The holy work
What are we willing to sacrifice? This is what it means to be in a true conversation about change. If we want to see our politics change, if we want to see changes in our city, if we want to see change in our relationships, all of it, requires the loss of something. We will be sacrificing something that is close to us. William and Susan Bridges talk about how when a change is made, it is the loss we fear, not the change itself. Chances are, that loss is somehow connected to our identity. It’s this that causes us to push back, to resist, to even, actively, work to sabotage real change.
Even when it is us that is making the change, and it’s something we believe in.
A great example of this is losing weight (something that I’ve got some intimate experience of). We want to do it. In fact, in some cases, we recognize that we need to do it. So we set out with a plan. How often does the plan go awry? Often, yeah? I bet a hell of a lot more diets are abandoned than are completed. I’m not talking about doing something that proves to not work. I’m talking about setting out to something, and then a part of you pushes back…and you end up destroying the plan. I’m betting that some form of this sounds familiar.
This is the thing: we want the outcome/benefits of a change. But we don’t want to do the hard work: to sacrifice the part of us that must change in order to make it happen. To lose the weight, the part of me that is attached to the weight has to die. Easier (much easier) said than done.
We say we want changes. And we often point to all of the people who have to change for it to be so. But the place it will always start is the view we have from a mirror. It all starts there. Every single time.
What are we willing to kill off? What are we willing to sacrifice. This is the holy work.