Change is the natural process of life, and in nature it always starts small. A seed. An acorn. Kittens. In nature, the process continually transforms a tiny thing into whatever it is designed to be as long as there is energy available. Seeds into pumpkins. Acorns into oaks. Kittens into furry ambassadors of love. Energy is key, as it is in the intangible - but still completely natural - process that is psychological/emotional growth. As human beings we have the unique capacity to deny change at the same time it is happening and put off actionable change that nature or just good common sense indicates is necessary. We can stop dead as if at a red light, freezing in fear or denial, throwing up psychological roadblocks to the natural flow of creative energy that drives transformation. Stagnant energy turns into anxiety, which amplifies the scary voices in our head and can distort our perception so much that even small things seem unmanageable. So we wait.
|by Jude Treder-Wolff, LCSW, RMT, CGP|
We tend to think the creative, gutsy changes that will redirect our lives must wait for storms to pass, or for the sun to shine into our dark night of the soul, or for that magical day when we finally feel worthy or confident or, at long last, lucky. We wait to be rescued, or redeemed. It may seem that our circumstances are too difficult, life is too painful and stress-filled, or we are just too tired for the discipline required for self-awareness. The pressures to which we have become accustomed and expectations of others – both living and those long past caring - that we have allowed to shape our choices spike our sense that internal opposition to change is likely to exhaust and overwhelm us.
But all of human history says that the way to the happiness and freedom we seek lies not beyond our difficulties, but within them. Once we call upon the internal “enzyme” that drives change—our creative self—we are on a new path. Every creative choice, every step into uncertainty and not-knowing strengthens the psychological “muscle” to determine our own attitude and define the roles we choose to take in life. From that intangible strength within, we may discover novel approaches to the problems that face us. Ideas come in from nowhere, or anywhere, but they come and lead onto other ideas. A shift in consciousness will certainly bring about change within us, and there is always the potential, no matter how remote, that it can bring about a radical change in our circumstances.
Jude Treder-Wolff is a writer/performer, singer and creative arts psychotherapist. She is host of (mostly) TRUE THINGS-Long Island's first local storytelling slam.