Today is a changing day in America

Today is Inauguration Day 2017. U.S. citizens have been clamoring for change for decades. Today that wish comes true. Donald Trump, a man determined to make big changes, becomes our president today. I hear that many Obama followers, also seeking change, voted Trump. Interesting.

Have you ever wanted change, either for yourself, with a partner or in your community? This article is about change. I present ideas that you may not have considered. I hope they will bring you comfort. And if not comfort, at least a new perspective.

I was inspired to write this article by the photo above. It is such a powerful image depicting the experience of the change process that I wanted to use it as example. Change is never easy. (Photo attribution: http://mkpusa.org/coaching/)

Change is not For the Faint of Heart

I have worked with, and lived through, major upheavals most of my life. I am acutely aware of how they work. Change starts with a breaking apart. Slowly at first, followed by a big shattering as the old way of doing things crumbles. This is required. The old cannot be formed into something new without it first breaking apart. There is no other way. It has to dissolve so it can evolve. This is terrifying—somewhat like being caught in an emotional earthquake—even the ground moves. Scary as it is, the design of an upheaval is absolutely intentional.

Along with the breaking apart comes the figurative strong winds that blow away the chaff—the dead, the lifeless, anything no longer needed. Humans aren’t great about getting rid of stuff we no longer need, whether it’s one of our possessions, a person, or a way of behaving. Upheavals are required to keep our personal lives, our relationships, and yes, our country, strong and vital. Breaking apart, strong winds, and often fire is what keeps our Colorado forests vital. An apt metaphor.

Could it Be Good?

Like most of us, I am sensitive enough to “feel” the changes in the air that Trump’s presidency will bring, and is bringing even now. If I weren’t such a big picture person I would be far more alarmed than I am. Instead I am extremely curious about this “voice” in our national “system” that continues to scream for change. (As a systems coach I am trained to listen to “what is wanting to happen” whether it is a marriage, family, business, or country.) What if, just what if, the entity that is our country is itself screaming for change using the mouths of these voters to express? In marriage, the third entity of a relationship speaks all the time using the voice of each partner. Is it possible our country has been telling us all along what it needs and wants and we haven’t been listening?

I enjoy documentaries from time to time. Nearly all are summarized the same way, “We cannot continue like this.” “This is unsustainable.” The summary is the same whether it’s about the oceans, deserts, education, bees, banking, insurance, energy, environment, families … you name it. These old institutions are no longer sustainable. Something has to shift. Is our country, perhaps even our planet screaming for change?

If That Is True

If it is true that our nation is itself screaming for change, then Donald Trump is the perfect person for the job. (Hold on. Don’t throw the tomatoes just yet.) He’s bullheaded. He cares little about what people think of him. He is bent on making change no matter the cost or consequences. Maybe it isn’t an accident that he is in the Whitehouse.

Remember that the old has to break apart in order to re-form. We are already feeling the breaking apart of the old. We don’t like it. It’s scary. We have no idea what will be required of us as we go through it. We have no idea what it will look like on the other side. But one thing is for certain…we are headed straight for change. Ready or not we are heading into the upheaval. Hang on to your hats…and for pete’s sake, can we just be kind to each other while we’re on this ride?

The Second Stage of an Upheaval

The second stage of an upheaval is taking stock. It is reversing the identity crisis experienced in the breaking apart by reclaiming identity. What has survived the shaking? What is still standing? What else is here? Who am I? What do I stand for? I’ve experienced enough upheavals to know that those horrendous winds bring in new energy, new life, and new perspectives that could have come no other way. Life is more meaningful. Whether that will happen in our nation is yet to be seen. But why wouldn’t it? It is the nature of upheaval.