As James Baldwin stated:
Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. As we undergo change, even desired change, we do temporarily lose ourselves we lose the identity that we knew and that was familiar to us. As a result, we end up feeling unsafe, uncertain, and off balance.
As is clear from my earlier posts, being able to move through change and transition and successfully come out transformed on the other side is about balance and alignment. Today’s world has been referred to as white water rafting we are riding through the white water of constant change and need to be flexible enough to respond well to each change so that we don’t end up dumped out of the raft into the rapids.
When we step off the solid ground that we are used to and find ourselves in a raft in the middle of a white water, we feel unsteady and can easily loose our balance. It can leave us feeling vulnerable and scared. Out of fear, we may try to resist change. We may stiffen up and move against the motion of the raft.
By doing this, we may find ourselves even more off-balance; maybe even falling into the water. Instead of reacting against and resisting the change, we need to learn to respond to the motion of the raft on the water, moving with it rather than against it.
To do this, we need to be centered and in balance. In a salsa class I took recently, the teacher emphasized that to be able to partner well, you need to be balanced on your own you need to know where your center is and follow your partner’s center. Neither partner should be leaning on the other. Both need to be centered but by paying attention to each other’s energy, they can stay in sync and move together gracefully and in balance.
Certainly, gaining our sense of balance and equilibrium needs to come from inside. No one can give it to us. But, it is, nonetheless important to have support from others who can help us regain and maintain our balance. Just as a toddler who is learning to walk needs support at first from furniture and loving hands it helps to have support when in the middle of a change process. It’s important to find friends and others who can provide us support when we are undergoing change so that when we become unsteady and wobble, they can help us regain our balance.
Support may take the form of quelling our fears about the unknown – providing the encouragement that helps us feel safer as we move forward into uncertain territory. It might be an encouraging word, someone to bounce ideas off of, or just someone who believes in us.
I found support from various places: from knowledgeable professionals like Dr. Lou, my chiropractor and Scott Baker, a structural integration therapist who helped me regain my physical alignment as well as from friends who had more confidence in me that I had in myself.
Read about Reflecting on the Process in Part 10 of the Change, Transition, and Transformation Series
Congratulations on your new endeavor. I like your use of metaphor in this piece.
Great insight! I can so relate to the “off-Balance”. It’a a journey, and when you find a good balance, what a feeling.