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I am devoted to helping people become more of what is possible for them. My commitment, actually my passion, is to help people become more fully alive.

Change - The Only Constant

Since change is the only thing constant in our lives, why is it so frightening to choose to change. Often it is thrust upon us and we didn’t see it coming. It may come in a way that cuts us off at the knees, such as having life as we know it obliterated, a tornado or hurricane. Somehow when such happens, time and time again we observe people having the courage and determination to reach down into their reservoir of resilience to deal with catastrophe. Where did all of this courage, fearlessness, faith, determination come from we on the sidelines ask? How were they able to do it? For most of us it takes a crisis, a howling hurt, to send us into that deep well of greater capacity.
 
“This is the charged, the dangerous moment, when everything must be re-examined, must be made new, when nothing at all can be taken for granted” - James Baldwin.

What is certain is that we all have reservoirs of courage and sometimes in the big crisis we can activate that side of our selves more readily. In such times we don’t have time to weigh the consequence of change. Right along side of the source of our courage is our island of fear our cowardice. On a day to day basis when we take time to examine the changes we need to make, fear tends to jump in and become “top dog”. I do not encourage impulsivity, but I encourage becoming more aware of our inner landscape. We need to make friends with that inner, fearful part of us, that is running the show.

The changes mentioned above occur swiftly, sometimes violently without a choice or plan. Often it’s the small, necessary accumulative changes that cause us the most discomfort leading to avoidance, procrastination and stuckness. Our anxiety mounts because we can’t get a guarantee that if we do this thing differently, we will get a certain result, by a certain time and in a certain manner. In essence we have fear of change and a desire to change. The desire motivates and trusts us forward while the fear causes the resistance, stopping the steps necessary for follow through. Change by its very nature creates within us, ambivalence. The desire to change and the desire to maintain the status quo coexist for a reason. We actually have to know “when to hold them and when to fold them”.(Kenny Rogers) The changes we make won’t be meaningful if they are directed by somebody else’s idea of how and when we should change. So self trust is an important prerequisite to change.

Every human has within the impulse for growth, and the impulse to stay safe and stable. When we face change, should we change quickly or is it better to approach it slowly. What if you cannot do what you want to do. Each of us makes our choices with our own personal signature or pattern, some slow, some fast.

Our culture is obsessed with speed. The belief that is fostered is the faster we can do something the better. We tend to forget change is a process and takes time. Some changes need to be investigated in light of your needs and after some pursuit of self discovery. There is no value in doing the “shoulds” all over yourself. Just because our culture values doing things speedily does not mean its right for you.

Often I’ll have a client come in and say he/she is ready for change. The life she is leading is severely limited by fear or a set of core beliefs that sabotage efforts to live more meaningful. Just as often after I assess what is being presented, and offer a course of treatment there is no follow through. She is sincere in the wanting, but not in the commitment and the follow through necessary for the changes she needs to make. Often clients want change to be swift and painless emotionally, this is in opposition to beliefs surrounding physical changes at the gym, where even today there is an undercurrent of “ no pain no gain”: I do not believe that any time invested in change and getting to know yourself is wasted. Usually we build on what we learn and it may take several tries to find the courage to address core issues. The next time she tackles changing, she may take a bigger leap.

With our society geared up to do everything swiftly is no wonder that the process of change is devalued. Of course superficial change may occur swiftly, but is just that, superficial. A spouse who comes in, in crisis about to lose a marriage stops treatment after a couple sessions because things are “better now” Well its superficial change that may last about 6 weeks at most. It’s kind of like putting a bandaid on a gaping wound, the under belly of the discord has not been healed or worked through and so it will reappear. Some old, same old!!

Notice the degree of resistance you experience when you are up against serious change. If resistance is high, and you feel stuck, helpless, negative or incapable of movement, you can rest assured that it’s old negative core beliefs that have you by the scruff of the neck.

Core beliefs can enhance the quality of our life or severely limit it. The most problematic core beliefs are ingrained early in life when we are indeed helpless, powerless, and unable to make conscious or intelligent choices. It is the limiting beliefs that have wide ranging consequences that determine our level of self esteem, self worth, and influence our success and enjoyment in all areas of our life. So change is dependent on our changing our beliefs. Can old beliefs be unlearned? Can new beliefs replace them? Yes Yes Yes!!

T. S. Eliot said that “human kind cannot bear very much reality."  Change is an unchanging fact of life and can be troubling or painful. What if you put a bigger more expansive frame around change. A trapeze artist has to “let go” in order to move through the air and “get hold” of the bar coming towards him. Although change is sometimes scary and sometimes a risk it is also an essential part of life. What if you welcomed changes? How would that impact your life?  More next time.

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