How to Sail the Winds of Change

The wind was blowing strong and fierce the other day — a warm, dry Santa Ana wind that rustled through the plastic tarps in the backyard, knocking off garbage lids and whipping the trees. Unusual for this time of year even for the Bay Area. It is the kind of wind that signals to my bones that change is coming. Maybe it’s just the weather. Maybe it’s more.

Frightful self sm - Winds of ChangeI don’t much like change. It disrupts my routine and makes me more prone to mistakes. Mistakes are an anathema to the perfectionist in me and a challenge to my lizard brain — the medulla oblongata, that throwback to primitive times when a mistake could mean demise.

From experience, I know that change is good for me. It sharpens my wits, strengthen my flexibility, heightens my awareness and draws me back into the moment. Yet I often resist it with all my might, choosing to stick to what is familiar even when it is no longer working because the alternative, something new, is just too scary, too uncertain, too mistake prone.

External change takes the decision out of my hands. I get laid off, my partner leaves, I lose my apartment, illness descends — sometimes all at once. I have to adapt; I have to change inside. Although at the time, it seems a disaster, after a while, as I adjust, I begin to see that it was exactly what I needed. I can even see, in some cases, how I unconsciously precipitated the change through my actions or inaction.

All the big crises in my life — losing my first teaching job, my divorce, and the loss of my parents — have been powerful transforming events. I not only survived them; my life changed for the better. It is clear to me, in retrospect, that I have been on a path, a soul’s journey, and that sometimes the universe must intervene to move me forward when I’m stuck. I try to remember that when a big change comes knocking on my door.

Will that always be true? Can illness and even death be seen in this same spirit of positive transformation? I believe it can, and that is the subject of my next interview, which will be on the new internet radio show Good Grief with host Cheryl Jones on January 15 at 2 pm (PST) 5 pm (EST).

I will be talking about the loss of my parents and how it inspired me to created my film series, Secrets of Life and Death and lead me to discover my passion. I will also share some of the ways we can make the big changes in our lives a little easier on our bodies and minds.

The show is on January 15 at 2 pm (PST) 5 pm (EST). I hope you can join us. To listen to the show at the above time or later go: HERE.

A word about Cheryl Jones — Cheryl was the very first person I interviewed for my film series on death. Of course I had no idea what I was doing at that time and because of that her segment did not make it into any of my films. Cheryl was out of frame much of the interview because, as I discovered, I can’t interview and film at the same time. Although the film segment was a loss, what Cheryl said during the interview had a powerful effect on me.

Cheryl said that as a result of the loss of her partner, nothing frightened her any more. The worst had already happened. Her words often came back to me when I felt discouraged and wondering if I would ever finish my films. They gave me courage.

Death changes the playing field. It makes us look at our short and wondrous lives with new and more reverent eyes.

I hope you can join us on January 15 at 2 pm (PST) 5 pm (EST). HERE!


Michelle Peticolas, Ph.D.

Grief Transformation Specialist and Death Educator

Secrets of Life and Death


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Grief Transformation Coach Michelle Peticolas, Ph.D. helps people transform their grief with a holistic approach to mind, body and spirit that heals trauma, reframes past attachments and releases limiting beliefs while uncovering a true life purpose and direction. If you’re ready to shift into a whole new way of being with death and loss, a new way of living your life, get Michelle’s complimentary guide, Essentials for Grieving Well at


  1. A couple of years ago my very dear and special friend, Freda, was told she had a brain tumor and would die within 6 months. Freda Morris was a well known psychologist and hypnotherapist. She was a psychology professor and taught hypnosis at UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute to psychologists and med students. We had a trade going. I would edit and proof read all her writing and she would admit me to her class. We were friends for over 40 years. I spent time with her when she became ill. While we were discussing her death I had a sad look on my face. She said, “Don’t go there. It’s my destiny. It’s an adventure and I’m looking forward to it. I’m curious who I will be in my next life.” I was awed and knew this is the way I want to die. She was my mentor in life and death.

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