This past week, I wrote a couple new pieces, one on purpose and one on the new hiking series, called Willamette Wanderings and Wonderings, thanks, Jules, for the cool title idea.
Though I love writing poetry, and will continue to, it was fun to write a few different pieces this week. Both of these posts will be scheduled soon for next week. Awesome.
Instead of two reflections this week, I am going to write a little about two recent collaborations. Here we go.
This week, Amber, of DiosRaw, and I wrote, Remembering The Mirrored Child Within: Amber and Jeff (3). As with both of the previous poems we collaborated on, writing this poem with Amber was lovely. It is quite a magical experience to pick up a set of verses from a fellow poet, and then add to them, and vice versa. Beautiful.
This week also saw the publication of the interview I did with Bella from Thoughtsnlifeblog. The interview is part of Bella’s Let’s Get Inspired Series, which is, well, simply amazing.
You all know, I’ve only been blogging for one year, and Bella’s blog was one of the first blogs I began following and commenting on. Bella’s blog was inspirational for me then, and is inspirational for me now.
If you’ve not checked out Thoughtsnlifeblog or DiosRaw, please do so. Both of these blogs are inspirational, just like their creators.
I received my second vaccination on Friday, and am pleased, and also a little anxious, to report that I’ve booked a trip to Los Angeles to visit my sisters and mother, and to see my niece graduate from High School.
Part of the choice to travel now, is that I have no idea what the next 6 to 12 months will bring, which made the choice to travel now that I am fully vaccinated an easy one.
Sometime last month I celebrated my one year blogging anniversary. It’s been such a joy to meet so many amazing and inspirational people, and to create, create, create. It’s been a blast.
I recently surpassed 400 posts, now have, well, almost 700 followers, 690 as of writing this post; and, the blog has received over 5,000 comments, has had over 32,000 views, and over 13,000 visitors. Amazing.
I want to thank each of you for supporting me; for following, liking, commenting, and collaborating. You are all inspirational, and I appreciate you.
This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon connection. How we are all connected to each other, yes, and to everything else we see. All of it. Quite beautiful.
Before I write more about connection, let’s take a look at a couple reflections from this past week, and a few ideas I have for next week. Sound good? Okay, here we go.
This past week, I’ve continued to write quite a bit of poetry. It just happens like that sometimes; and, of late, there’s been much more poetry within me. Fun.
The Tanka #9 poem, occurred to me one day after meditation. Well, in fact, the concepts found in the poem occur to me all the time these days. That is, existence, and the connection we all have to each other and all that surrounds us.
We have the idea that we are separate, due to socialization and the creation of the ego-self. The separateness we feel, however, is illusory. Not real. Reality lives behind and beyond the concepts we hold of ourselves and all that we see. Beautiful.
I didn’t understand my own sensitivity for most of my life. In fact, my sensitivity was something I ran from in many ways. When you are a highly sensitive person and unaware, the world feels more frightening and incomprehensible. The paradox?
When you are a highly sensitive person and aware, the world feels more, well, like you, beautiful, strong, and very comprehensible. Being a highly sensitive person is a true gift.
Well, in my diary entry last week, I wrote about being on the waitlist for the vaccine; and, I now have an appointment next Friday, which means I will be fully vaccinated by early May.
Now, as many of you know, my whole family lives in Los Angeles, California, where I lived the majority of my life; and, I have a niece graduating from high school this year. The question? Yep, you guessed it; do I travel? Not sure? Me either.
Instead of thinking about the choice, I looked at flights, and found that the quarantine policy for traveling into LA County is still in place, which means that when you are traveling into the County from out of state you must quarantine for 10 days.
I could not find a single resource on the flight booking site, nor on the CDC website about traveling once fully vaccinated. So? I called the LA County Public Health Department. The person that answered the phone was super nice, and, to my question, replied, that’s a good question. They didn’t know the answer either.
The LA County employee that helped me is going to do some research and call me back. Thus, my choice on traveling to LA remains, for now, on hold.
This past week, we had our remote Spring Instructor Forum. These forum’s are a chance for our Community Education Instructors to get to see each other, and to interact with us. In the Community Education program we have over 200 instructors, and they live all over the area, so this is one way we stay connected.
