"Sit up," I whisper to myself. I will myself upright and pull my legs warily over the edge of the bed.
"Lean in," I say to myself, and I lean forward to standing, giving myself a few seconds to steady.
I've been thinking about leaning in lately.
Lean into conflict.
Lean into the uncomfortable.
Lean into differences.
~Lean into change.
Homeostasis is the ability to maintain a certain temperature. Like a thermostat set to a certain temperature, in homeostasis self-regulation happens. If it gets too hot, cool air will kick in. If it gets too cold, heat will kick in. Whatever the gauge is set to, the thermostat will regulate. Similarly, there is an unconscious process within each of us that self-regulates. We have relationship set points, money set points, and weight set points. We have comfort zones--sometimes ones that we are completely unaware of. Sometimes we come up against our own homeostasis-our own comfort zone, especially when we are experiencing change. We don't want to move out of what we know, of what we are comfortable with.
After I steady myself, I lean into the cold darkness of my house and leave the warm safety and comfort of my bed. It is not pretty. I am not a morning person. Just ask my husband. I lean into the cold car that will take me to the Y for my morning swim. It's always easier to stay in my warm, comfortable bed, but when I lean into the things I do not want to do, those that are uncomfortable for whatever reason, I often find that the leaning in is exactly what I need. It is what helps me grow.
The natatorium (where the pool is housed) is always toasty warm. I have to pass the woodsy smelling sauna that attempts to pull me back to warmth and safety, but I choose to lean in, toward the pool I know will be cold and uncomfortable. I pass the tempting, still whirlpool, the therapy pool, also warm and still, and into the chilly competition pool area. Leaving the balmy warmness to submerge myself into the cold, silent pool is no easy feat, especially at 5 a.m. Leaving what is warm, comfortable and familiar never really is easy, is it?
As I sit precariously on the edge of the pool, I say out loud to myself, "Beth, just lean in..." and I plunge into the cold water. The first few laps are always tough (like change is at first) and I eventually fall into my swim rhythm, letting my breathing regulate, allowing my mind to find that place that fluctuates between letting go and thinking through the many parts of my life that are changing...my new position out of the classroom that has been my home for over twenty years, my daughter going off to college, my youngest son getting his driver's license, my husband and I sitting across from each other in the living room of an empty house, looking at each other and wondering how we will navigate a home without our children romping through it.
No, naturally we don't want to move out of what we know, out of what is safe, known, comfortable and warm. It is human nature to stay where everything is status quo and yet so much of what I read and experience around change suggests that when we are aware of how change affects us, we are more apt to respond to change in a way that helps us navigate change with grace, and also allows us to learn more about ourselves as we grow through change. The change isn't what is most important. How we respond, react, and adapt to change is what is important.
We are going through change at our small but mighty Stone Bank School right now. As an entire staff, we try our hardest to do the right thing, say the right thing, reply to emails and phone calls in a timely manner, do the very best for each and every one of our learners each and every minute of our days (and nights), live our lives with integrity, and embrace the changes we are experiencing right now. Through all of this, we often times forget to step back to give ourselves some much needed space to reflect on how we are operating as we navigate change. Sometimes we need to turn the mirror on ourselves, look inward, and ask, 'How am I navigating this change?" It can be uncomfortable at times, yes, and as we lean in together, we discover a lot about ourselves, both individually, and as a team, as we collectively navigate change. Our families and community are a part of this team and through this change, I invite you to lean in with us. When we lean in together, we create space for refining what we already do, as well as begin to see opportunities to improve our small, mighty school.
At a conference, Jeff Bezos once said, "What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you - what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind - you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn't a strategy." I especially love this as it gives me pause to not blame others for the change, but rather to look inward and reflect on how I am navigating the change, which helps me to ask myself how am I being a part of the solution and growth moving forward.
This blog post is really quite simply my own ramblings and reflections as I try to look inward to myself as I navigate change. My hope for us collectively is that we navigate our changes with grace and integrity as we look together toward the future.
Enjoy your weekend everyone, and take some time to lean in this weekend...then lean back out and reflect. Drop a comment onto the blog so we can share our thoughts and ideas.