Sunday, December 24, 2006

Chain reaction

I've been officially on the record for loving change for quite awhile now. The truth is a little more complex. I do love change, but I fear it. I've found that the law of physics about every action causing an equal and opposite reaction to be as true in living life as it is in the actions of objects and chemicals.

For example, I know that I've needed to become more assertive, and I've worked on it. However, recognizing that I need to do this hasn't changed my dislike of and discomfort with confrontation. Learning how to speak up more, how to modify my inclination to tact at the cost sometimes of clarity and strength and how to stand my ground has meant that I've had to accept more confrontation in my life. I like the changes of feeling stronger, having my boundaries under less encroachment, and using my time more for the goals and purposes that seem to be true to me. I really dislike the awkwardness of sometimes having to repeat "no" in multiple ways. I don't like making people feel uncomfortable. I hate the increased frequency of raised voices.

Welcoming greater assertiveness into my life has also meant welcoming more opportunities to use it. This reaction was one that I knew would happen but wasn't really prepared for. I also wasn't prepared for the fact that speaking up more would mean that other people have wanted me to do more. I'm comfortable giving speeches in front of crowds. One way communication, once you get used to seeing a bunch of people in front of you, really isn't that hard. However, formal interactive group communication is different. You're no less open to being judged in front of group rather than in one, but inside you are even more likely to hear feedback, to be challenged and to be rewarded. All have caused me to think more, to question myself more and to make sure I know why I believe what I believe. That's opened the door to even more change.

Damn, it's meant I've had to quit running from myself or just taking the easy path because I could. I really wasn't prepared for that.

Accepting change has meant that I've actually had to live some of the lifelong ideals I've had, valuing flexibility and openness, respect for self as well as others, finding and acknowledging the strength I've said I could have, among others. You know, I've found the goals and dreams that haven't changed. I've reclaimed some sense of permanence in allowing myself to do things differently. For this paradox loving woman, that one is even more delicious than most.

I confess freely to being pretty process oriented. That old bit about never stepping into the same river twice has felt very true in my life. Something is new and different every where I look, despite how familiar it may feel. Change is going to happen in us and outside of us whether we want it or not. I've found no way to stave off change and all the pleasant and unpleasant reactions it brings. What I have found is having a sense of the eternal, whatever you want to call it -- God, true north, black and white or the purple poodle in the sky -- makes the human, feeling lost, the tones of gray or felines in a canine world easier to handle.

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