We tend to think that change happens like magic – a switch flips and we are in love, rich, or no longer anxious. We fantasize about vacations of bliss. And when we arrive there is bliss and a sunburn and a frozen drink too many and, well, real life in all its glory.
Deep change involves bearing a process which we do not yet understand. It involves changing from one physical, emotional, and intellectual organization into another. It does not happen all at once but in increments, all the time, whether we want to or not. Our existence in interaction with life is constantly changing.
When change is something that we want, when change is something that we intentionally seek out, we still have to bear it. We have to bear when it happens and when it doesn’t. We have to bear what shape it takes. We have to bear its speed – fast, slow, or something in between.
Change is an interaction with something new. Over time, I have come to recognize change as it is happening – sometimes.
Sometimes my brain goes fuzzy or suddenly empty.
Sometimes I feel depleted. And thirsty. Like my psyche just had an intense massage.
Sometimes I feel jacked up and manic.
Sometimes I feel butterflies.
Sometimes my shame is activated and past regrets, mistakes, and vulnerabilities take over with an insatiable vengeance. When I can catch this I call it backlash.
Sometimes someone says something unexpected and I consciously try to take it in. To let it change my cells.
Sometimes I cry about something I have never cried about before.
Sometimes I have a dream or a fantasy and part of its meaning hits home and I know this is a marker of an incremental shift.
Sometimes someone in my life puts words to a change and I recognize it as true but previously unarticulated. In talking the change takes shape.
Sometimes I have an extra glass of wine that I don’t need or want. Later, I can identify this extra glass as a response to new feelings that seemed unmanageable even though unworded.
Some of these changes are about my conscious self. Some are about unconscious shifts that I cannot fully articulate.
And sometimes there is no perceptible sign of anything.
These are some of the ways that my particular body, mind, and soul respond to transformational work. By transformational work, I mean intentional interactions with the new – in other people, in nature, in ideas, in the body.
When we seek out the new, we change in response.