There are times, in the evolution of one’s work and life, when the yearning for change needles and nudges us, quietly, in the background, perhaps, until something wakes us up.
I was about to be woke, that autumn morning, striding through the meadow’s tall grasses, breathing the mountain air with maskless abandon, when a hawk swooped down before me, hooked beak and striated brown and white wing, so close I could feel the air shift.
Simplicity and freedom, my lips mouthed, heart thumping in my chest, as I watched the hawk glide upward on a gust of breeze and vanish into a stand of trees.
The hawk was gone; but its image, its symbol lingered in my head. As a professional change agent, I try to pay attention to signs like these -- and help my clients do so too.
SeeChange Rule #1: Pay attention to the messages. These are the doors – they crack open and invite you into a place of possibility. If you let them. If you’re ready.
I was so ready. By then it had been almost nine trying months in pandemic lockdown. Election day loomed. My amygdala was in constant hijack mode – I know I wasn't the only one -- panic attacks, sleepless nights, difficulty focusing.
Simplicity and freedom?
That hawk was telling me to get out of DC, and fast. After 22 years in my Mount Pleasant rowhouse, I was gunning to sell and go – quick, before the city went up in flames. I felt desperate to escape. Fear was my driver. My sleeplessness only worsened.
One Friday night, two friends intervened. Thank Goddess for friends.
SeeChange Rule #2: Change is not a solo sport; enlist support.
Seated at my dining table, the accountant friend warned of tax implications and flashed her depreciation schedules. The writer friend came at it from a different angle. Closing her eyes to take-in the vibe, she announced. “You cannot sell this house, ever. Good ghosts live here; they don’t want you to go.” She opened one eye to the flickering candlelight. “They’d be okay if you rent,” she winked.
I chuckled with relief. Yes, I wanted freedom. But I had a strong attachment to home: my 1910 rowhouse was my sanctuary, my business headquarters, an old, solid friend. Cutting the cord completely felt scary. It’s a big world out there. I had no idea where I was going to next. Not to mention the risks of wandering the world in the midst of a pandemic.
I could not ignore the hawk. But I needed to dig deeper, to follow my own coachly advice.
SeeChange Rule #3: Honor the transition. Transitions are the bridge between one ending and a new beginning.
I began vision-boarding, freewriting, and brainstorming with friends and my own therapist-coaches. Over time, the truth got clearer in my heart and mind: I’ll take a yearlong sabbatical, out of DC, for writing and adventure.
Instead of giving up my current life for good, I wanted space to explore. I pictured myself: On the road, in touch with nature, I discover new vistas, make new connections, and explore the creativity, peace, and freedom within me.
You know it when it’s right: it’s usually REAL simple. You feel a smile spread inside you. And when you share it with gusto, others smile back – maybe they hoot.
It took five months, from the hawk citing, to get to this place – to be ready and clear-enough to share my change with YOU.
SeeChange Rule #4: Change takes time; it doesn’t happen on a dime.
Now in planning mode, flipcharts paper my walls. I have a million decisions to make to clear out the past and move into the future. It’s overwhelming. To keep from hyperventilating, I have to come back to my original mantra: simplicity and freedom.
I can make this process complicated and constricting – a natural tendency that will keep me stuck in the status quo. Or I can begin living into the change NOW.
How about YOUR change? What’s brewing for you?
I may be hitting the road, but I am just an email or Zoom call away. My door is ALWAYS open to changemakers, shapeshifters, and reinventers.
Whee-ohh, let change begin!
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