A Three-Part Journey of Positive Change: Explore, Focus, Go!
May 28, 2011 04:23PM
By Kathy Kane
What shapes our lives are the questions we ask, refuse to ask, or never think to ask.
At many points in life, we find ourselves facing change. Change can erupt from external forces or from a vague internal disquiet. It might come as an old dream lingering on the fringes of memory or buried so deep that it is only a faint tapping behind the ear. It may be a small tweak or shift in thinking, or our willingness to be reinvented. Whether it’s a small change or a BIG one, it becomes clear that we are in transition: “The old jeans just don’t fit anymore.”
The first part of the journey of positive change is about exploration. It is a time for soft focus, keeping our antennae up. It’s a time to keep ourselves open to all that is around us and pay close attention to what energizes us, noticing how we feel things in our bodies. Here are some tips to help you explore, the first phase in the journey of positive change.
- Ask small questions without expecting immediate answers. Robert Maurer, Ph.D., recommends this technique in his book One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way. Big life-changing questions elicit fear and shut down the creative process, but the brain just loves small questions: “What am I noticing today that sparks my interest?” “If I could do anything, what would it be?” Such questions engage the brain and stimulate playfulness. The answers that emerge will provoke more questions. As we remain open to the questions and answers, new ideas open up.
- Be aware of synchronicities or meaningful coincidences. Ask the small questions frequently, and pay attention to what bubbles to the surface. You will find that people show up. Newspaper or magazine articles begin to coincide with what has been on your mind. Opportunities present themselves. Don’t discount these “coincidences.” Just observe and stay open during this phase of your journey.
- Keep a journal. In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron prescribes morning pages: three pages of handwritten stream-of-consciousness jottings first thing in the morning. For those who find this a lot to do, try for just an occasional page or paragraph in which you ask your questions, record your observations, and daydream on the page. It’s a powerful exercise.
- Expose yourself to new things. Go to a lecture that catches your eye. Wander through the sections of a bookstore or library you don’t normally go to. Take a class, walk a new route, or drive a different way home. Remember what delighted you as a child. Be ruthless about keeping out of your rut.
Sit back and enjoy this leg of your journey of positive change. Feel the delight of discovery and possibility. Next month, we’ll shift gears and narrow the focus to see what destination emerges. Then, in the third and final part of this series, we will GO!
Kathy Kane is a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach® and an Amherst Writers and Artists affiliate. Connect with her at [email protected]