WHAT IS CHANGE?

Once we accept the reality that there is no such thing, then change is simply what happens with the passage of time.  It is not something special.  We don't have to do anything special to create change.

Change is simply adapting fluidly to changing events and circumstances, adapting fluidly and adaptively to life and time as it occurs.

The only problems occur when 

  1. We resist change or the passage of time, or

  2. We are passive to change, or

  3. We don't do it well or skillfully.

Everything from depression to anxiety to addiction to anger and violence and everything in between is, to one degree or another, a failure to adapt to change, a failure to grieve and let go of what was so that we can embrace that which is.

 

It helps to understand the nature of change.

One of the most important studies of change was the book "Change: Principles of Problem Formulation and Problem Reslution" (1974) by Paul Watzlawick, John H. Weakland, Richard Fisch.  In this watershed book, the authors identified two kinds of change; first order change and second order change.

First order change is by far the most common.  It is simply a different version of the same thing.  For example, in response to changing events and circumstances I go from using a hand saw to using a power saw to cut wood, going from Presbyterian to Lutheran, going from beer to wine.  These are all just different versions of the same thing.

In first order change I don't really have to change my understanding of who I am, my identity, my relationship t the world.  The paradigm of who I am and my place in the world doesn't have to change.

Second order change, on the other hand, is a categorical change.  A change of our set, to use the words in the book "Change", or paradigm to use my terms. 

For example, going from doing my own carpentry to hiring the work out to a professional while I write books, or going from organized religion to a spiritual experience, or stopping all substances whatsoever.

These are changes of my relationship with myself, my identity, my world.  Changes in the paradigm which defines me in my world.

For example I used to take great pleasure and pride in doing my own home repair.  I wasn't particularly good at it, but it was part of my identity.