“In the depths of winter I learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” ~ Albert Camus
We are all in a time of sweeping, structural transformation in our lives. While it is true that everything is always changing, this is particularly true for us right now. And if you follow astrology, you know that today there is a potent lunar eclipse, and that the great Saturn-Pluto conjunction occurs on January 12, marking the beginning of new 36-, 20-, and 13-year cycles.
As this pivotal era unfolds, there will be new challenges and opportunities arising that we will need to make space for in our lives. Now is a perfect time to ask ourselves what we truly want to carry forward and what we need to leave behind.
For those of us who feel a bit queasy during times of change, great or small, or find ourselves in a funk we can find our footing and some comfort in understanding Dr. Martha Beck’s map of change.
Understanding & Navigating Change
Dr. Martha Beck developed “The Four Squares of Change,” for understanding and leveraging the power of the change process. According to Martha, each square has its own characteristics and mantras. Square 1 is the square of dissolving and disorientation, typically the square following a cataclysmic event (either positive or negative) that shakes you to your core and can leave you in a funk. Square 2 is the square of dreaming and scheming—the juicy space of possibility.
Square 3 is the square of implementation—where the rubber meets the road (doing the thing you dreamed up in Square 2 is always harder than you thought it would be). Square 4 is the realm of the Promised Land—ease and delight. At last, you’ve arrived.
The mantra for Square 1 is: “I don’t know what the hell is going on, and that’s okay.”
If we think back to the most challenging times of our lives, we recognize how well Martha’s Square 1 mantra sums up exactly how we felt—lost, afraid, shaky, and unsure as to what to do or where to place our feet. Happily, though, there is a massive silver lining to being in Square 1—it can be the birthplace of our best creativity.
As cataclysmic events launch us into Square 1, we can choose to leverage its powerful energy instead of being sucked out to sea by the undertow. We can refuse to panic. Refuse to get caught in a funk. We can locate the rip current, swim parallel to shore for a bit, and turn back toward land when we are outside of the edges of the churning waters.
Surrender into the Chaos
This requires that we do something completely counter to our instinct—we must surrender.
Once we let go and trust in the Unknown, we are halfway there.
From a place of calm that is centered in our chests, we can surrender and relax into the situation in which we find ourselves. We can choose to not numb out or buffer our fear, and instead embrace it. We can look for clues amongst the rubble and mine the pile for valuable nuggets of meaning, insight, and direction.
If we can objectively observe the blurts of ick from our reptilian brains (“The sky is falling!!!” “You are doomed!!!”) and let them pass on through without resistance, we will find ourselves on the other side with a newfound sense of self and inner power.
When we see the storm clouds of Square 1 on the horizon, we can confront the brutal facts, steady ourselves, and yield as the wave rolls over us. When you’re in a funk, under the water, not only can we still see the blue of the sky and know it will be there when we surface, but we can tune into the darkness and be ready to receive profound inklings and fodder for what to create next.
Square 1 can be messy and hard AND a place of JOY and possibility. It is a container of the source waters of what is to come while we discover the depth of our strength, courage, and creativity.
We can take heart in knowing that in a funk is Creative Fodder.
In our surrender and in dissolving mode, we are given the chance to reconstitute ourselves into entirely new beings. We can forge keys out of the fires of our pain that unlock untold adventures, new ways of seeing and being in the world, and tap into our innate creativity that molds and shapes horizons of hope and connection.