’ are suitable for people of all ages at whatever crossroads they find themselves. It is futile to spend too long contemplating a previous existence and wondering what might have been. Anger and resentment are toxic emotions that fundamentally only damage the person feeling them. Those emotions don’t help a situation whatsoever. Instead it is important to embrace and nurture the wonder of the change.
New mothers that are experiencing huge changes within their lives may find themselves uncertain or anxious about their present situation. Experience the array of emotions, speak to friends and loved ones. Nothing stays the same forever and soon another change will be winging its way into your life. Enjoy it xx