A pendulum’s momentum eventually stalls if the energies surrounding it equalize for too long. It will swing gently back and forth until the friction between the air and its mass conflict at the same rate. So goes our world; slowly stopped over the past decade as the chaos of our world, and our ever-changing minds, have acted like gravity in our social space. Changes often bring an end, but also start the dawn of a new beginning; one that if we start to plan for now can bring about a brighter future.
A new era is being ushered in, one full of Yin energy, the opposite of what we have experienced in the last few centuries. It is a time for rest, strategy, and holistic ideas, an exciting time but also one of immense pain for those unaware or unprepared. New environments and lots of change make humans uneasy, especially change that exists outside of our control.
One may feel they are being tossed along the waves and experience difficulty gaining a solid footing. This discombobulation often leads to pain, confusion, and despair. While the time has passed for finding a way to escape this period of life, there is a way to find the balance we crave. Taking on the adventure of finding our rhythm, working to banish the distractions that stop us from finding harmony, and gaining comfort with ambiguity can help us plan for what is coming next.
The effects of Change
Time is ever moving, it never recedes, but humans historically have been spared from dealing with such heavy effects in such a short period of life. Past changes were often difficult to see until they were past their tipping point, but the more unstable our society, the faster the pace of change. Expanding our view globally exacerbates the number of changes that affect us, and can easily become overwhelming in our digital age.
While some can see this quick pace of change as exhilarating, and look to welcome this sea of change with open arms, others, especially those who have led fairly predictable lives, can crumble under the weight of ambiguity. This can help explain why some have expanded their communities to include people across the world while some become more insular and focused only on what is in front of them. The conflict that arises between people on these different change spectrums only adds to the frustration, confusion, and pain.
Think of the number of times we have heard the words “unprecedented” or “never before seen”. Endings happen when many new things start appearing.
A snippet of shifts happening at once:
- The Great Resignation confusion – low unemployment but we have the most people quitting at one time ever. Employers a bit unsettled that they may have lost the upper hand.
- The Changing Weather – Higher highs, lower lows, snow in the south, but none in the west. Regardless of why it is happening, our weather patterns are changing.
- Conservative business men are “freedom fighters” and liberal tree huggers are “draconian” – I’ll just leave that there….we have a lot of work to do…
- White men feel like victims in a world they have ruled for centuries.
- Our technology is what both keeps us together during covid, but also drives us further into isolation and loneliness.
- Our globe has grown more democratic, but also more selfish over the past decades.
Find your Change Rhythm
Endings are tough, especially when they do not end happily or willingly. During times of change, people become fearful of losing what they have and losing their station in life. This is natural. We work hard for what we have, and want to keep what we have gained. But we must be wary about succumbing to this fear and causing greater problems. This fear can grow dangerous when we start to see others as the enemy and start to hide away from those we used to trust. This fear strengthens our need for safety which drives us further apart.
Instead, we must recognize that it is our struggle against this change that causes our pain. Change will happen whether we like it or not, but we can always change ourselves to maintain our vision. The more we struggle against it only prolongs the pain. Learning how to better manage change can make the process easier.
A Change, according to renowned Organizational Change expert William Bridges, consists of three main phases: An Ending, A Neutral Zone of uncertainty, and A New beginning, and each of us reacts uniquely within each phase. To help clarify these phases, my synopsis is below. Understanding these ideas can help to refine our relationship with change.
- Endings come with emotions. These emotions must be felt, understood, and let go before one can leave this stage fully.
- Uncertainty/Ambiguity comes with questions. These questions bring anxiety, depression, aggression, and fear. These symptoms can only be quelled by finding the answers to the questions.
- A New Beginning can only be reached if you know what it is “supposed to look like“. Paint a detailed picture of what you are working towards so that you know when you have reached it.
Start a New Beginning Today
What to do when you realize that the environment calls for change and it starts with changing yourself?
Start getting back to the basics: Determining what we really NEED not just what we WANT.
We NEED each other. Period. It may not seem so, but we can only survive together. Our world has grown richer, resources are more prevalent, and technology allows us the option of a single life. Psychology Today said it well: “More affluence leads to a greater sense of self-reliance and a detachment from others.” But we give up a lot when we create this type of life. We more easily fall into isolation, depression and suffer from anxiety. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, found that loneliness and social isolation are twice as harmful to physical and mental health as obesity (Perspectives on Psychological Science, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2015).
We NEED to remove distractions and regain our connection with nature. This connection allows us to better anticipate the winds of change and better prepare for the future we really want. Removing distractions can be hard because as the smoke clears, all of the emotions we have pushed away come rushing back. Doing this work is hard, and it’s often better with a guide. I use the Essential Elements of Life to guide my students towards building resiliency and finding peace free from their emotional baggage. Please check us out if you are in need, but even if we are not the right fit for you I implore you to seek assistance when searching your soul.
An Ending of Hope
This will not be easy, it will not be quick, but if we start today we WILL see the fruits of our labor sometime soon. Start talking to each other, learning about each other, discovering more about our values, morals, goals, and dreams. Let go of the need to “one-up” someone, let go of the spite, release the hurt, see that we have a chance. A chance to create the world anew, the chance to find ourselves again.
Endings bring fear, but they can also bring hope. When change comes we can run, but we can never hide. It ebbs and flows throughout our lives and is necessary for growth. Growth creates maturity and helps us learn the mysteries of life. If we can find the courage to stand and face our fear, we start our journey to find our rhythm and create a life of harmony and balance.