Change is inevitable. Sometimes we long for it and can’t stop talking about it. Reality seems tinged with new sparkles and there’s a jaunty bounce in our step. Other times we aren’t so sure: is it really better or just another round of more of the same? Maybe it is better but we’re not used to it yet; or, maybe we have some resistance to the new. And still other times change is not welcome one little bit. It is all we can do from jumping up and down, having a good, loud crying fit, like we did when we were two years old.

Some people say the point isn’t so much what changes, but how we handle the change. Because if you really think about it, change is just… change. It’s neither good nor bad. Rather, it’s our particular preference that determines if something is “good” or “bad.”

Perhaps you’ve noticed an inordinate amount of change lately. I know I have. Moreover, I’ve found myself not only as a participant to change but also as a frequent observer. What I’ve discovered is that one is often just as involved in witnessing change as being an active player. Why? Because if we’re truly keenly observing, we can’t help but see and feel what issues are also speaking to us, and what is still in need of healing.

A friend of mine was recently going through some turbulent changes with her friend. Money was involved, along with accusations of deception, unethical conduct, betrayal and more. It got complicated and each side threatened to involve lawyers (and we all know it’s bad when lawyers get involved). Tempers ran high and I found myself the reluctant observer to a barrage of emails that jolted back and forth between them. It made me wonder: what am I supposed to see here?

Then one day, I called my friend, asking her what was going on and if anything had been resolved. She said she was sure everything was going to be OK; the situation would resolve itself. I was perplexed. For weeks I had witnessed nothing but the ups and downs of emotional confusion, anger, blame and sadness. What had changed?

“What about your friend?” I asked, with more than just an observer’s degree of curiosity.

“I am blessing her for all the lessons, for everything she taught me. And it was a lot; she taught me so very much.”

Normally I am a bit suspect when people say things like this. Maybe we want to mean it—because it does seem like a good thing to bless rather than curse—but sometimes the words seem more like convincing covers, as if we’re trying to persuade ourselves of what we think we ought to be thinking or doing.

“Really?” I asked, perhaps sounding a bit confused myself. “What about all the changes—everything that has happened?”

“Really,” she answered with a loud, clear laugh. “It’s OK—it’s just transformation.”

After we hung up, I went outside to stand in the sunshine. Thinking of my friend’s words, I gazed at the mountains and felt a smile sneaking over my face. A pressing weight I didn’t know I was carrying—uninvolved observer I pretended to be—suddenly slid from my back and shoulders as a noisy laugh burbled up and out of my body.

The shadow of a low-flying raven passed overhead. As I watched, he dipped and turned, curving around in a graceful arc, as if to look at me again.

“It’s OK,” I called skyward. “It’s just transformation.”

Dawn Baumann Brunke is the author of Animal Voices; Animal Voices, Animal Guides; Shapeshifting with our Animal Companions; and Animal Teachings. All four books explore the deeper nature of our relationship with animals, nature, each other and ourselves. For more, see Dawn’s website. Previously published in Alaska Wellness Magazine.