Thoughts and Musings on... The Emotional Cycle of Change
Posted on 15th January 2024 at 14:02
I don't know about you - but I am tired. I am absolutely jiggered. And I have not been in work since Monday 23rd March so naturally you may wonder what has caused my fatigue - but I have a strong suspension that you know of or may be able to empathise with my symptoms! Times of change demand so much in the way of energy - and this makes sense doesn't it? Everything is different - what we thought we knew we now have to re-think. All of this requires energy (so it's perfectly fine to go and get that snack/crisps/chocolate). The brain is an energy allocation machine and its been pretty busy, even if we have been physically still. If you are in school leadership then its been manic - assessing, processing, reflecting, pacifying - and that's all in one day! No time to reflect on what is needed for your own needs - plus your family's needs too. It's been relentless.
I've always known that if you do the same things then you invariably get the same results. That's previously been a good thing - yes? Of course it is - if you save money you will have money to spend in the future; if you eat too much you will put on weight. Actually that's bad if that's not your intention! But we can't do the same things. Well - I guess we can, but with so much risk attached - to us and to others - we HAVE to amend our behaviours. This requires effort - and thus we utilise excessive energy in a way that we haven't required to do before. The uncertainty demands another withdrawal from the emotional energy bank. It's very easy to be overdrawn.
During lockdown I have thought a lot about what I used to do and what I will be doing in the future. This is still in progress - the benefit of time!! I've read a lot about change and learned that there are five hindrances to Self-Mastery according to Shaolin Masters and they are:
- restlessness and agitation
- aversion and ill-will
- sensory pleasure
- sloth and torpor
I think that I can safely say that these hindrances are part of my lockdown experience. All of these states are challenging our mental health and from someone who has not normally had much in the way of MH challenges - it has definitely been a struggle. I have gone from one to the other - sometimes remaining in one state for far longer than I would have wanted or even realised - but like a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly, it is a creative process and the end result will be a stronger me - ready to be of service to those that need support in navigating our post Covid 19 educational landscape.
A question for you.....would you recognise when and if you needed to change? Is it the case that sometimes we know that we need to make changes but we 'bury our heads in the sand'? What stops us from facing our fears? Lockdown has made it happen - well it has for me! I have begun to embrace change in a way that I used to think that I was ok with. It's change that makes you feel uncomfortable, question yourself and what you believed, change that digs into the areas that you'd prefer to keep quiet, change that forces confrontation, that enables your voice to be heard. I am encouraged that in this new self dialogue that I am cultivating, that I am open to myself and others, I am kind to myself and others and I am focused in getting tasks - big or small completed to the best of my ability. Self care is key in these unprecedented times (that's the only time I am going to use the word 'unprecedented').
As we collectively work our way through this new landscape - I am aware of the internal transactions taking place. As I shield at home - I contemplate whether I would have had the space - head space - to have reflected on where I am. Education - and with specific reference to school leadership - takes no prisoners! Once that train starts, hang on to your hats..... before you know where you are its half term and then as staff are looking forward to the end of term, as a leader you are juggling time available versus tasks to be completed! However - this period of enforced incarceration has been a blessing. This is a period of growth. Refining. We are jewels that just need to know that we all shine - the rubble or mud that surrounds us just needs to be placed to one side. We mustn't let the rubble or mud define us.
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