When it comes to change, we know that it will eventually happen. However, that doesn’t mean that we are willing to change or find change easy. Sometimes change is downright challenging. Why is that? Change can activate a fight or flight response. When we are in the midst of change we can feel more stressed and when we are stressed we are more likely to enter into fight or flight behaviors. We need to learn how to shift focus in the midst of change.
Change Gets a Bad Rap
There are many jokes on the subject of how difficult it is for people to change. There’s the classic joke that asks how many people it takes to change a light bulb. The answer is always a loud and hesitant, “Change?!”
I’m amused at this joke mostly because I heard it first as a Protestant. It went like this, “How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb?”
When I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy I heard the same joke. “How many Orthodox does it take to change a light bulb?”
Perhaps we aren’t as different as we think.
Analogy from a Turning Boat
Two weekends ago I was able to attend a retreat for young professionals of the Orthodox Christian faith. Among opportunities to learn and grow in faith and community there was a social event on a yacht in the Boston Harbor.
We all braved the Massachusetts chill to cruise around the harbor, eat great food, and dance. I think it’s safe to say that we all enjoyed this opportunity and that it was a great way to bring the retreat to an end.
Dancing on a boat that occasionally turns is where I see the analogy.
If one really focused on dancing, they might not notice the boat turning. However, in my experience, there were times I would suddenly become aware that my feet were moving to the beat of the music, but my body leaned another direction to the pull of the boat. It is that pull of the boat as it turns that I am referring to.
Shift Your Focus in the Midst of Change (i.e. Lean into the Turn)
As the boat slowly turned in the water, I quickly discovered that if I leaned into the turn of the boat with a spin of my own, it was not only easier on the mind but more fun.
Why was it easier on the mind? It took my mind off the slow and somewhat wobbly turn we were experiencing.
Isn’t leaning into the turn what we need to do sometimes when life brings about change? Instead, we tend to focus on how wobbly everything is around us or how unstable or how slow things seem. To shift our focus in the midst of change, perhaps we need to look for a way to spin and lean into the change.
What Does Leaning into Change Look Like?
I can’t say that I know what leaning into the change looks like in every situation, or that I’m particularly good at it.
However, if I can begin to learn how to shift my focus from what is slow and wobbly in the midst of change to ways I might lean into the change, I would consider that progress.
Are you with me?
More Articles to Read
For those that are looking for ways to change attitudes, gain clarity, and make the changes to our behaviors that build a better us.
Posts on Attitude:
Posts on Behavior:
Posts on Clarity:
Posts on Faith: