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Glacial Change

As you direct your energy toward cultivating mindfulness and connection in your relationships, you may find that you enjoy your life more and more.  At the same time those moments when you are reactive, arguing, or just vaguely disconnected stand out more than ever.  It's easy to feel impatient with yourself and others, knowing there is a more satisfying way to relate.

Often when you first begin to dedicate yourself to transformation through a new channel like Compassionate Communication, change is like an avalanche in your life.  Your beliefs, thinking, and behaviors change so quickly that you and those around you become disoriented.  You might find yourself scrambling to keep up with the change and inadvertantly dropping responsibilities in the process.  While avalanche change is not lacking in clarity about the magnitude, it also can create quite a mess in it's wake.

When you have been at something a while, change can begin to move at a glacial pace, you don't get the big clear feedback that an avalanche provides, but you are able to maintain some balance in the process.  

In my own process, I have identified most with avalanche kind of transformation.  If I am not careful, I can get attached to idea that "real change" is dramatic and if there are no avalanches, then I am not working hard enough.  I find I consistently need to refocus to meet slow changing patterns with compassion.  For me this involves noticing, relaxing, and reminding.

I notice the moments where I contract or distract with irritation.  This looks like holding my breath, tensing my muscles, an internal dialogue of self-criticism, or working compulsively.  These are my cues to pause and relax.

I relax by letting go of tension in the places I can let go.  Often this involves dropping my shoulders, relaxing my face, and breathing.  I can unstick muscles in the diaphragm by breathing out completely and then slowly filling with air from the bottom of my abdomen and upward and then deflating completely like a balloon, and repeating until it feels like my breath is naturally full again.

I remind myself that I am big enough to feel whatever discomfort I feel from a slow change process.  When I turn to face the discomfort with acceptance, it takes up less space.  I remind myself that the point isn't to move all the stuck places I would like to move.  The point is to greet those places with curiosity and compassion.

Consistently coming into compassionate relationship with your glacial paced change process allows energy to flow in support of your transformation as well as helping you to maintain balance with other needs and responsibilities in your life.

Take a moment now to name any place impatience is creeping in around a change you are working to create with yourself.  Take a few minutes to engage in your version of the process I named above:  notice, relax, and remind.

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1 Response

  1. Aug 31, 2012

    Wow, this really hit the spot. I have a new job and have a whole new group of people and circumstances to use NVC. I have been hard on myself because I thought I could just walk right in and be as successful there as I have been in my other relationships. The other relationships and situations were with people I knew well and in repeated situations where I had lots of opportunities for practice in the past. I mistakenly thought "now I've got it". I have been critical of myself and impatient that I was not as immediately 'successful' in my new job. I notice how I have also started to define 'success' with NVC.

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