Pink Powderpuff Powerlifting — Hurray for INCREMENTAL growth!

For years I have espoused the virtues of TRANSFORMATIVE growth and CREATIVE change…. in my clients, in leaders, in teams, in organizational systems…. They type of growth that comes along with unfolding new ways of seeing ourselves and the world, and the process of becoming aware of the limitations of old perspectives and beliefs. The magic of being able to create powerfully from an internal sense of passion and vision rather than fear-based reacting and problem-solving. And, I have dutifully paid lip-service to the importance and benefits of “incremental” learning and change — the step-by-step improvements and growth that happens as we practice a skill or try a slightly new approach. While not-so-secretly valuing “creative transformation” I have made sure to present the value of reacting quickly to resolve urgent problems.

Today as I walked my 7,500 steps around the indoor track of my local YMCA, clutching my 2-pound pink dumbells…. I thought about how ESSENTIAL is this period of VERY INCREMENTAL change for me and my recovery. I pondered this idea of transformative change versus incremental growth — of creative change as opposed to reactive problem solving.   All the while listening and bopping along to Meghan Trainer’s “All About That Bass…”

The experience of bypass surgery is a bit like playing one of those board games as a child when you land on the square that says “TAKE A THOUSAND STEPS BACKWARD AND BEGIN AGAIN….” Remember that feeling that you have been plunked back at the very beginning and must start all over again?

GRRRR!  Powerlifting my powderpull dumbell and REACTING!

GRRRR! Powerlifting my powderpuff dumbell and REACTING!

In so many ways I feel that I am starting all over again….  and must build back up one very incremental step at a time.

At 5-weeks after surgery, I am just now at the point where I can begin cardio rehabilitation. I have very little stamina, and the simplest of tasks exhausts me. My very big step forward this week was to begin holding 2-pound dumbells and doing very simple arm exercises with them as I walk. My aspiration is that each day…. very very very slowly….. I will be able to make very small improvements and changes to what I am able to physically do — slightly increase my pace…. do just a few more arm raises than the last time…. be slightly less winded when I climb the stairs. I need to repeat the same exercise again and again and again to notice a very slight improvement.   It has always been far easier for me to jump out of an airplane than it is to prepare for a marathon…

And I wondered as I moved around the track…. “Am I in a creative or reactive mode here?”   I am proud to say that I am REACTING  and PROBLEM-SOLVING.   I have an intense internal conflict that makes me ANGRY, DISHEARTENED, sometimes feeling DESPAIR, and way-too-often very GRUMPY.   I do not like it and it needs to change…. it has me REACTING and PROBLEM-SOLVING.   In general, I am not “creating” and my action is not inspired by my high dream of possibility….  I am focused on SURVIVAL.   And, at times a catch a glimpse of the vision that I have for the life I long to live and I have not lost tough with my passion and love for life…  they remain.  But, I am growing a new-found and genuine appreciation for how essential it is to take BABY STEPS toward our growth — to try SLIGHTLY new things…. to make SMALL ADJUSTMENTS…. to build a new muscle one step at a time.

I believe that TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING and INCREMENTAL GROWTH are like distinct instruments in a co-creative symphony and both have their part to play.    Up until now, I have not been valuing all the parts of the orchestra.    I know that as a leader and educator, this insight will change me — it will have me not ONLY strive to catalyze radical change, but also to pay careful attention to the ways in which steady and continuous improvement happens.

Now, back to the track.

~ by Art on February 10, 2015.

One Response to “Pink Powderpuff Powerlifting — Hurray for INCREMENTAL growth!”

  1. I’m reading this for the third time since you posted it. (Old Paul Simon song playing in my head: “Why don’t we get together and create an institute?”–hah!) (Who has the energy for that kind of transformative change work? Ha!) It occurs to me that part of what is going on is that our cohort of tribe members, friends, companions on the journey is aging, simply that, and here come the health issues, likely of all kinds, at different moments, and not for all. My former spiritual group maintains an alumni FB list, where we share our ongoing journeys, and we’ve all begun to note how frequently we are noting the passing of older friends and companions; asking for help, prayers, good thoughts, and healing energies for ourselves and others as we navigate health issues; and learning to manage some of the effects and inevitabilities of aging with good grace. And this is a group which really held a belief system around being aligned with creative forces as a key to good health. Granted that this group I’m referring to is, on the average, a slightly older demographic than the average age of the CTI (and related) communities. But just sayin’–and thanking you, Art, for sharing what you are experiencing.

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