This New Year I didn’t make any resolutions. Obviously as a life and career coach I have thought a fair bit about the things I’d like to see in 2012 but I didn’t do resolutions. Then on January 1st two lovely friends came and helped me change my website, something I definitely had in mind to do. What was so remarkable was how effortless it was. My role was simply to say what I wanted and then accept it happening with gratitude, that and supply tea and a few passwords. It reminded me again that change doesn’t have to be a battle of wills the ‘new you’ trying to change direction and the ‘old you’ clinging on to all that was good about how things were.
It is a well-known post January fact that the resolutions that help propel us in to the New Year can fairly swiftly leave us slumped on the see-saw of change. On New Year’s Eve we are crouched low on the metaphorical see-saw scheming how to be the person balanced in the air. Some leg-strengthening exercises ensue with the new year and the practice pushes. Then, we launch ourselves into our hoped for ideal state only to come crashing down. What we fail to notice is that if it is just us and our will power it is going to be hard work. We won’t be up there for long before we come down with a bump.
Change that is going to stick without having to apply tyrannical effort involves more than a smart decision and some excellently applied will. This is where the permaculture approach comes in.
I am no expert in permaculture but I like the idea that instead of imposing an ideal of the perfect garden and constantly battling with the weeds and pests that undermine it, we spend time understanding what will naturally grow there in abundance. The focus shifts from labour to understanding. Apply this to ourselves and the glorious energy of determination is re-directed towards knowing and cultivating our unique qualities. The opportunity here is to risk being fully aware of who we are now and when we are really in our element. Change becomes about being more yourself and creating the environment where you flourish not battling against yourself.
How does this work in practice? For me giving up smoking was the first time the permaculture method of change hit home. Non-smoking stopped being a battle whenI finally let myself notice that smoking didn’t suit me. It made me feel poorly, dizzy, nauseous and I looked rather grey around the gills. That and I was irratated by the cravings.
How did I get there? The great paradox of change, slowing down, ignoring the inner critic that told me I was a rubbish non-smoker and wanted to bully me with self-recriminations. Instead, by using the gift of my senses I became starkly alive to all the things about smoking that my body just didn’t actually like.
Finding your element, the place where you flourish is like the ugly duckling to swan moment. However, unlike the fleeing lost swan who just chances upon her tribe the permiculture approach to change involves increased knowledge and awareness of you and your environment.
There are many ways and opportunities to do this. Nature is in a process of always trying to find its optimum equilibrium. Left to its own devices it creates a ‘climax eco system’ with great bi-diversity and profound relationships of inter-dependence between species. As part of nature we have this potential too.
I see this potential as being about our relationship with the different aspects of ourselves as well as our relationships with those around us. So for example you may have learnt over the years to weed out the ‘risk-taker’ in you. Playing safe may have become your modus operandum with all your energy put into keeping things that way. But, stretching beyond your comfort zone may be exactly what you need now to release some energy back for the landscape that fits you so much better.
I’d love to hear your thoughts please feel free to comment or, if you want to find out more about co-creationcoaching and how this approach could work for you contact me to arrange a free consultation.