Sitting in Discomfort

Transformation is difficult. How do we sit in discomfort and emerge as butterflies?

I was recently listening to a short video about school and the changes that we are all experiencing. One of the questions that was asked was, "What is this moment telling us about the future?"  That was a sticky question that caused me to pause. Here are some thoughts that ran through my head.

  • We must learn to live in ambiguity - For many, this is probably the most difficult challenge. We like to see ahead and unfortunately, everything that seemed stable now seems to be shifting. Even the things that have been unchangeable for generations, such as school, have become something new. So while difficult, it can also be freeing. We are no longer stuck in habits or routines that might not have been serving us well. Ambiguity allows possiblity. What can we create? What might our road look like? We get to influence the design of how we move forward. 
  • Transformation is uncomfortable - When I think of transformation, I think of butterflies. I'm guessing that when a caterpillar sews itself up into a cocoon, the changes that occur are probably a little uncomfortable, maybe even painful. So the challenge here is to learn how to sit in discomfort until transformation happens. I feel that there are many areas of transformation currently happening in our world at the moment. It's not a small puddle of discomfort but an entire lake. So now is a perfect time to practice mindfulness. How might we be kind to those around us? How might we improve our listening skills? How might we be kind to ourselves and allow our empathy and humility to take lead? Transformation requires support, that cocoon is a hard shell for a reason, however it is still soft enough to break open when required. Remember this time as it is our story of "during." These are the moments that will define what we transform into.
  • We have some decisions to make about what we carry forward - Another education leader, Will Richardson, has called this time a "portal," and he poses the question,  "What do we want to take through the portal to the other side?" I love this question! As we look at school, this is a defining moment. Our educational institutions are so entrenched in their habits and mindsets that it takes a large event to cause disruption. Guess what just happened!  Now is our time to be very intentional in what we bring to the other side. It is our moment of transformation. What stories will we tell and celebrate of our time of "during?" 

So while we sit in discomfort, let's be mindful of who we want to be when we emerge. Yes, the road is not clear and timelines are fuzzy, but when the skies clear and we see the next stop on the road, I hope we are butterflies.