The Wonder of Change… Creating Space for the New



Vera Vlaovich

Financial Advisor


One of life’s most exciting and scary things is change.

With 2020 upon us, many of us are making resolutions, creating vision boards, and writing down our goals for the coming year. These all require an openness to change.

Change in any form requires us to surrender and let go –literally, metaphorically, and spiritually.

What does “surrender” mean? It is the action of contentment and gratitude. We surrender to create peace, well-being, and the space for new experiences.

After visualizing, planning, and setting aside the money for five years, in the spring of 2019, I embarked on a major home renovation. This was no small task and took 8 months to complete. 

It included rebuilding a new kitchen, upgrading and replacing two bathrooms, opening walls and a staircase, changing wall colours, rebuilding and reupholstering furniture, new fixtures, and all the usual things that are part of such a renovation. As those of you who have lived through a renovation (a.k.a. change) know, it is exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time.

In the bigger picture, this meant I was ready for change and clearing my space for new possibilities and opportunities in my life. Before construction began, I spent months sorting through everything in my home: furniture, household goods, clothing, and the like. You name it, I did it. My rule of thumb was that, even though many of these items came from my parents and my brother (who sadly passed on long ago), if they were not used and there was no strong memory attached to them, there was no good reason for them to remain in my home. More boxes and containers than I can recall counting were redirected to those who could make better use of them than I. These included the women’s shelter, the homeless, neighbours, friends who were interested, and consignment shops.

Whittling down my belongings to what I truly use was and is an extremely freeing experience. I was ready to let go.

As I surrendered and let go of my attachment to the above, I knew in my heart that the most important items to me were the photographs, letters, and cards from my parents’ lives before me, and those of my brother’s and my childhood. Sorting through these, I came across photos of my mom and dad that I had never seen. After my father passed away in 1998, I packed these away and actually never had the space of time to look at them all. I discovered photos of my father growing up in Montenegro, photos of his siblings, pictures of his best friends (who all came to Canada with him after WWII), as well as those of my mother, who was born in Russia. I even found her ticket from the ship she travelled on to Canada from Germany, plus so much more. Heartwarming were the love letters I read that my parents sent to one another. I carefully packed these away, as I knew I would need to make the time to truly honour what I  had discovered. In the end, it is these photos and related memorabilia that are truly my treasures. I am hoping that for Christmas 2020, I can have several historical albums created for my son so that he knows where he came from and the history of his grandparents and ancestors.

I chose to continue living in my home during the renovation, and experienced space opening on a daily basis. My Vancouver home was built in 1926. I was awestruck at the quality of materials, the wood, and the construction used almost a century ago as I watched my expert builder, David, undress my heritage beauty. It was important for me to retain the integrity of my home as I moved through and changed part of her to bring her into the now. My creative interior designer, Janis, came up with so many wonderful ideas on how to realize my vision. 

We did have one unexpected blip that was unrelated to the renovation. On a very early Sunday morning, my son discovered water all over the floor in the upstairs bathroom (our home has three floors and this floor was not one being renovated). This was due to the toilet seal breaking. 

I turned the water off, but the damage was done. We went down to the main floor to find water pouring through the light fixtures in both of the recently renovated bathrooms, along with parts of the family room where the men were coming the next day to begin installation of the hardwood floors.

So here came the ultimate lesson of literally “going with the flow of life.” There was no point in feeling stressed about it but rather to laugh and calmly approach what the universe had presented. The silver linings were many. It was summer and warm outside so it would all dry rapidly. It was clean toilet water, therefore there was no bacteria. With a calm that even surprised me, I set aside the timeline and let things unfold. In very short order, the floors, ceilings, and walls were dry; the hardwood floors were put in and the painting and flood repairs were completed.

The transformation and new space in my home is beyond what I could have envisioned …in a good way, of course. I saw– and see– new possibilities by inviting the new energy into my glorious home.

As I said goodbye to 2019, I eagerly and with delight welcomed 2020 and the wonder of the new and change that will continue to present itself to me. I am enjoying being present.

To quote the Beatles’ “Let It Be”: surrender isn’t giving up but rather letting go. Here’s to another year of wonderous change. ■

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