As I prepared my small talk with the Instructors, I pondered this past year, the current year, and the upcoming year. And? What occurred to me was that, yes, so much has changed this past year, and more changes will come.
Yet, one thing that will not change is the connection we have with each other, which is why I am calling next fiscal year (2021/22), The Year of Continued Connection.
There will always be change, and, in many ways, change is wonderful. Terribly hard at times, yes, and also beautiful.
Though we have no idea what the rest of this year will bring, we know that our relationships are strong, and that they will endure through whatever change comes our way. We have proven this this past year.
I’ve written many posts about relationships and connection. I always say, there’s nothing more important than the relationship we have with ourselves, and with those people we surround ourselves with.
Everything starts with us. And, when you have a quality connection with yourself, you will have quality connections with others.
I’ll leave you this week, with two quotes I shared with the Community Education Instructors this past week, as I think they speak very well to the value of connection.
“I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… This is the interrelated structure of reality.” Martin Luther King Jr
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Brené Brown
Well, last week was the first week of registration, and thus far we are busier than last term, which is grand. It will be interesting to see how registration goes the next couple of weeks.
The Saturday paper today read that the Governor of Oregon was intent that all Oregonians receive vaccinations by the end of June. And, in that same press release, the Governor also stated that people working in higher education will be vaccinated by April 1.
I am cautiously optimistic. Meaning, that the plan is a good one, and I appreciate the Governor for creating a strong vision, yet with all of the challenges and changes this past year, I think, staying in our current reality, for now, is best. And, our current reality?
Well, Benton County, where I live is still categorized as extreme risk, whereas Linn County, where I work is categorized as moderate risk. Yes, precarious.
The team and I are planning to be remote the rest of this fiscal year, and if that changes, we will face those changes at that time.
Alright, let’s discuss writing. Here are two reflections from this week.
As I was thinking about writing the poem Found, I was reflecting upon living in Flagstaff, AZ, which is 7000 feet in elevation and gets about 90 inches of snow in the winter. It is an amazing little town, and is beautiful throughout the entire year. Growing up in Los Angeles, the only time I experienced snow was when we traveled to Big Bear, which we did maybe once every other year.
Living in Flagstaff for 4 years was, well, very different, in that we had to learn how to live in the snow. As I reflected upon our time there, I was thinking about hiking in the snow, which is a lovely experience. You can come upon whole meadows, which are completely covered in snow, as far as you can see.
The reflection also reminded me of being disconnected from my inner-self for a long time, and how that’s not the case anymore, and it feels, well, beautiful.
The reflection for this poem was inspired by the WDYS prompt from Keep it Alive, by Sadje. A beautiful picture of the Taj Mahal, with the sun rising directly behind it, reminded me of majesty and brilliance.
I only partake in a couple of prompts today, and appreciate the inspiration these wonderful bloggers create. It is super fun each week to wait and wonder about the prompt, and then to get the reveal. Wonderful.
The picture of the Taj Mahal also reminded me of humanities resilience, and the beauty in standing for each other.
I’ve been thinking more about change this past week, as some states across the country begin to relax pandemic restrictions.
It reminds me that we will all have a lot of change coming in the next year, and, well, actually the next couple of years as we all learn to live in our new realities, whatever they end up being.
It also reminds me of the necessity and need of being gentle and patient with ourselves and each other. There is a lot that can be gained when we are gentle and exercise our patience. We get more for ourselves, and we give more back out to those we love and care about.
As we continue to face new changes this coming year, remember to be gentle and patient with yourself.
I am excited to report that I have two new clients. They’ve both come through work, and I am really enjoying working with both of them.
One is a small business owner, and the other is a local professional. I’ve been coaching people for many years, and it is one of the things I enjoy most about my work. I love to work with people on their personal and professional development, just as much as I do on my own development.
It is in conversations and relationships with other people where innovation, creativity, and developmental growth can occur. And, you know, every time I have a new client, I always learn something more about myself. Every time. Reciprocity is beautiful that way.
Alright, that’s all for this week.
Be well, love well, live well, and have a wonderful week.
A 3-minute Reflection on 4 Things Every Leader Can Do to Create Safety on Teams
Well, we are 9-months into a pandemic, actually much more than 9-months, yet, here locally, 9-months ago was when the restrictions started. And?
