It was uncommonly windy last week. The house rattled and tree limbs fell around town. It feels like a period of change, on a personal and on a larger level. Change disrupts things. So, when we use terms like disrupt aging, for example, we have this vision of things being uprooted, overturned, in chaos.
But for me, the term disrupt makes the idea of change feel a little less scary, a little less chaotic, probably because it signifies an intention, not something random we can’t control….like nature.
Change only happens when, or if, we disturb the normal pattern of things—be it conscious or not. Many times I’ve looked at my life and realized that I had become comfortable with my discomfort. I see that situation X isn’t the best one but I’ve gotten used to it and the idea of changing will feel uncomfortable for a bit of time. It’s like having a broken foot and wearing a cast. The body adjusts to that alteration in walking, the tilted hip position, and all the other little changes. Over a period of weeks the body becomes so accustomed to this abnormal situation that the return to normal is acutely uncomfortable. Most people have to go to physical therapy to learn to walk properly again.
When we change something in our life, or we are forced into a new pattern there will be discomfort. The question is whether we’re willing to sit with, or embrace, the discomfort in order to get to something new, different, better.
One day you wake up and discover that you no longer have desire for your partner. Or that the job you’ve been in for 10 years is suddenly causing you too much stress. The tree you planted near the sidewalk has suddenly grown too big for the space and is pushing up the concrete. The initial change was so gradual that you were unaware of what happening. The awakening, the awareness, can be startling. And the solution will throw everything around you into a mild upheaval. Or maybe it will totally change the direction of your life.
In waking up to something that’s no longer works we frequently have an uncomfortable moment of wondering how or why we got there. What was your role? Why did you stay silent for so long? Why didn’t you speak up for yourself? And so on…. And the more you stay in that questioning the more likely you are to increase the discomfort. And the more likely it is that you will have to confront that which no longer works.
This is when the hard questions surface. Is it time for a change?
While change can feel disruptive it is also a time of possibility. Awareness brings a sense of light and openness as you begin to envision a different future. There is excitement mixed with dread. Yes, feelings might get hurt. Uncertainty is mixed in with the excitement. Can I do this? Is this really the right thing to do? Am I being selfish in thinking about my own needs?
All of those thoughts come into play. And that last one “Am I being selfish in thinking about my own needs?” is a tough one for women. We’re taught to put others before ourselves. The children, the husband, the marriage, the family ties… But when we start denying our own needs we risk spiraling deeper into the darkness. At least that’s what happened to me when I realized I no longer loved my husband, no longer wanted to be in that marriage. I didn’t regard myself with enough self-respect to think I could get a divorce. I felt trapped in the marriage I had worked hard to cultivate. And it took several years and hours of therapy for me to feel strong enough, and worthy, to say I wanted a divorce.
Not everyone faces such major life shifts, often they are small adjustments we can and must make on a daily level. They start by allowing ourselves to ask the question, What do I need today?
Is it time for a change? What do I need in this moment? When the meal order isn’t right or someone is being disrespectful? When I’ve lost sight of my own priorities? When I approach intimacy with a partner?
Asking the question is the first step to making the desired changes. By listening to the answers we begin to get clear. It’s important that we stay attuned to what feels important in our lives.
What do you need today? What do you want to bring into your life? To upturn, to let go of, to nurture? To disrupt?
I’m in the business of helping women figure out what they need in their most intimate relationships with others and with their own bodies. Do you need someone to support and guide you through the process of creating a more fulfilling reality? If it’s time for a change, let’s talk.
Also published on Medium.