When the reality of COVID hit home in the early months of 2020, I was standing in a grocery store watching a small mob of frightened people grab at toilet paper like it was the last life-raft on a sinking Titanic.
Like most people, I hadn't anticipated a pandemic. But I was well acquainted with the climate of fear it produced—the uncertainty, the shock, the bewilderment, the disorientation.
I'm no stranger to crisis. I've been dumped into that cold water several times and I've learned that when the floorboards of stability crack under your feet—when everything suddenly breaks and falls apart—you've got to swim HARD for the shoreline of the unknown or you'll drown.
Thanks to my work with Martha Beck, I have a framework to help me navigate the terror of change. And in those early days, as we hit the great iceberg together, I knew one thing for sure.
The whole world was being thrown into Square One.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, take a quick look at the diagram to the left.
This is Martha Beck's Map of Change. The grey square is the first stage of crisis.
See the cocoon?
This represents the Melt Down Phase where life as you've known it dissolves so something new can emerge from the void.
This is the stage of sudden, shocking, change. Of grief and loss and confusion and disbelief.
Most people fight this part of the Change Cycle with tooth and nail. Anger and rage and blame often show up in attempt to hang on to the old reality.
In other words, HELLO 2020!
But a year has gone by now, dear reader. You may not realize it yet, but we're no longer in the initial Melt Down Phase.
Change (if you allow it to change you) follows a predictable cycle.
Square One is always, ALWAYS, followed by Square Two.
2021 may very well be the resting and ripening phase between the old and the new. Where the empty, black void begins to fill with possibility and new life.
Martha calls this the Dreaming and Scheming Phase. I call it the Imaginarium.
In this square, a greater intelligence (maybe life circumstances?) will begin giving you instructions about how to create something out of the remnants of your old identity.
Yes, you're still in the cocoon.
But something different is happening.
The caterpillar has let go of everything about it that is caterpillar so it can become something else.
And through that surrender, something special inside starts to create a butterfly.
Whether you call it science, or the force of creation, or the magic of nature, this special something carries the genetic blueprints needed to re-arrange all that digested material into a beautiful creature with wings.
Simply put, an inner intelligence knows what to do.
This isn't something you have control of. It's not something you manufacture.
This stage happens TO you. And it's your choice whether you allow it to transform you or not.
Here are some signs you’re leaving Square One and entering Square Two:
You feel calmer, even in chaos.
You start to do things you never thought you’d do.
You have an urge to change things like your hair or clothing, or your house or your job.
You feel a pull to certain music, to certain movies, or subject matters.
You feel a new sense of hope, or energy, or possibility.
You get creative sparks, or an increase in dreaming.
Your imagination feels ignited.
The truth is, you’re becoming a new person, and you’ll either develop traits and interests your old self didn’t have, or you'll re-imagine them in a whole new way.
So go ahead and dream!
Cut out pictures of the life that's calling to you. Create a vision board. Play with ideas. Daydream. Notice what catches your attention. Notice what you're drawn to.
Fill the Empty Void (the one created by all the breaking) with everything that sparks interest, hope and joy.
Fill it with kindness for yourself and others.
Fill it with possibility.
The next phase of DOING will come in right timing. Eventually, you'll leave the cocoon and the hero's journey of building a new life will begin.
But right now, allow yourself to be held.
Stay open to the whispers that give you hints of who you're becoming.
Listen to the beckon call of your future self.
Pay attention to those shivers of insight.
Then surrender to what wants to happen in your life.
Sending you so much love,
PS. I love helping people connect to their inner wisdom so they can find their way in this wild new world of uncertainty and change. If you want to navigate this change consciously, and are feeling a call to do some deeper internal work, let's have coffee together by Skype! You can book a free consultation HERE
PSS. All references to The Change Cycle have been adapted from the work of Martha Beck or reprinted with her permission. Martha Beck, Inc /Copyright Martha Beck/ www.marthabeck.com
If you'd like to read more about Square One, click HERE
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