I’ve been thinking about and reflecting upon just how important creating safety on teams is all the time; and, now? Even more important.
Developing safety within a team creates a context where possibilities abound. Meaning, when people feel safe, there is trust, and where there is trust, well, anything is possible. Seriously. Anything. And, now?
Living inside the pandemic for the past 9-months has been unsettling in many ways. Though I’ve written about, and we’ve discussed many times before, how much more there is to know and learn, than is known.
It is equally true that when the foundation of someone’s belief system is shaken, it can be really hard, and can make people begin to question what they thought they knew about how the world works.
Meaning that for some people, they already know there is much more to know than they know, and now what they thought they knew has been up-ended. Hard.
Right, so what can we do? How can we make sure to continue to create safety on teams so people feel like they have solid ground to stand on? Good questions. Let’s take a look at 4 ways we can do just that.
Have you ever heard about managing the real and ideal? Yes, no? Either way, it simply means that when in a leadership role it is important to always strive for an ideal, think vision, while being very clear on the current reality.
Basically you are managing the tension between what is and what you are creating. Super important. Why?
Because even though the current reality might be hard to hear, people need confirmation that what they are seeing, thinking, and feeling is accurate. The very last thing they need is false hope. Nope. They need reality.
When you stand in the current reality, there is workability. Why? Because when you are clear and the team is clear, you can continue to create the ideal free from the distraction, what if.
You will get more focus, concentration, and organization when you are clear on the current reality while continuing to create the ideal future state. More focus, concentration, and organization from yourself and the team.
We all know how important it is to listen. Very important. There might not be a more important leadership skill. Seriously. This is especially true when times are stressful.
People need someone they can come to, someone they can depend upon. Someone that is going to be present, listen, and give honest feedback. They need that, their team members need that, and, as the leader, you need that. From? From each of them. Yep.
There is immense power in being present and being an active listener.
Active listening simply means being mindful in your conversations. Be present, pay attention, empathize, and use your conversational skills to really understand, take in, and respond in kind to the person you are talking to. Important.
You will get much more back when you practice and coach people to practice active listening. More for yourself, for your teammates, and the entire team. When people really listen, they know what’s going on with their teammates, which makes for a much more productive work environment.
When the team understands the current reality and the ideal state you are creating, is practicing active listening, the likelihood for collaboration increases. Why?
Because when people feel comfortable, are able to focus, and know how their teammates feel and what they think, they are immediately more approachable. And, when we are more approachable, collaboration is just easier.
And, what do you get when your team is able to collaborate more effectively? Yep. Innovation.
When your team works together, there is a synergy that occurs, and inside of that synergy, you get ideas that take the team further. You don’t get these types of synergistic innovations from silos. Just doesn’t happen.
Of course, you cannot create an ideal reality from a very clearly defined current reality without taking action. Nope. Not possible.
Actually, the coolest thing about creating an ideal, and generating all of the innovative ideas, is seeing them executed upon. Amazing. It is one of the things I love the most about working on teams.
Yep, it is so much fun to create, and, yes, I am very creative. Yet, it is equally beautiful and fun to watch the transformation of what can be months of innovative work into a new system, process, program, training, or class. Really.
Wow, that was fun.
Alright, remember, creating safety on teams is a powerful leadership skill. Truly.
As we discussed, creating safety ensures that people can feel comfortable in the current reality, even a very stressful one, while continuing to strive for the ideal reality.
Practicing and modeling active listening also fosters safety by creating a context of respect and mindfulness, while collaboration and taking action ensures that the bridge between innovation and execution is clearly articulated and navigated.
And, when the bridge between innovation and execution is clear and ideas are being executed upon, the team will feel a sense of accomplishment, which increases the team’s morale and feelings of security and safety.
Creating safety on teams may be one of the most important things a leader can do, especially during times that are more stressful and unknown. The ability for everyone to feel safe is that important.
Another wow. Lots of writing this week. Fun! And, next week?
Hm. I’m a little more unsure about my writing next week than usual. I know, I know, I actually write that quite often, or something like that, maybe in a different way. Why?
Because I am truly unsure how it will go. Much of that has to do with how much time I’ll have to write. It’s different every week. And?
Well, here’s the plan anyway.
