September is the first month in the annual Haven theme cycle. And as we have for the previous two years, we are once again exploring ideas around ‘Change’.
In 2019 ‘Change’ was framed on the premise that however we feel about life so far, ‘this is not the end of our story – there is always another chapter waiting to be written’.
Last year in 2020 we viewed ‘Change’ through the lens of ‘letting go’. That in order to get a better grip, gasp, or handle on things, we might need to put them down first.
So what about this year?
No specific framing lens has made itself known to me for 2021…so far. But that could be because rather than simply talking about it, we are actually exploring it in practice this year…
How Do You Know When, What, and How to Shift?
I am inviting a small number of people I know and trust to take refuge in The Haven as a place to explore their passions and interests with us. Some are going to facilitate café groups, others will run occasional or one-off workshops. They might also use their art, creative practices, and other insights, to occasionally help us open up and delve deeper into the core monthly themes.
In this theme introduction (and inaugural public podcast episode), you will officially meet Lindsay-Celeste Graf.
She is the first of official ‘Creative Partner’, and she will play a more active role around The Haven in the months ahead.
I first met L-C at the start of this year. We connected after I listened to her Magic for Realists Podcast. Since then she has been on the Gentle Rebel Podcast and we’ve worked together on various things. I am confident that she will bring some playfully joyful creative energy to The Haven village.
It was lovely to have the opportunity to discuss change on the backdrop of this season of transformation.
In our conversation Lindsay-Celeste and I talk about:
Integration and Settling
When to let the dreams flow and when to narrow down the focus. How to get a good rhythm and pace for intentional change so that it’s not too slow (drift and waning enthusiasm), and not too fast (chaos and disintegration).
The Event vs The Growth
The epiphany of change can be a sudden bright moment. But such an event is not the change itself – lasting and healthy change takes practice, repetition, and time. This is a common confusion in the modern world, and one reason why we bounce from idea to idea, tool to tool, and solution to solution, searching for the change each of these things promises but fails to deliver.
Discernment and Timing
How do you know when it’s time to make a change? How do you know what shape that change should take? This is different for everyone but we can identify the signs, and use practices (for ourselves AND alongside others) to thrash out, circle towards, and grapple with the best courses of action.
When The Drive to Change is Fear Not Truth
It’s important to know when change is procrastination posing as a productive use of time. Do we use it to avoid difficult conversations or the messy middle parts of projects?
Messiness, Waste, and Chaff
The process of change produces excess chaff. There are often things that feel like they will be important and part of the lasting transformation. But over time it becomes clear that they don’t have a role. This waste is necessary, like the abundance of seeds that must fall in order for a tree to produce saplings.
It’s Always Different When You Look Back
We tell a different story about the changes we go through when we are through to the other side. Cyclist Jason Kenny, the most ‘successful’ British Olympian summed this up perfectly after winning his seventh gold medal.
He said “it’s funny, when you look back on the ones you’ve already got it seems really easy…on the videos it looks easy…but when you try to get more you remember how hard it was. You always look back with rose-tinted glasses but you forget the hard work it takes.”
Everything looks simple and easy once it’s done. And through ‘survivor bias’ we tell stories of what it took to succeed. But these stories rarely able to truly communicate and reflect the chaotic, uncertain, and painful process of change and success.
This is why I’m excited to go through this season of change with a degree of transparency about the process. It’s a chance to live the story so that the chaos, uncertainty, and confusion is left on the page.
Anchor Points and Pivot Points
With ‘change energy’ there might be a temptation to change everything. But this is a recipe for destructive havoc. It’s important to ask two questions: ‘what needs to stay the same right now?’ (anchor points) and ‘what might need to change first/next?’ (pivot points).
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