Change, Comfort, and Challenge

Think back on your life. Before every big life change, you have experienced some form of anxiety….either the butterflies in your stomach feeling of excitement and anticipation…or the butterflies in your stomach feeling of stark fear!

There have been times of great change in your life where you were eager to get on with it….and times when you needed a push to make the leap.

And if you are like me, there have been times when you had the opportunity for a great change in your life and didn’t take it….when you chickened out. And regretted it. Or even paid dearly for it. Sometimes it is just incredibly difficult to take that last step over the threshold and through the portal of change.

In fact sometimes it can seem that the portals of change are barred and have fierce guardians stationed before them…

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Or even REALLY fierce Guardians!

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At times like that, we really need help to get us through those portals, sometimes we even need a hero figure to swoop down from the skies and help us…

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A hero can help us to defeat the guardians.

But even the strongest superhero can’t throw us throw us through the portal of change.

We always have to take that last, ultimate step ourselves. NO ONE else can do it for us.

And no one can eliminate the discomfort of taking that step. Change IS uncomfortable. There is no getting around that, there is no changing it!

At this point it is obvious that I am comparing personal change to societal change, but really, I am not. With the deep level of societal change is required of us by the time we live in, the change we need is not just external. It is internal as well.

We are really dealing with three levels of change. Personal, societal and structural.

Unless we change, society won’t change, unless society changes, the structures that define our world won’t change.

And with Catastrophic Climate Change barreling down on us….and indeed already affecting us…U.S. already impacted by human-caused climate change

It is imperative that we change.

But Americans as a whole are VERY bad at change. We are VERY bad at change because we value comfort above all else. The last bastion of those defending us FROM the changes needed to deal with Catastrophic Climate Change is a simple phrase…

The American Lifestyle.

In other words, SUV’s, million gallon a day golf courses in the middle of the dessert, the amount of world resources devoted to and destroyed by supplying us with the beef for Big Macs. Lighting Las Vegas every night as they steadily run out of water both to drink and power the lights. The American Lifestyle has stopped the mighty Colorado from reaching the sea. Every drop of it is used before it gets there.

Why?

Because America values comfort above all else, above nature, above human life (if that life is encased in brown skin especially) and….America values comfort above even a future for their children.

In order to move America through that portal of change, we must become uncomfortable. In order to become uncomfortable, we must challenge ourselves.

Several, lol, people have asked me why I included this paragraph in yesterdays essay..

The people who think that speaking up for a cause you believe in is….rude, or means that you HATE Obama.

Obama obviously NEVER has to worry about losing them. They have no expectations, and thus cannot be dissapointed. They are willing to settle for whatever crumbs Obama will toss them. Or think that if they just wait, patiently and politely and quietly, Obama will eventually get around to GIVING them what they want with no effort on their part.

I included that to challenge us. I included it to make us uncomfortable. I included it to help US step through that portal.

You can have comfort or you can have change.

You cannot have both.

Sorry, I don’t make the rules!

So who the fuck am I to challenge people? What gives me the right to make you uncomfortable?

I am me. One seventh billionth of the worlds population.

Who the fuck are you to hesitate before stepping through the portal of change and hold up the other seven billion of us who need to pass through to insure that our children, our children’s children and the next Seven Generations have a habitable planet to live on.

Every goddam issue we are facing is interrelated, every one of them produces a momentum of change that is essential to address the BIG Problem. an uninhabitable planet. Who are YOU to hold up those changes? Why, in fact, aren’t YOU leading the charge to change?

JUST and ONLY because you don’t want to be ….uncomfortable?

I am me, and me is nobody. But this nobody is going to keep pushing YOU until you walk through the damn portal.

Get used to it!

 

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  1. Photobucket

    • Edger on June 17, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    I mean, all this this change stuff is making me very uncomfortable.

  2. …after we change.  In my personal life, I’ve frequently found this to be the case.  Then I ask myself, “Why was I so scared?  Why so slow to move on?”

    We tend to like what is familiar and fear the unknown.  So, go ahead, take the leap into the unfamiliar, the unknown.  You just might find it to your liking and end up being more comfortable.

  3. I am a trained Change Manager.

    There are some things to know about change, they don’t work as well on yourself as they do on others but I’ll share them and hope it makes folks better activists.

    People resist change for reasons that are sane, logical and reasonable to them. In order to get people to change, especially long term change, you have to find a way to address their resistance concerns.

