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Winds of Change

All things change. We know this inherently, even though we try to deny it. Sometimes these winds are gentle breezes stirring our hair and cooling our skin. Other times it seems there is no wind at all. Things are changing, but only under the surface. Then there are times when the wind comes in like a hurricane.

Generally speaking though, these changes are not very interesting. After all, if a tree falls in the forest and you are not there to hear it, will it make the Starbuck’s Drive-Thru line move any faster?

What is interesting however, is how each of us responds to said change. For all the many people in the world, we all seem to fall into a fairly small set of groups. First there are the “Rocks.” These people hunker down and try pretending the change is not real, or at least, it does not matter to them. However, change does happen, even to rocks. Moss grows on them and they split and crack. In the end, they do change and those changes are destructive and irreversible.

Then there are those who “Roll with the Punches.” These people are constantly in motion, ducking and dodging, convinced they have a master plan and are beating the odds. Of course, most maintain this myth only by steadfastly refusing to do the math.

Finally, there is the will-o-the-wisp. Always blown hither and yon in a manner often defying logic or reasonable explanation. While these folks confound those who surround them, they none the less seem to smile more than most.

Today, we sit watching the hurricane approach. In my case both literally and figuratively as Hurricane Eta works its way inland. The other hurricane, COVID-19 started months ago and my job stood against it like a grass hut on the beach.

Times change…

There were many possible responses for me, but they all pretty much fit into one of the categories above and like Goldilocks, I tried each one, finding none of them much to my liking.
First came the rock. Surely, none of this would affect me and if it does, it certainly will not last. I can just wait it out…

Next I decided to roll with the punches for surely this was actually an opportunity in disguise. I would leverage this moment and in the end, sit sipping sweet lemonade made from all the lemons life had just given me…

And now, will-o-the-wisp, though neither by design nor intent. As each plan fell apart, as the hurricane got one punch after another past my guard, I started to drift and flit about looking for inspiration with a bit of desperate hope.

At some point, I pulled out an old book and started reading. The title is “Islands in the Clickstream” by Richard Thieme. The article I just read was entitled, “A Nightmare in Daylight” and was originally written on 12 September, 1997 (isn’t it strange how something topical 23 years ago can again be currently relevant?). The article was about change and included the following excerpts.

We do everything we can to sustain the structures of our lives — our belief, our framework of reality — until we finally let go and move into a new possibility. That moment has been in the process of arriving for a long time, but it often seems to happen suddenly, like a ripening pear coming off its stem at a touch.

The system, whether an individual or a culture, must come to the end of itself. Things fall apart. There is a moment of freefall during which one literally does not know if things will come together again. Everything we believed true is called into question. Then everything coalesces at a higher level of organization around a new center.

I purchased this book in 2004 because it seemed relevant to me at the time. It introduced me to another world. Unfortunately [perhaps] I peeked into that world, then took a step back. There are many routes I can take. The diversity of my career has opened those doors. But rather than hold on to what I have, I have recently started thinking my best course of action is to just let go, ride the winds with Dorothy, and see where I land.

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Winds of Change

by Robert time to read: 3 min