Tuesday, May 05, 2009

day two.


Familiarity gets a bad rap because it always seems to be linked to the idea that it breeds contempt. I agree that if one nestles into the comfort of all that is familiar, the air gets stale .... life becomes banal. Too common .... too routine and life begins to feel threadbare worn. However if one is going through many changes and they trip up against one another, a sprinkling of familiarity helps maintain the confidence to gingerly take the necessary steps through the transition process. Of course, it has to be the good pace of familiar and not the bad tasting remnants of the past. And when its good, it feels like slipping back into a canoe knowing how to find my balance........while I take the first few strokes.

Humans have a tendancy of holding onto what they know even if it is toxic rather than letting go and moving on. We lose our nerve to take a risk on something new, fresh and perhaps unknown even when we are pushed off the cliff without our approval. Change shakes and shatters. It has the capability of rocking our foundations like an earthquake can split the ground open.

Change is the humanquake.......leaving us feeling splintered and split until we can regroup, reflect and respect the fact that life spins forward on an axis we often have no control over. Familiar traditions, the stories, their history, and the multitude of experiences we have had to live through all act as a way of grounding in order to cope with the changes. Transitions, the internal process leading to transformation, are helped along if there are familiar threads which reassure the person of their own wholeness.

I guess it comes down to how we utilize familiarity that matters. If we allow ourselves to be pulled into the timeworn comfort of it ... fearful of change, fearful of taking a risk, we will remain stuck and asleep as life passes by. To me, this seems comparable to choosing death instead of living. Boredom is a tranquilizer. On the other hand, we can summon our resources and resiliency when faced with change. If we see the possiblities that transitions are spiritually and emotionally transformative and can lead to tremendous growth, we can expand our learning experience by bringing along our own basket of familiar gifts and knowledge.

Today, I found myself pondering this as I realized I was in a new work setting and on a new team with no clear picture yet of where I will fit in ..... but was clearly not in a completely foreign territory. The type of work is an extension of what I have done in the past, though in a different milieu. Many of the faces are people I have worked with in the past though in different scenarios. Both helped.... a lot. The "newness" of the situation coupled with the jolt of being thrown into the change are buffered by the positive reinforcement of familiarity. Whether I feel a sense of transformative growth in this environment is still unknown. But, what I do feel will happen is that I will eventually find my place of belonging as I learn the ropes.

And if all else fails? If familiarity begins to choke in contempt or if the changes just don't turn my crank and the awareness gleaned through the transition isn't what it appears to be? Then I can get back in that well travelled canoe and paddle on. There are always new inlets to discover.

8 comments:

theperceptionpoint said...

you write beautifully, and your words just resonate with the paradox of being human!

Awareness said...

Perceptionpoint...welcome. I think you may have offered me a working title. thank you.

Gypsy said...

I must admit starting a new job is definitely the one thing that really shakes my foundations. I hate that feeling of being "out of sorts" and floundering in unfamiliar territory.

You'll be fine Dana and I hope you can make a difference just as you did in your last position. The people who really need you will love you and after all, they are the really important ones.

urbanmonk said...

Took me a long time to let go of something toxic and move on, and it seemed to lead me into something more toxic, but you never know what you can do until you push the canoe out into open water huh:)

Awareness said...

Gypsy...it truly has been an easy transition because the work is familiar and my new colleagues were all housed under the same roof with my old colleagues only a year ago. This isn't a permanent gig though....nothing is really. So, we'll just have to play it all alertly. :)

Monk...i think that's the case with most people don't you? WE fall into patterns which are designed by past relationships and experiences. I had a very tough time letting go of the toxicity I had to work under for two years...this past winter after finally pulling out of it physically, I was still hurting emotionally and could SEE how my decisions were being affected by the lack of trust I had built up.
This move is more of a blessing than a curse. I have slept through the night for the past week....the first time in months.

Mariana Soffer said...

completely agree that it would be the same like to choose death
Routing, monotony, nothing happening, always have freaked me out

here is something I once wrote about it:

A reverence for not escaping
My biggest fear always was becoming a middle class person who
is completely indifferent, not being affected by anything.
Felling nothing. Existing without either suffering or joy.
Not caring whether becoming an accountant, a musician, a
policeman, a scientists, or whatever. No aspirations. No
interests. Without a reason for getting out of bed or stop
watching TV. Not needing to fight to survive. Unable to find
any reason for pursuing any goal. Being a living dead.

Awareness said...

Mariana...you captured it wonderfully. it is very frightening to me to be that asleep that i wouldn't care enough to live with my eyes open. thank you for sharing your thoughts here.

Mariana Soffer said...

Thanks to you. I know how it is, just do this, Don one thing a day you really enjoy,