Change: Lessons from the Body

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You can’t force a change without a lot of pain. The system will work very hard to maintain itself

I came back from training in New Zealand and Australia with a pain in the ball of my foot. Given that this is a major problem for a trainer, I’ve been seeking all kinds of help. A massage therapist said the pain may be a result of tight muscles in the legs. So he did some work on key pressure points that brought some relief for a while. I was a bit sore, but nothing compared to when I decided I’d try a local reflexology shop to speed things up. I love reflexology, but this person worked over and over on my back muscles instead of doing the expected reflexology. I think she must have been determined to get all the tension out before I left! I was so full of toxins the next few days I couldn’t think. Finally the toxins worked their way out.I still have the pain in the ball of my foot and I lost a couple days of good clear thinking time at work.

Now what does this have to do with change? First off, my system has been sitting mostly for a long time so I have some rather rigid muscles, ligaments, and fascia. Trying to change these all at once threw the system into chaos. And it didn’t fix the real problem. AND most importantly, it went right back to it’s contracted place. Systems at all levels work to maintain themselves and if you push and tug with an intervention in the name of growth or correction, you are going to get resistance. If you push too hard or too fast in the wrong way, you’re likely to get unintended consequences.

Change can happen slowly or quickly. The key is to find ways to make the change congruent with the system itself and then look for leverage points to get the desired change. This works for individuals, teams, families, and organizations.

My foot still hurts, especially after doing a training last week and being on my feet. I’m looking for a specialist who really understands how the body works and who has some diagnostic tools to see if this is a bruise or another kind of problem. And I thank my body for the reminder of why I do the work I do—to help people see the system they are in and work with it rather than fight it.