We’ve all heard that change is the only constant. Isn’t it remarkable then, when long stretches of time pass with barely any change at all?
You stay in a role for years longer than you anticipated. The starter home ends up being your forever home. You eat the same breakfast out of the same bowl for a year.
And then there are times when everything seems to be changing at once.
The pandemic year brought a wave of change to everyone. The way you work, the way you socialize, the way you do life.
Add to that a career change, job change, health change, family change, mindset change, loss or addition to your circle, physical move, etc., and those changes are stacking up pretty high.
We play a matching game at my house. Where you lay 48 square pieces facedown on the table, and take turns flipping them over two at a time. Each one has a picture and the pictures come in pairs.
Preschoolers are good at it because of their sponge brains. They remember where the pictures are. The three-year-old needs a lot of reminders not to disturb the location of the squares. The four-year-old wants to stack the pairs we find in creative ways.
It’s not really a competition the way we play. We take all the discovered pairs and we organize them according to the four-year-old’s instructions. Lately it’s in one giant stack, and it’s my job to keep the stack straight.
It gets pretty high by the end.
And there in my living room, while I do my best to practice presence with these little ones, I also think about my clients. And the precarious stack of change some have experienced recently.
The ones who were laid off due to the pandemic and also had to manage remote learning and help an isolated parent. The ones whose job search was extended indefinitely due to a significant reduction in opportunities, while also trying to plan around fertility and family planning, or a loved one’s accident.
Life keeps happening. And suddenly the stack of changes stops looking like a stack of changes and starts looking like a… transformation.
In the case of the matching game, it often ends with a mess. Yesterday it ended with our stack being knocked over aggressively, and me picking up the pieces. It takes a careful eye to ensure they’re all gathered from under the coffee table, behind the coach, etc. They’re back where they belong now, in the box.
The best part of the transformation, in my opinion, is the noticing. The accounting. Is the marveling.
How 48 pieces can be totally rearranged into a neat stack, into messy heaps on the floor, and back into containment.
How a way of being can be disrupted. A way of thinking. A way of eating breakfast. Seemingly all of a sudden, but actually, it comes in the wake of all those changes stacked on top of each other.
Like the evolution from amoeba to human. So many tiny little steps on the way from there to here. And how miraculous.
So if you are weary from all the changes stacked on top of each other of late, here is my invitation to you: to notice what has, in fact, transformed. What has changed form? Or what is asking to?
We try so hard to transform sometimes. Crave it, even. And then sometimes life gives it to us. Maybe not in exactly the form we would have asked for. But it’s an invitation to transform nonetheless, this massive stack of changes.
What if you were to let it happen? Let the stack be something else, even for a moment? And see how you feel.
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