    This is particularly tricky when they won’t(for whatever reason) come striaght out with them. You have to be ready to ask, listen and then either address them by changing your plan or by explaining in ways that make sense to them why you can’t.

    Another critical piece is the desired state. What will this all look like after the change is over? It is important because people resist from a lack of knowledge or understanding more than any other single reason. If they can not understand the end state, they will be at best passive in changing.

    Finally there is always an element of “whats in it for me?” and the burning platform. The first is easy to understand, the second is basically describing the compelling need to change as in “If you are standing on a burning platform, you want to change to one that is not burning”

    I could write all day about it, but these are some core concepts that should allow you to start the change process. Above all remember change takes time and will only really happen if the change target (I hate that phrase but it is accurate) decides to change.  

  4. are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.”

    – Abraham Lincoln

    • dkmich on June 17, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    In fact, I feel like most Americans have already gone through the portal of change and are waiting impatiently  for Obama and the Democrats to catch up.  It IS what most people voted for.    

    Policy over politicians.  What good is winning if nothing changes?  The Democrats are in the process of demonstrating that they are no different from the people they replaced.   Is the left flank ineffectual, or can they get their acts together long enough to develop a real alternative to this bull shit.      

     

  5. bring people back.  I can’t tell you who sent me, but once we get enough others thru the portal, I will.  

  6. bring people back.  I can’t tell you who sent me, but once we get enough others thru the portal, I will.  

  7. There’s an awful lot of assumptions in there, Buhd. (Buhd!)

    Not sure where to start…

    For example, I reject the notion that Most Americans are over pampered twits interested only in comfort.

    There’s definitely a small class of people who might fit that description, and who unfortunately have come to be seen as “the Middle Class” or the “average american.”

    The folks who get a couple weeks of contiguous vacation time and Disney World and have a soda fountain in their closet.  

    But take a listen to the health care stories, the home foreclosures, the persistent evaporation of jobs and “jobless recoveries” going on for over a decade, the lousy legal treatment of gays, and the harsh, long prison conditions for millions of American young adults, most disturbingly with huge concentrations of minorities, caught maybe with a little weed…and and and and and…

    America is not an over pampered nation.

    36 Million Americans live in poverty. A hundred million more scrape just above it working three jobs just to stay in their home or apartment. Household income levels in the Midwest have been nearly flat relative to inflation for decades.

    The “pampered” American is a myth in huge swaths of America. That’s not the America most people know.

    I think “uncomfortable” isn’t the right word.

    More precisely we’re clinging to a precipice.

    Do you know many of my neighbors are employed?

    Zero.

    That just struck me yesterday. Zero are employed. Laid off, Laid off, retired, retired, can’t find tool and die work, and laid off.

    Millions are, as you know, one illness away from being homeless. Millions have no home. Millions will lose their homes this year. Children in the rust belt states, which have been in recession since 2001, have been plunged into poverty at ever increasing rates..now nationwide.

    I don’t know who these huge populations of “comfortable” Americans are.

    The “change” needs to be a ground beneath our feet, and I’ve see that “change” happening in the Federally decreased thresholds for eligibility for Federal and State aid for food, COBRA help, child care assistance, SCHIP. I’ve seen that “change” in 472 million dollars for the great lakes restoration efforts to help a system on the verge of Ecological collapse, where the previous adminstration VETOED additional funding for SCHIP and waterway restoration. I know people whose lives have been personally directly improved from new policies.

    Am I happy with everything? No. Am I pissed about the dipship way Obama is treating the gay community…fuck yes. Am I pissed about the direction of health care specifically…hell yes.

    But are we moving in the WRONG direction overall?

    No. I’m pleased with more things than I’m pissed about.

    And that’s where I stand.

    • Edger on June 18, 2009 at 3:18 am

    with bated breath to see how he’s going to sell “change” in the campaign for 2012.

  8. …to make the transition (leap) forward.  He urges us to leap soon:

    But I don’t think that it is too wise to wait and try to grab a few more years of comfortable living. Not only would that be a waste of time on a personal level, but we’d be squandering the resources we need to make the transition.

    Read his article at cluborlov dot blogspot dot com.

  9. He didn’t have to deal with someone like Rush Limbaugh or a right-wing noise machine that had a thirty year head start brainwashing people day in and day out. During the Great Depression it was easy to see what the problem was. Now people’s heads or in such a fog because of Rush Limbaugh’s misinformation it’s harder to see the way forward.

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