Sunday, October 26, 2008

Leaning Into Change

Some changes by their nature are sudden and drastic, but where possible, I think leaning into change makes sense. I went back to work last week. There was no leaning into that change. I knew it was coming, I courted it in fact, but it was still a shock to the system. Going from working for myself, making my own schedule, working as much as I wanted on my writing, to working for someone else, on their agenda, away from my house and my writing, well, it was a lot of change to try to absorb in a week.

So in retrospect it probably was not a great week to try to attempt any other drastic changes, like trying to turn my standard American diet into a 75% raw foods diet in hope of curing a recurring health problem. I tried to take small steps, but before I knew it I had spent all afternoon yesterday reading, researching, list-making, and visiting health food stores. By early evening I felt completely overwhelmed, even before someone rear-ended my car.

At least I had the sense to recognize I needed a break. I came home and did some yoga, and then spent today resting and regrouping. And thankfully, while I was out walking today it occurred to me that this was a change I could lean into. Maybe I can’t get to 75% raw foods this week, but I can pretty easily increase the amount of fresh fruits and veggies I eat. Throw in some more nuts and seeds. Work slowly toward the goal.

Which brings me to my writing goals. My fear with going to work for someone else is that I will lose focus or momentum with the book. To combat that, I set a goal of working for two hours on the book in the morning before I left for my job, and I did that this week. But though I am proud of my dedication and discipline, I am suspicious that here too I am pushing too hard. I picked up one of Julia Cameron's books (yet another fairy godmother) this morning and read her thoughts about setting reasonable goals for our work. She says to figure out what amount of work I can accomplish daily without drama.

This was a needed and gentle reminder that as I make room for this new job in my life, I may need a period of time for adjusting to my new schedule, my new set of responsibilities and expectations. So maybe this week instead of working for two hours in the morning on my writing, I’ll try one hour, and see how that feels.

We want change, we need change, but maybe there is only so much change we can handle at any one time. Hopefully, as I get accustomed to my new job, I will find time and energy to make sure the book continues to move forward, steadily, at a pace I can sustain.


liquidambar said...

Every time I make a change in life, it requires a time of seeking the new balance. It's like moving a glass of water: the water sloshes around and eventually resettles.

Mr. Ackerman said...

This is a great post. I was listening to the Sunday Morning Politicos discuss President Elect Obama's plans for change. They think he will go with the Big Bang Theory and attempt to fix the Economy and Health Care right away.

Some pundits warned against trying to do it all at once. And after reading your post, I think I agree with them.

It is time to Lean into Change. How have I tried to make change in my own life?

I think I need to make change in my teaching practice. I will attempt to spend at least thirty minutes a night planning for tomorrow. Currently, I avoid planning, seek distractions, and then flounder in front of the class. This needs to change - slowly, but surely I hope.