where I occasionally share about inspiration, songwriting, screenwriting and my faith journey…
I woke up today thinking about “change agents”. Those who listen, coach, motivate, nudge, question, lead by example and otherwise encourage us to move from “broken record” to “changing my tune.”
Sometimes we happen upon them in little ways. Like seeing someone’s post about a new cookbook they’re trying out and so you decide to check it out for yourself. Sometimes you garner nuggets of advice vicariously — someone takes a class, say, and you glean a bit of juju from whatever learning they share. Sometimes you seek out your change agents. Your coaches. Your counsel.
I was reminded of such this weekend, thinking about one such change agent. About bearing witness to the listening, nudging, questioning, encouraging this person delivered upon a dear friend of mine. Gentle, yet monumental. She saw/heard something, recognized there was water built up behind a dam, so to speak, and basically asked my friend to tug the plug, and let the truth — the heart of the matter — flow. Be free, Truth!
Maybe this isn’t the best analogy. Maybe you’re envisioning a dam let loose and crazed water sweeping up everything in its path, and being so crushingly fierce it drowns everything in its wake.
Well, no — not like that. More like…… more like water streamed forth, my friend climbed into an inner-tube, and went for a glorious ride, laughing and woo-hooing on a course leading her exactly where she wanted to go. Well, okay, the course meandered a bit, and she swapped vessels here and there when the inner-tube lost air or the boat had a broken rudder…. but — the end result?? She sought — and got — what she wanted.
I woke up thinking about that kind of change agent.
Sometimes I think I have such talents and other times not. Like … I never feel as “gentle” as what is called for. I hope I’m not abrasive. But….I bet I’m blunt. I get frustrated. Far too easily, I’m afraid. And I don’t always have the best “tone”. Which, if you’re my spouse, you’ve heard my pleas for checking one’s tone. I don’t want to sound like a bully!! Or a badger! Not at all my intention…. But, I’m afraid, sometimes my blunt honesty and my impatient opinion comes out in snaps rather than calming trickles. That’s one thing if the person is actively seeking my input, but something else entirely if it’s unsolicited. Sometimes it’s better I just keep my mouth shut.
But oh my god, is that hard…… I am one of those sorts of people who, on occasion, has to say something like: “If you truly do not want my opinion, do not ask the question.”
One thing in this Fire Starter book that’s struck a chord is how, when we meet someone, we generally have a sense, a feel, a gut reaction, some sort of knowing, about if this person and you are meant to form some sort of relationship or not. Think about it — doctors, dental hygienists, churches, employers, exercise classes — just to name a few. We know. We feel, and we inherently see whether or not this is gonna be good for us .. or not. Right??
I laugh at myself because I’m generally willing to try anything once. Seriously. Especially in desperation for “fixes” or “answers”. I will stand in that doorway and have myself a listen. I will subject myself to, well, great case in point — a healer who laid a bunch of rocks on my body during his “examination” of me. What the hell?? And I’m one who doesn’t mind a little woooooo in my healing, but….. it was bizarre. But I went with it. And while I cared not one iota for this person’s prescription of “how to heal”, I was absolutely blown away by his recognition of a nagging emotional/psychological ailment of mine. Spending $$ was well worth it to be handed that little gem……
Similarly, yet much more recently, I know when to hit the brakes. I sought help, I agreed to a simple trial, but I have neither a ‘fix’ nor ‘answers’. And yet — before suggesting a visit so as to move beyond “words” to actually seeing me and laying hands on my body to get a better feel for what’s going on, the suggested-to-me next step? An MRI. Well, um, no. Wrong answer. Somewhere between rocks/woooooo and some costly sans-exam MRI lies the path I will take.
Gut feel? Yep. I just know.
So here’s a question…. why is this so difficult sometimes?? This ability — this opportunity, built-in capability, inherent sense — to be our own change agent — why is it so hard sometimes?? Why do stay broken records rather than changing our tune??
Is it a confidence thing? Is it a lack of knowing we already possess all the power we need?
Is it a fear thing?? Like…. when others push our buttons, and we know they’re pushing our buttons, and we understand why they’re pushing our buttons……like, perhaps their own agendas are more important than our feelings, for example……… is it fear holding us back from standing up for ourselves? Is it fear driving us to jump off the bridge with the crazies rather than latching onto their belt loops and pulling them gently back?? Is it fear we don’t yet possess the tools we need to forge change?? Or …. is it something else? Like, maybe, a bigger desire to Stay Put that to Move Forward? It’s easier doing the old than grasping onto the new? If we KNOW something isn’t working, why do we keep doing it??
I don’t know. I don’t have answers. Just questions. But…..I’m curious as hell.
I have to believe — I want to believe — sooner or later we will butt up against the TRUTH of the matter either often enough or hard enough that we tire of the pain of those hard knocks, and we say Enough!!!! We own up to our shortcomings. We come to some sort of understanding about a life lesson or about a past mistake — or series of mistakes — and we find the strength to set fire to it and let the ashes float away into oblivion.
Yeah, as if…….
Easier said than done……..
No, really — you just decide……..
How do I do that exactly???
See what a cluster this is??? I’ve been trying to do that with this “resentment” thing for years, but — at least based on this weekend — I have not yet figured it out…..
Can we be afraid and still do what needs doing to change?
I thought about that this weekend too……. a time I was super scared because I had so little idea what I was venturing into, but something in me WANTED it more than I was scared of it, and I found in me — through the gentle nudge of a change agent — the strength to set my fear and my embarrassment and my lack of confidence aside… and go forth. Going forth in that case was waddling out and hopping into a pool when I had zero idea how I was going to get from one end to the other. But …. depending on what we’re talking about…..it might be our moving forward to give something up — sugar, smoking, alcohol, a bad marriage, a bad job, bad habits of various kinds, etc. Or it might be Speaking Up for ourselves in some way. The ability to say no. Or NO!!!! as the case may be. It might be developing a new habit. It might be forging a few friendship. It might be going for that first jog….
Can we possess some level of fear and still do what we want/need/desire to do?
Can we imagine the water will not drown us but provide a joy ride instead?
Can we trust our friends to understand when we don’t venture down every path of theirs?
Can we believe in our own capabilities enough to know confidence will follow us and keep us going … if we just go??