On Choice and Internal Change

At the ARM Motherlode conference, Judy Stadtman Tucker took the culture to task for using ‘choice’ language instead of ‘change’ language. For example, if we don’t notice that the ‘choice’ to stay home results from the impossibility of succeeding at both a career and a child’s school requirements, then we are preventing real change from happening. And as a psychologist, I add that if we cope out all of our frustration, we sap the motivation to make changes.

And yet, I notice that if I make changes in my external world without changing my internal injunctions, then I recreate the same problem.  5 years ago, I resolved to stop rushing, for example. The first thing I did was quit a job.  Then I added projects and more clients.  I quit the projects, but then I raised my standards.  My daughter became more independent, so I got a dog.  And, believe me, I could go on.  It took me 3 years to recognize the pattern, and the last 2 to uncover, bit by bit, the various internal elements that kept the rushing going. I still have relapses, but now that I discover how I create the problem, I can finally solve it.

And yet again, part of the solution is to recognize the cultural push for achievement, the fear of worthlessness if I am not producing. I challenge this daily in my practice with crazed New Yorkers. But they will not be able to change through our work alone. Any resolution to find inner peace goes hand in hand with making a work environment that will foster it.

See, it’s not one thing or another.


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