Stories from the Sanctuary

Vol. 5: January 2008

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Using Nature as a Guide to Change

by Victoria FittsMilgrim, Professional Certified Coach & Retreat Leader

The holidays are over.  It’s time to get back on the Hamster Wheel, the daily borage of more to do to keep up in our information society.  How are you surviving our world of ‘All-At-Once-ness’?  This word, coined by Marshall McLuhan in 1967, describes the world where “information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously, sometimes overwhelming us.”  How does it affect you?  Are you in “Future Shock”?

Back in 1970, Alvin Toffler used this phrase, Future Shock, to mean ‘shattering stress or disorientation of being subjected to too much change in a short time.”  Today, at the beginning of 2008, almost 40 years later, I notice how deeply this way of living has taken over the world.

And even though we have a sense of what’s happening, how often do you ask yourself, Why can’t I do it all?  How come everyone else can manage or cope?  Am I losing it?

The bottom line is: Change is the only consistent thing around us.  You can count on it never going away.  And so, how will you handle it?  What’s your strategy for living in this hamster-wheel world?

There are many ways to cope.  One of my personal favorites, modeled for me growing up, was what I call the Scarlett O’Hara Strategy for dealing with Change.  You remember the movie, Gone with the Wind?  Scarlett’s had her umpteen disappointment, this time from Rhett leaving her with the phrase ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”.  She tells herself, ‘I’ll think about it tomorrow’ – which will work briefly but which mainly is pure denial.  Off the hook for now.  Innocent, but powerless.

It’s hard to embrace change in our culture because it’s so predicated on ‘knowing’.  There’s very little support or room for saying ‘I don’t know’.  We get rewarded for knowing – and knowing now.

So how do you go through learning and changing?  What can support you as you enter this time of change – where you’re in between ignorance and knowledge?

I like to turn to the natural world.  Nature models change subtly and constantly.  For millennium we used to follow the seasons and pay attention to how things grew and adapted.  There was the bigger perspective of Time – a wider picture of Time.  It was not the ‘All-At-0nce-ness’ that we’re faced with today.

Included in this is the inscrutable quality of Mystery as well.  Whether in nature or in ourselves when we devote ourselves to new growth there are subtle changes that occur that we often overlook.  The ‘too close to the forest to see the trees’ metaphor.  In the garden, if you watch each day, it may appear as if things aren’t growing.  Yet deeper looking reveals they are – the tiny shoot that is emerging, the new buds opening on the branch… it’s Mystery in action.  Our own structure too can be shifting, almost at a cellular level, and without consciously looking – peering in our own mirror – it will be missed.  I can truly speak to this from my experience training as a coach.  When I began I had qualities that were already in place but many new tools and techniques had to be learned.  Oh boy - it wasn’t always a pretty picture!  One of the greatest gifts of the process was learning to give myself the compassion and time I often gave others so easily.  Using traditional philosophies based in the natural world gave me a place to locate myself when I felt lost.  Eight years later I have incorporated many tools and in the process changed who I am.

Could I see it clearly as I went along?  Not always.  But having a coach alongside me as a guide to looking in my own mirror helped me remember it was a process, a journey.  And with this reminder, I could continue moving forward towards my Vision.

As you step into your own change and growth this year, how can you use the wisdom of nature to make this personal passage one you can fully embrace?

Need Support?  Let’s talk about the possibilities available from True Life Coaching.

 

VFM-sweaterVictoria FittsMilgrim, PCC directs True Life Coaching & Retreats in Durango, CO. With over 25 years in the field of personal transformation she has been a Certified Coach/Retreat Leader since 2002. Her coaching and retreats offer a safe, loving and fun environment to come home to your True Self. Whether working with Victoria via 1:1 coaching, group coaching, taking one of her unique, nature-based retreats, or her Authentic Leadership programs, she is the real deal when it comes to sustainable and positive personal change.

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