More poetry? Oh, yes, of course! I am having such a great time writing poetry. I am working on several pieces right now! Much fun.
I will also be working on the Leadership Series this week, on installment, well, 2.5, which is the other half of the second installment on developing the self. More fun!
I’m sure I’ll also have a reflection series post this week, though last week that did not occur. We will see. And, you know, for me, that’s part of the fun.
Seeing what comes. What insights happen throughout the week, and how they, sometimes, turn into poetry or another post. The creative process is quite beautiful. Wouldn’t you agree?
In last week’s entry, I wrote a little about the 2-week freeze the Governor put Oregon under, which expires, I think, this coming Wednesday.
Yet, not really. Why?
Well, it turns out the county I live in, and the county I work in have been classified as extreme risk. Meaning?
Continued restrictions. Difficult. And, yet totally understandable.
Last week, my oldest son told me that University sent everyone home over the Thanksgiving break, and told them not to return until winter term, which starts in early January.
Like I’ve written, it is hard right now, for everyone, everywhere. Hang in there.
Head and Heart
The Monday message I scheduled to go out to the team this week was created specifically because of how hard it is living inside of the pandemic right now. Has been hard, and is still hard. That is our current reality.
And, inside of that reality, it is important for each of us, all of you, yes, and me, to remember to take care of our head and our heart. Really important.
I’ve written a lot about how I take care of my head and heart, so will simply write here that however you do that matters less, than doing it. Taking care of yourself. Being with yourself. Caring for yourself. Important.
When we care for ourselves, we can care for everyone else that much more. It works that way.
Please remember to take care during this terribly stressful time.
And, lastly, I wanted to share a couple of quotes that are also part of the Monday message scheduled for tomorrow. Why?
Well, because I think they are inspirational, just like each of you. Here we go.
“One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right if the head is totally wrong. Only through the bringing together of head and heart-intelligence and goodness-shall man rise to a fulfillment of his true nature.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
“People with high levels of personal mastery…cannot afford to choose between reason and intuition, or head and heart, any more than they would choose to walk on one leg or see with one eye.” -Peter Senge
It is interesting to consider. I do like writing poetry, and am having a lot of fun doing so. Funnily enough, as I’ve written before, I haven’t read much poetry, though when I find poetry I like, I go back to it again and again.
And, I’ve been reading a lot more poetry lately from the blogs of some of the most outstanding poets and writers. Lovely.
I also love the challenge of writing poetry. It is an interesting paradox. In some ways it is easier than the other topics I choose to write about, and yet, in many ways much more difficult. Hm.
I enjoy sitting with a peice, pondering it, reflecting upon it, until the right words show up. Fun. I also like being out on a walk or hike, and find that inspiration stirring me to stop on the path, and make notes in my phone.
Is it like that for you? It is often that way for me.
Anyway, at this time, I have planned another installment on sensitivity, a piece on sociology, and, hm, ah yes, a post on wonder. That’s what I have for now anyway. The poetry, you ask? Good question.
You know that works a little differently than the other things I choose to write about. Well, sort of.
With poetry, I usually see something that inspires me, and then from that derive a concept and then write. So, in a way the process is similar to my other writing, and yet feels a little different.
Lastly, I wanted to acknowledge just how hard this year has been for everyone. Really. It has been.
Yet, I also want to acknowledge the resiliency of the human spirit. Very resilient. Much more resilient than people imagine. And, it is beautiful to be a part of and to witness.
I have found and read so many inspirational stories this year. Please know that you are all inspirational to me. All of you.
Though life has been extraordinarily hard this year, and, well, looks like it will continue to be, at least from a pandemic perspective, for some time; know that you are bringing people hope and joy each and every day by writing as you do. Just as you are and as you do. Wonderful.
I’ve laughed and teared more at my computer screen these past few months than at any other time in my life. And, I’m not young. Ha!
Right. Well, it is about time to wrap up this installment. Yet, before I do, let me leave you with two quotes I adore from two very inspirational people. Here you go.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” ― Helen Keller
Right, so I was getting ready to write this post about something totally different. Namely, about Medium, the writing I’m working on this week, and one or two other topics. And, then?
Well, it occurred to me that I’ve not written about COVID-19 in a while, and I wanted to return, as if I’d ever really left, to the pandemic to discuss what some people are talking about, and some are not. Why? It’s hard.
