TRANSFORMATION AND CHANGE
The only certainty in this life is that it is constantly changing and evolving. We move through different phases of life from birth to death. The seasons change annually, the Moon cycles monthly, the Sun rises and sets each day.
Sometimes we invite transformation into our lives, we are ready, willing and open. Other times, change is thrust upon us, like it or not, and we are resistant, frustrated and fearful. Whether we embrace change or fight against it, it will happen. If we can learn from each shift, each evolvement, along the way, then we become familiar with the signs that something is about to be different. Eventually we can come to embrace change for the opportunity it gives us to know ourselves more deeply than before.
Transformation comes in packages big and small, both neatly wrapped and falling apart. It can be delivered to us gently or dropped roughly at out feet. It arrives at the front door when we're expecting it or it can show up unwelcome and unannounced. However change comes to you and whatever that transformation will mean for your life, know that it is meant for you. It is not a mistake.
Whether we actively seek to create transformation in ourselves and in our lives, or we feel that change has been forced upon us, there are six stages that we move through. These are known as the Change Spiral or the Prochaska Motivation Model.
We are happy where we are. We have no desire or intention to change anything in this stage. This is when we can blissfully ignore any signs that change is coming. We resist even having to think about change, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.
We have become aware that something needs to shift or change. Maybe this is a behaviour or habit, or something in our work or home environment. We have acknowledged that a need for change exists, but we have not committed to any plan or action. We are simply thinking it over at this stage. Willing to look at it, but not willing to put any effort behind it. If the change was uninvited or we’re just not ready for it yet, we can easily move back into the Pre-contemplation stage.
In this stage we are preparing to take action. We are planning, gathering materials, asking advice and setting our intention to act. Tasks and goals are being organised, we are getting ready. This will look very different depending on your personality. In this stage you are building confidence in yourself to achieve your transformation. If you are excited about the shift or transformation there will be positive energy manifesting now. If you are not looking forward to the change, then this stage will seem tedious and burdensome and it will be very easy to slide back to either of the previous stages.
It is very important to remember that a “slide back” can happen at any time, from any stage, whether you are positive about the transformation or not. Do not be hard on yourself if this happens, because it will, probably more than once. It is not a failure on your part. It is a natural tendency of human nature to take steps backwards. Use this as an opportunity to reevaluate your plan or to put it aside and rest if that is what is needed.
Here is where the transformation happens! You have thought about it, prepared for it, and now it’s time to make it happen! Whether this is a shift in your daily routine, a modification of a behaviour or habit, a change of job, moving house, entering or leaving a relationship..... whatever your transformation is, now you are taking concrete action.
This stage is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. You are making a change or transformation to yourself and your life, the outcome of which is slightly uncertain. No matter how much preparation you’ve done, the full breadth of effects, particularly long term, cannot be known. This can be exciting for some and anxiety provoking for others. Any time we make a change, big or small, it will bring up our stuff. If we are aware of this, we can use it as an opportunity to watch our reactions and gain insight into ourselves.
Now that we’ve taken action to make our change, we have to maintain it. It’s easy to shift a behaviour or habit for a few days or weeks, but in order for there to be sustained change we have to work at it. Until the new behaviour, routine or pattern has replaced the old one, we carry the possibility of sliding back into our old ways. For example, if you’ve moved house, you might find yourself unconsciously driving your old route home after a long day.
This is because of brain plasticity and how strong our neural pathways are. The more we do something, the stronger a particular neural pathway gets for that action or emotion. When we change a behaviour, routine or pattern, we must enforce the new pathway to make it stronger than the old one. This takes conscious awareness on our part and a bit of discipline.
Yes, the final stage is actually regression! It is acknowledged as its own stage because it is a natural part of transformation. As mentioned previously, we can “slide back” into any previous stage from wherever we are currently. It must be recognised that this is OK. It will happen to everyone. It may feel defeating at the time, but this is where we create our Upward Spiral.
From each relapse we are able to learn a little bit more about ourselves and how we operate. We learn about our behaviours, reactions, patterns, habits and emotions. The relapse is where we unearth the gold within ourselves to build a stronger foundation for the next transformation. Do not be afraid of failure.
We are not perfect- otherwise why would we need transformation at all? We are constantly refining ourselves, moving closer and closer with each shift towards our most authentic selves. And with each change we learn something about ourselves, we gather new tools to help us on our journey and we begin to see transformation for the gift it truly is in our life.
Many Blessings on Your Journey of Transformation!