Leaning In

Life is full of seasons. Nature reminds us of this multiple times a year. As we enter into fall and already see the first signs of winter upon us, I am reminded again that there is a season for everything. With this constant physical reminder from nature, you would think we would be better at recognizing when we are entering a new season in our own lives. Often though, we start feeling a shift in our world and we react by pushing back and resisting or maybe just avoiding and denying. Despite the changes around us we look for our normal modus operandi to carry us through.

As I have recently entered a new season in my life, a mantra that has begun to challenge me is, lean in. I remind myself when I feel disruption to stop and lean in. Leaning in is actually quite simple in theory, it’s the practice of shifting your posture towards something to slowly begin to embrace it. There are a few steps you can take to try this out:

  1. Awareness – The first step is to become aware of the shift in your life. You may recognize that something in your environment has changed or you may feel a new emotion creeping in but in any case in takes awareness first.
  2. Acceptance – Admit your natural response and accept that you may want to avoid or push back against it. Acceptance creates empathy for yourself the same way you would likely do for a loved one.
  3. Act – Ask yourself what it would look like to take a step into this new shift in your life. Then do it! It may be as simple as opening up to listen more or engaging in a conversation. The important part is to step out of your normal reaction and into something new.

When you break anything down into three steps it sounds simple but what we need to lean in to is usually the challenge. After all, if it weren’t a challenge we would just embrace the change without hesitation. Some common themes I have needed to lean in to have been change, pain, discomfort, forgiveness, fear, anger, sadness and loss.

The past few years of my life have been filled with season after season of pain, loss and illness along with the joy of my children being born sprinkled in between. All of this has led me to now, where I have entered a season of change, of letting go and of re-birth. My awareness of the shift grew as my awareness of my fear and discomfort grew. Initially, I avoided the fear and denied that I could do anything about my situation. Eventually, I accepted my reactions as natural responses and gave myself the space to have these reactions without judgment. Now, with the help of my support network, I’ve begun to act by taking steps to let go of the burdens I’ve been holding and to engage my inner power instead of avoiding it. As I have started to lean in I realize much of my suffering was caused by my own actions. Changing my response has led to a shift in my perspective and a change in the posture of those around me.

So I will continue to lean in to my fear, my discomfort and my pain. What season of life are you in? What do you need to lean in to?

By Greg Hawkins

Greg completed his initial weekend in 2014 and will complete the Two-Year Transformational program this year. He believes in the power of being vulnerable to foster authentic and courageous lives. He is a husband, dad of two girls, yogi, blogger, and is a director at an industrial supply company. His favorite activities are dance parties with his girls, getting outside with his dogs or horse and date nights with his wife.

Photo Credit: Michael Mächtlinger via Free Images