Mr. Change most often arrives quite properly attired in a boring beige suit. He is not a very interesting fellow. The spark has long gone out of his eyes and his attitude. He has settled for stability in his life, happy to have things remain status quo. He may begin to experience feelings that he is not sure about…foreign and confusing they make no sense to him. In spite of the unease, or maybe because of it, he gradually becomes aware that something is amiss.
In contrast to change that arrives in a dull beige suit that which appears in the garb of Ms. Chaos. She rips into town gaudily dressed and announces her presence quite loudly and often rudely. There is no denying she has arrived! She is shocking, harsh and entirely unwelcome. However, she does get your attention and demand that you deal with her….NOW!
Of course there are many ways that change can enter. These are two extreme metaphors that describe qualities of the initiation stage. The next stage is the passage through dissolution. In this phase some or all of certain aspects of your life and identity disintegrate. Confusion, doubt, fear and anxiety are frequent guests at your table now. This is a good time to remember what Fritz Perls said “Fear is excitement without breath”. It is also a good time to remember to give yourself permission to grieve losses, as well as time to indulge in some extra tender loving self-care.
Letting go is a big part of change. As you become willing and open to letting go, you begin to create empty space and room for new ideas and parts of you to emerge. You also make space for new experience to happen. It is important to remember that letting go is a process and requires inner technologies that take it beyond concept into reality.
After some time of feeling stuck and like you have been stagnating, you may (gradually) sense a stirring of life within you. The thought begins to arise in your consciousness that perhaps you will survive this reconstruction. Maybe you will even end up with a better life, or be a better person, or learn how to be happy no matter what, or…___ you can fill in the blank with some wonderful quality, event or happening that was not apparent at the start of this process–one that only materialized as a direct result of this change. In this stage there is the beginning of the integration of new abilities, skills, emotions or beliefs. Mr. Change shows up in a trendy new suit and Ms. Chaos is chanting OM!
You may not feel quite steady or solid as you begin to live your new life but you are here, alive and present. Congratulations, you’re a butterfly at last! You’ve emerged and you’re ready to fly. It’s best to remember that the stages of change can be entwined, difficult to discern altogether clearly and there may be some overlap. Nevertheless do your best to identify where you are and what you need at any given juncture.