Breakdowns, breakthroughs, and our emotional self. Hm. Alright, stay with me.
Because destigmatizing breakdowns is important. They happen to us all. Really. Even if we don’t have access to the language to know that we are in an emotional breakdown, for instance, they happen. And?
Acknowledging and accepting our breakdowns is important to fully understand what’s happening within ourselves; and, to get to that insight delivered via breakthrough that will come on the other side of our breakdown.
Example? Sure. It’s very present for me.
In conversation with the team yesterday, well, some of the team, I received feedback that I didn’t see coming. Not at all. And?
Well, the feedback was excellent, and was timely and needed, yet the due date for the work that is affected by this new information is this week.
Right, so I went into breakdown, and stayed there for a couple of hours. What did this look like? Well, it looked like I was doing the rest of my day, driving to physical therapy, then to the store, then finally home.
When I got home?
Well, I showered, and then sat for my evening meditation. And? On the other side of my meditation, many insights occurred, which I captured for the following morning, this morning, in fact. And?
Well, getting back into the conversation this morning with new insight, a new perspective, and an additional colleague created a new way forward.
Yep. Did I see that possibility while I was in breakdown last night? Nope, not at all.
Yet, the more breakdowns and breakthroughs I go through, the more inner-knowing I have that an insight, or a combination of insights and perspectives, will deliver a solution to the issue.
Meaning that, yes, the changes that will need to be made will take time and coordination, yet there is workability. There is a way forward. And, there always is.
And, when we are in breakdown, we can’t always see these possibilities. And, that’s okay. Yes, scary at times, yet perfectly normal.
That, for me anyway, is the essence of a breakdown. Being unable to see far enough, due to my entanglement, in those moments, within my own self.
Being in touch with our emotional self has never been more important than it is today.
The pandemic has ushered in many more unknowns. Really. Many more unknowns for all of us. Personally, familially, organizationally, nationally, culturally, at every level. Every level.
Tonight I am very present to the beauty in accepting and being with my breakdowns as they occur. Staying with them, going inside of myself to see what’s there, and to the knowing that insights will come. They always do.
When you are feeling overwhelmed and a breakdown is imminent, remember, you are not alone. They happen to us all, and in the long run they are beneficial.
They simply mean you are growing as a human being. Growing into yourself, through yourself. Beautiful.
I’ve written several posts about the fact that human beings develop narratives about what they know, what they see, and what they are told. All of us do. We are natural storytellers, and meaning makers. It is how we make sense of the world. However, there is an issue here. Can you see it?
As we create stories about our reality, about what we believe to be true about the world, we can get stuck inside of faulty thinking. And, inside of this faulty thinking, we can begin to create realities, which are not really real. Yep, it’s true.
Right now, on the west coast of the United States we have a raging wildfire issue. At this same time, we are living in a pandemic, and have people all across the country in the streets, like they have been in Portland, OR, for months, protesting against systematic and institutional racism. The issue with the latter, of course, is not the protesting, it is the fact that systematic and institutional racism still exists.
Okay, what’s the issue with these issues, you ask? Hm. Let me explain it this way. Here you go.
Connecting Disparate Events and Situations
I’ve talked to several people this past week that are connecting these disparate events, creating stories about the compound effect of this year. However, these issues, while severe and highly problematic, are not connected. They are separate, and are just happening.
Because we are storytellers and meaning-makers we create something more out of what is happening than is really happening. We make these connections. That we do this is not a judgment or a demerit. It is how we are programmed.
However, it doesn’t help our mental health when we connect disparate events. Why? Because when we do, we can go into overwhelm more easily, and start blaming these situations on other people, and, yes, even ourselves. It happens all the time.
Think about a time when you failed a test, or didn’t get a job; and, in that same week or during that same timeframe, a friend or coworker upset you, and then a family member did something you didn’t expect, which also upset you. Well, did you pull these events apart, or did you rather, like most humans, connect them? Important distinction.
If you did connect them, you are not a problem. You are human.
Understanding that our brains work this way instantly creates a new awareness, which can be used to our advantage. How? By understanding that when events happen, they just happen.
We may not like them, or understand them, however, that is part of life. And, these events that just happen are not connected to each other. They are separate.
