Thursday, April 14, 2016

Feel the discomfort of change

As the late author and public speaker Marilyn Ferguson once said, "It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between that we fear.... It's like being between trapezes. It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to."

Does that describe your feelings about change? I can relate.

Often, I can embrace change because I like to see things made better so they work for everyone. If I see that the change I face will do that, I can get through it. That said, there are some changes in my life that I haven't welcomed. So I know it can depend on the nature of the change.

But Ferguson is right, I think: It's that in between place we fear. The old is gone. We can't go there anymore. But our feet haven't yet landed on the new normal. There's nothing solid yet. The ground is still shifting under our feet. Our blankie is in the dryer, and there's nothing to hold on to.

When that happens, here's something you can do: Try to just be where you are. Try to be OK with the discomfort, with the dis-ease you feel in that in-between place. Try to remember that it's temporary. Soon whatever change was once coming will have arrived, and you'll settle into the new place. You can do it. You really can. Change can be like childbirth—if you fight it, the pain will be greater. But if you roll with the waves (the contractions), you'll feel less discomfort. Be with all your feelings around the change. Accept all of them. Move through them. Soon you'll be on solid ground again.

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