It’s January. We have been thinking about how things might be different this year–maybe you have too.
There are so many changes already taking place in our outer world: a new president, a vaccine starting to roll out, the realities of Brexit are now something people have to live with. Many of these things will have impacts on each of us in different ways.
In our personal lives, as we begin this year, each of us have hopes for how we might live more authentically, more deeply, and more collaboratively.
This is when people often take a fresh look at what they’d like to change in their lives. Fresh pathways, more supportive habits, new projects…
What about you? Maybe you hope you can write a new story in this next chapter of your life.
This has got us thinking about the important difference between change and transformation.
Or another way to say it: the difference between doing something different that doesn’t really change anything and creating an environment where something really new happens.
We’re sure you know about making changes in your life that don’t fundamentally change anything. Somehow that new boyfriend winds up treating you just like the last one. Or the new job leaves you feeling frustrated and unfulfilled again.
Have you heard the expression, “Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”? The point is that changing something like where you are or what you do or who you are with, will fail to lead to real change when you are caught in a Tangle.
Real change (which we call transformational change) requires something more than superficially rearranging the bits of your life.
Transformational change changes everything. It changes what is possible.
So what does that mean in your life?
Something that was blocked–impossible–now just happens. This changes ripples out throughout your life, not just in the one situation that was blocked. Somehow all sorts of things that were hard get easier.What does transformation need for it to happen? It needs you to become a special kind of environment.
So how can you create an environment where transformation happens? We have found the most important action we can take is Cultivating Self-in-Presence. (That’s probably no surprise to anyone who has worked with us for a while.) When you pause and cultivate Self-in-Presence, you become able to connect with the deep living-forward energy locked up in your Tangle.
I (Ann) remember one year when my New Year’s resolution was to get up earlier every morning to write.
For a few weeks I followed through… but then I missed a day, and then two more… and then my shiny new habit was in the trash heap.
Later I realized that getting up earlier every morning to write was a strategy from a Part of me that was determined to push me into writing.But Partial strategies don’t work.
We are not saying that developing habits is a waste of effort—we are big fans of BJ Fogg and Tiny Habits—but when a Part has a strategy for trying to make change happen in your life and another Part is pushing back in some way, you need to approach the whole thing in a different way.
Today, what I’d do instead is pause and turn towards any anxious or rebellious Parts and give them company and empathy. Then I could sense what was wanted from getting up early to write. What is wanted from writing.
When I do that, it brings me into alignment with the purposes of my whole self.
It opens a whole range of options and possibilities I might not have ever considered before. Maybe I would still get up early to write. But now there wouldn’t be a Part resisting being dragged into it by another Part. Or maybe I wouldn’t take the getting up early and writing path. The possibilities open up. The options widen. But whatever I’d do, I’d do from my whole self.
Here’s a little exercise for you, if you’d like to try this yourself:
- Pause… Sense your body here and now… Rest into the support of what you’re sitting on… Feel your breathing
- Let your awareness come into the inner area of your body… like your throat, chest, stomach… and just be there.
- Invite a sense of something you really want to do differently in this new year.
- Let your body get the feeling of wanting to do that differently… and just notice how that feels.
- If it’s a relaxed or joyful or peaceful feeling, take some time to enjoy it! But if this “wanting to do something” has a quality like anxious, or urgent, or dragging yourself to do it… then say “I am sensing something in me wants me to __________” and acknowledge and turn towards that Part of you.
Take time to sense what that Part of you wants for you from doing that differently… and when it lets you know, let it know you get it.
This brief exercise points to what we are saying about providing an environment of transformation. Being Self-in-Presence, and turning toward Parts of you with curiosity and empathy, creates a transformational environment for those Parts and for your Tangles!
If you have any questions about change and transformation or want to share what came for you from trying the exercise, please feel free to reach out!
Just click here to send us an email with your Untangling thoughts and questions. We would love to hear from you!