Whether it's rearranging furniture or dreaming of a move to South Africa, my energy pumps when I think about change. Some people I know (even live with) are wired precisely the opposite: They avoid change. An affinity toward change is neither right nor wrong; it just is.
But like it or not, we all go through changes -- mammoth and mini -- throughout life. I learned about a helpful framework for understanding the change process in life coach training. Martha Beck's change cycle model uses four quadrants and a butterfly metaphor.
Square One is the chrysalis, a time of melting down. In fact, rip open a chrysalis and you will find goo. Sometimes we feel like goo on the inside during a change, even if it's a healthy, longed-for, anticipated change. A mantra for Square One: I don't know what is going on... and that's okay.
In Square Two, we begin to dream and scheme without the limitations of practical boundaries. What is my ideal day? What would I do if money weren't an issue? What do I do that I completely lose track of time? Could I do that instead of my day job? As people move deeper into Square Two and ideas begin to take shape, they often change their hairstyle, redecorate or find a new clothing style. It's a healthy exciting time. Beck's Square Two mantra is: There are no rules, and that's okay.
Square Three is implementation time. It's the real world and both exciting and terrifying. In fact, it can throw us easily back into square one. The butterfly is emerging; if you've ever witnessed a butterfly emerge from its cocoon, you'll see the process; if a human interferes and tries to help, it will kill the butterfly. It's a process that has to happen at its own pace. Similarly, chicks hatching from eggs have the same work to wrestle out of their cozy cocoon . Square Three's mantra? This is harder than I thought it would be, and that's okay.
In Square Four we are in full flight as a glorious butterfly. We soar. We inevitably encounter challenges and roadblocks. The square's mantra? We recognize that we are in constant change, and that's okay.
My personal square
Right now -- post job of 12 years with a clear identity and focus, and learning about being a "solopreneur," gaining confidence as a coach, doing my own work daily -- I am firmly in Square Three... and Square One. It's a bit of a whiplash experience. And that's okay.
Part of doing my own work or "living it to give it" as we learned in coach training, is daily reflection and meditation, figuring out "turtle steps" to take each day toward my goals, paying attention to my inner racing thoughts and being aware of how those thoughts -- and my lizard Rico -- can cause unnecessary suffering.
Jan L. Richardson, artist, writer and ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, wrote about change in her book, In the Sanctuary of Women, which I have found particularly helpful as I flop between squares one and three in my change process. Quoting Kim Chernin in her book Reinventing Eve, she says change is like this:
"It circles around, snakes back on itself, finds detours, leads us a merry chase, starts us out it seems all over again from where we were in the first place. And then suddenly, when we least expect it, something opens a door, discovers a threshold, shoves us across."
Richardson closes her chapter with this blessing which I embrace for today and offer you...
A 50-something life coach living in the Shenandoah Valley. Grateful. Growing. Giving... and receiving.