Summer, fall, summer, fall, winter, winter, winter, winter, winter, SPRING and so on. This is the weather of Boston. I am a summer person trapped in a winter climate. But a Boston girl I am until someday I will not. New England weather gets a bad rap but we are now in one of our best seasons for sure. As the saying goes “if you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute.” Yes our weather here is a very good metaphor for the Buddhist principle of impermanence. Life is ever flowing. It ebbs and flows. It rains and it shines. Yes you’ve got it enough with the metaphors. Oh wait, one more, it’s like the tide in the ocean:) At the moment, with the planets Uranus and Pluto in a T square, we are all being pushed to the max to see the things that are between us and the truth. If you aren’t living in your truth, you will know it this week for sure. You can resist the change, you can resist life but that does not mean that it will do you any good. But resist we must it seems at times. In ways we don’t even know we are resisting. Sometimes our resistance is so ingrained we have no clue we are even doing it when we are. This past weekend at the Coaching Conference I went to a breakout session on Positive Psychology with Robert Kegan, PhD and his colleague Lisa Lehey have written books on what they term “The Immunity to Change” and tour nationally and internationally to spread their message. The message being that we have created this immune system that resists change in all different types of ways. We have even created behaviors and belief systems that actually keep us stuck in fear, resisting the thing we say we actually want. Crazy, huh? Hmmm I thought, so I have created behaviors or ways of being that reinforce me staying the same. That was kinda revelatory. Not rocket science but it did help me to see what was happening in a new and refreshing way. Let’s take a look at what Kegan and Lehey have to say about this whole immunity thing.
Kegan shared in his lecture that the mind has an immune system just like the body. It is there to protect you against danger. But just like the immune system in our body often gets triggered by the fight flight system requiring it to guard against PERCEIVED danger, so too does the immune system in our mind. In Kegan’s model he uses a chart as his instrument to help people challenge their immunity to change. The first column of the chart is your improvement goal. This is a goal that you would like to set for yourself to effect change in the area that is blocking you from what you want in life. In the second column you write things you do or not do that get in the way of this goal. This is where you list all the things you see yourself doing or know that you don’t do that keep you from getting what you seek. The third column is reserved for the Hidden Commitments and what he terms the “worry box.” In the worry box you put all the feelings that get triggered if you DON’T do the things that you DO do in column 2. They are “dreaded” things you don’t want to admit about yourself. It is the way we least want to see ourselves. The Hidden Commitments come from your worry box and the things that you are doing or not doing. They are competing commitments to your goal. These hidden commitments actually work AGAINST your goal. The fourth column is for Big Assumptions. These are the assumptions that come out of the hidden commitments. And finally you get to create an experiment to test your Big Assumptions. Your test is supposed to be Safe, Modest, Actionable (able to be done in 7-10 days), it should provide some Research information and it should be able to be Tested. Kegan’s model is meant to revolutionize how adults develop and become more malleable to change. While I come from an integrative approach, I have to say for cognitive models, his approach did bring to light a lot for me that day. We can’t just work change from the mind, we also have to process the energy in our bodies. Just because you think about something different doesn’t always mean you feel different. That being said, I have to say that this workshop was the moment of awakening for me during the conference. Things completely changed for me after this. Sometimes change can just be as simple as beginning to have a fresh new perspective on things to see just how the only person in the way between you and your dreams is….. drum roll…..YOU! Once you see the ways in which you may be sabotaging your success, you have an opportunity to shift into a more fluid place.
So yes, change gonna come whether we like it or not. I resisted change for over a decade. I worked hard towards changing but staying the same. That was a huge struggle. Kegan talks about how when we see our goal, the things we are doing or not doing that get in the way and then the competing commitments we see that we have one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas. It takes a lot of energy to be in this place. If you ease up on the brake, you have a whole lot of energy to apply to other things. Now that I have made my shift I see that to be true for myself. I see that I am so passionate about things, like writing, that I never even knew I was passionate about before. That is because the last thing I wanted to do was read anything to do with my work or write about it. But now I have found a way not only to research about my work but do so from a passionate open hearted place and I get to share it with all of you. What could be better? What are ways that you have one foot on the brake and one on the gas in your life? How long has that been going on? What would it be like to lessen the grip on the brake and begin to allow yourself to have energy to do the things that you would be in the service of your heart. It may sound like a whole lotta a crazy, but you may actually find that the world is much bigger and brighter than you could ever even imagine it to be. How might you live your dream today rather seeing it in the future?
Hope you have a fun day! Embrace change, it’s gonna come. Lots of change in the air, some of it feels good, some not so good. But all of it is eventually for the highest good of your soul.