When we fully grasp this, we have more power over our reality and our life. How? Hm, okay. Here are 5 ways you can create more power over your reality by understanding that disparate events are just that, disparate.
5 Ways to Create More Power Over Your Reality
Notice when you are making connections between events that are disconnected – the first step is always to create more awareness about how our mind works. Knowing that all human beings are storytellers and meaning-makers instantly creates a new awareness. Now that this awareness is there, notice when you are making connections between disparate events. Just notice.
Pull those events apart, separate them – when you start to create stories about your reality, which include connecting events or pieces of information that are disconnected, you can pull them apart. Separate them, and leave them that way. More power.
Reorient yourself to the current reality – now that these events, situations, and or information have been separated, you can reorient yourself to the reality as it is, instead of the reality you’ve been creating. Be with that reality, connect with it, really see it as it is.
Notice the difference in how you feel – as you practice noticing your mind and how the mind connects disparate events and information, notice how you feel. How do you feel when you have the power to pull those events apart? Empowered, maybe? Excellent. If you don’t feel empowered right away, don’t worry, keep practicing.
Repeat – building healthy habits, as has been aforementioned, takes practice. Humans also like patterns, or habits, so continue to practice noticing. It takes time. Know though that the only way to become experienced in this practice, like anything, takes doing it again and again. There is no one way, and there is not right and wrong. There is just doing. Again, and again, and again. And, you will get better at it.
There we go. Now what?
Well, if you are so inclined to do so, practice. If not, that’s okay. What I can say is that there was a time when I suffered from terrible anxiety. Much of my anxiety had to do with the stories in my head, which were, of course, not really real.
They were created through habitual thinking. Through connecting disparate events about the world, myself in the world, and about information contained in my head.
You do have a choice. Today, right now. You can choose a different path. One with more power, and empowerment. It takes time. Yet, anything worthwhile always does.
I feel like each week I write the words, phew, what a busy week. Well, this week was no different than the previous. Phew, busy, busy, busy.
Open registration began this past week, and our enrollments are up from the past two terms, which is exciting. As I’ve written about in previous posts, COVID-19 has made creating and delivering experiential classes, workshops, and training, precarious.
Yet, we’ve persisted, and not resisted; and have over 150 remote classes on offer this fall term. Pretty cool.
This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon the need for adequate sleep. Yes, sleep. Really. I’ve spent the past 20 years being a, well, not very good sleeper. Yet, I’m getting better.
And, adequate sleep is needed more now than ever. More than ever.
How do you sleep?
One insight into sleeping adequately I’ve had the past two weeks is this: when you’re sleepy, sleep. Often, I think we resist. I did, for many years. Not helpful. Sleep when you are tired.
Last Saturday, I opened up my medium account, and an article of mine had been curated. 100 submissions, and a first curation. Pretty cool.
Why is understanding the world as a system important? Hm. Well, if you consider all that you know, feel, and see as unrelated, it feels precarious. Like we are sort of floating around, devoid of any relation to each other, and all that we see, feel, and know.
If we, however, consider the world, and all that we know, feel, and see as a connected system, it provides a grounding of sorts.
Now let’s consider confusion and clarity as a system using the system we used to consider change. Ready? Let’s go.
First, let’s redefine our system of change, and the related parts. It looks like this.
Alright, now let’s take a look at confusion and clarity within this same system. It looks like this.
Alright, there we go. Now, as we did with change as a system of related parts, let’s go through each of these.
Order and Clarity
When things are ordered we feel a sense of clarity. When they are not, we don’t. What does it really mean to have clarity?
Let’s define clarity.
the quality of being expressed clearly
a lack of clarity in the law
The brilliant clarity of his argument could not be disputed.AWL Collocations
the ability to think about or understand something clearly
clarity of thought/purpose/vision.
There we go.
Now, if the external world is occurring in a way that makes sense to us internally, we can say that we have some sense of clarity. And yes, clarity, like most things, lives along a continuum. Meaning that some people have more clarity, and some less.
There are, of course, other internal factors that contribute to our sense of clarity. What are those? How we eat and drink, and how we exercise and sleep are very important in the clarity department.
As we can see then, there are two ways to think about clarity and order. That which we see as ordered externally, and that which we feel as ordered internally.
