Responding to change

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

I am reminded of a diagram I was once given about our reactions to change. It depends what the change signifies to us some change we positively embrace others we find much more difficult. Death is perhaps one of the greatest changes we experience and it often is that we find most difficult. However, our reaction and responses to death can also help us understand our reactions to other changes that we don’t find easy.

In that diagram, it spoke of the stages of change. I find it helpful to see things in stages as it can tell me where I am in the process, where I have come from and where I am headed.

As I remember it spoke about our initial reaction to change which can be denial, “This is not happening,” “I don’t believe this.” We then move to acceptance, “This has happened” and then we begin to try and adapt to the change. We can have our setbacks, we are doing ok and then one day we are not but then we are ok again. In time we have accepted the change, moved with it and started to live with it until it becomes so much part of our lives that we can look back and see that the initial difficult change is now in the past. Of course, this is not always what happens. The person who still hates their former partner from 30 years ago has never accepted what has happened. For others of us and for whatever reason we never come to terms with the change and it remains painful and takes joy from our lives.

I can see my reaction to Covid 19; in February it was elsewhere, in March it was coming close and then the day it finally came to me, I speaking of our collective response to it. Whether I believed it or not it was now changing my life and I wasn’t happy about it as I like my routines and I don’t like them being changed. This touches on why we like our routines. I like my routines because they gave me structure from a young child and with them a more purposeful life. So the routines may give some protection over pain or rather an unexpressed pain. When the routine goes the pain cries. We may think as I often do that we need to get a new routine and fast. But life often wants us to heal of the past wounds and here in this ‘thin space’ the space of forming and not yet being formed there is an opportunity for healing or maybe for some ‘growth’ is a better word.

I can recall 10 weeks ago when our national response to Covid 19 was lockdown I struggled with the change. In a moment I was to find a new way to do many things and I reacted against it as if it were a being in which I was in a fight. At that stage when routines were swept away I felt some of a residual pain from living through the Northern Irish troubles, that was a surprise. I also resisted being forced to change without consultation or negotiation about how best we could adapt to the changes. That brought to the fore previous occasions when I felt imposed on, more stuff to be healed in this ‘thin space’.

What was and is important was and is friends and people who understood. The odd suggestion here or there worked its way into my thinking and emotions, in time bringing about an adaptation. It was rarely a one-off it was more a series of events that moved something a little but to a different place and then it moved from there to another place until it got to where it needed to be. Here we have to learn patience with ourselves and perhaps others need to learn patience with us.

Was it a surprise then that I found myself zooming into a workshop in Pendle Hill, Pennsylvania on ‘Tools for Navigating Chaos’ ?

First off it is good to know others are recognising the change that is occurring at this time and that others like I have a need to engage in conversations about how I am and getting through it.

I am riding this wave with zoom and enjoying it so I was uplifted to be others from various parts of our world. I just going leave a song that was played at the start. I couldn’t believe how this changed me inside moving me from one place to another.

Best day,




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Gordie Jackson

Gordie Jackson

Speaks with a Northern Irish accent, lives in Hertfordshire, England.