Friday, July 16, 2010

Gradual Transformation

I've been going to the same resort on the Washington coast for almost 20 years. They have a long wooden staircase that goes from the resort, down through a wooded ravine/cliff to the ocean.

I have no idea how long the staircase has been there, but it is old and kind of beaten down.

The last time I was there, I noticed that they had replaced the top section of the staircase. Gone is the old gray, decaying wood. In it's place there was new, sturdy pressure treated wood. It looked really nice.

I was there this past week, and they had replaced the next section of the staircase. It is clear that their plan is to rebuild the entire, long staircase one section at a time.

In some ways, I am sad to see the old staircase go. It has a rustic, nostalgic appeal.

Yet, the old staircase, at times, has me wondering about it's safety. The new staircase is really sturdy and attractive. It looks like it will last for the long haul.

It's interesting the conflict I feel. Letting go of the old feels like some sort of a loss. Even though the old staircase is breaking down, it is familiar and has it's own charm.

Yet, the new staircase looks safer and more sturdy. It's very attractive and obviously built to last. It's going to be kind of fun to see the new staircase emerge over time.

Our own processes of change, transition and transformation can be similar. Even when the old structures are breaking down and failing, it is sometimes tough to let them go. Whether it's a relationship that has become unhealthy, a job that no longer meets our needs, or any other part of our lives that has become unworkable, it is amazing how we resist letting it go. Even when something new could not only replace but improve things, we hang on to the old.

I like the model of this staircase replacement. They are doing a section at a time. It is less of a shock that way. It is also a way of easing in to a radical transition. Those of us who are regulars have time to adjust to the new staircase and say goodbye to the old as it disappears.

Our own processes of change and transformation can be the same! If we plug away at changing things that require changing, we can ease into the transitions and transformations. We have time to respectfully let go of the old, broken down systems, and we can gradually embrace the new, improved structures.

Start letting go of things that need to go... bit by bit. As you do this, embrace the new, improved replacements that are available to you!