Either way, when a change occurs externally or internally, it can disrupt our clarity, and cause disorder. What kind of change? Any change really. However, the larger the change is, the more disorder we will know, feel, and see. And, the more subtle the change, the less disorder.
Know that there is always change. Sometimes the change is so small we don’t actually notice it. However, when the change is large, like COVID-19, we definitely notice.
Disorder and Confusion
When there is a large change, there will be lots of disorder, both external and internal. The level of disorder and the confusion that follows will depend on your particular context. Meaning, how much you are affected by the change.
Now, let’s define confusion.
noun /kənˈfjuːʒn/ /kənˈfjuːʒn/
[uncountable, countable] a state of not being certain about what is happening, what you should do, what something means, etc.
The announcement caused a lot of confusion.
With a change like COVID-19 the level of external change for everyone has been high. However, the level of change still lives along a continuum. For instance, if you work in the medical field, your level of change is very high.
Likewise, if you are a small business owner, very high as well. Depends on what you do, where you live, and how much the change is impacting you and your life.
The higher the external change, the more disorder and confusion you may know, feel, and see. However, the level of disorder and confusion is directly correlated to the amount of internal disorder and confusion you feel.
If, for instance, you have high levels of resilience, you may feel less disorder and confusion than someone with lower levels of resilience.
Therefore, someone with higher levels of resilience will begin reordering their life and perspective more quickly than someone with lower levels. Important.
Because clarity and confusion are a relatable system, we know that disorder and confusion will eventually stabilize for everyone. Because human beings are resilient, we are always reordering that which we know to be true about the world, even when we are unaware of doing so.
Reorder and Translate
As we begin to reorder our perspective and lives, we essentially take the new information (due to the change we’ve experienced), and translate it into chunks of information that fit into our worldview.
We then assimilate the new information into what we know, feel, and see. We, in essence, make the change we’ve experienced, or are experiencing, “normal.”
Meaning that we shift what we know, feel, and see to ensure they are conducive to our new reality.
There is always the possibility of resistance. Of course, this also happens. Yet, to survive any change, we must, at some point, begin to reorder and translate our new reality into something we can understand. Something we can understand and ultimately thrive through.
Yet, like all concepts we’ve discussed, thriving also lives along a continuum. Meaning that some people will thrive more during change, and others less so.
There is also a correlation between thriving and resilience. Therefore, the higher your levels of resilience, the more likely you are to thrive during change.
And, guess what? Just as we reorder our internal and external realities to thrive during the present change, another change happens, and the confusion to clarity system begins anew again. Yep.
Again, with smaller changes, we may not be aware of traveling through the system from clarity to confusion, and back again. Depends on our level of awareness, how observant we are, and how sensitive we are to change.
Order and Clarity
Back in an ordered world, both externally and internally, we have more clarity. We know, feel, and see more clarity. We’ve done the work necessary, whether we are aware or not, of moving ourselves through a relatable system from clarity through confusion and back to clarity. Phew.
Imagine that this system happens over and over and over again. Again and again, all the time. Anytime we face a change, no matter how small or how large.
Of course, as was aforementioned, the larger the change, the more we are aware of moving from clarity through confusion, and back to clarity.
Why is it important to understand confusion and clarity as a relatable system?
Well, confusion can be scary. When COVID-19 began to take hold here locally, I was very confused. I remember being at work, sometime around March 12, and saying or thinking, not sure which, something like, nah, they won’t close the college. Phew, little could I have imagined what was about to occur.
It is important to understand our own confusion, where it comes from, and why we have it when we do.
Likewise, understanding confusion and clarity as a system can reduce anxiety and fear of the unknown inside of larger changes, like the pandemic.
Knowing that we will eventually work ourselves back to order and clarity is important. We must know, however, that confusion will come again. It has to. The world is full of chaos and confusion.
We believe the world is ordered and stable. Well, philosophically that is not so. And, it is also not practically so. Both.
If anyone you know has ever argued against the last statement, ask them now. COVID-19 has shown everyone that the world they know, feel, and see as stable and constant is not constant and stable. Constancy and stability are an illusion.
The world is chaotic and unstable. Yet, remember, change, like clarity, comes and goes, just like everything else on this planet. Including us.