Coaching In The Crucible Of Change & The Chrysalis Moment

“I feel stuck,” Maria said. “I know I need to re-invent and renew myself but I don’t know how. It’s as though I do not have energy to move forward, to create a new next step. I feel like I’m walking under water. It’s heavy and it’s not clear.”

As a CEO Coach I am often called to address phases in the client’s life where the next step is not clear. A wide range of personal and organizational reasons can cause sub-optimal functioning and effectiveness. Not all of these reasons fall into the “bad” bucket. In this coaching session with Maria it became clear that her “feeling stuck” was a symptom of a bigger transformation underway. Here are some of the comments that surfaced in our conversation:

1. Do not suppress or try to escape the feeling. It is okay to feel stuck. Feeling stuck is often a symptom and a herald of change. For the caterpillar to transform and become a butterfly, it needs to spend time in the crucible of change where it feels painfully stuck.

2. Allow for time in the chrysalis. A transformative process needs containment. The chrysalis allows and protects this miraculous process. The egg, the womb, the chrysalis – why are they designed this way? What is the message? Transformation and birth need a period of confinement and containment where nothing escapes and where the totality of the system must surrender to the process.

3. Your “feeling stuck” is potentially a chrysalis moment. When something feels inescapable the process of change begins.

4. The caterpillar looks in the mirror and sees what it can no longer be. To melt and shed its previous form it needs to produce huge intensity, energy and internal heat. The chrysalis is a mirror of change and a frying pan.

5. To change and transform you have to allow yourself time in the chrysalis. For as long as it takes. You are meant to be inside this experience. To use it. To listen in. To listen out. To discover a new you.

6. Make room for it. Clear debris. Take the time to create a new uncluttered space.

7. Engage with good companions and friends. Some will bring you insight and energy for change. Be selective.

8. Keep a journal. Write about your insights and experiences and about the changes you are making:
– What will it allow?
– What do you want the change to bring?
– Why do you want it?
– What are you becoming?

9. Do not rush. Nothing is just what it seems. There is always more to it. Remember the story of the man whose horse ran away (ask me if you don’t know the story).

10. The old is shedding and leaving. This is the visible part. The invisible part is the new that is forming. Do not identify with the visible. If you do, you reclaim what is being left behind. Let it leave your system. Look for and live into the new that is emerging.

11. Exercise. Stay in a good physical fitness. Make dietary changes to be in the optimal energy zone.

12. Use this time to clear the deck. To do a great scrub. What are you carrying that you no longer need?

13. Meditate and journal: what do you give yourself over to? How do you stay intact? How do you sift through your experiences and stay clear? How do you live on purpose?

14. It’s a great time to melt separations. To forgive. To heal. To make peace.

Think about the evolution of astronomy. There was a moment when we were suddenly able to see into a black hole instead of empty space. We now understand that a black hole is a dimensional shift. As with galaxies and the universe out there you can also experience a dimensional shift. Feeling stuck is often the entry point of such a shift. The black hole of a crisis is that moment just before the breakthrough; but the brilliance that awaits you on the other side can only be won by going through the transformation. Embrace your chrysalis moment and the crucible of change. In that black hole your universe curves into new possibilities. You begin to discover a greater brilliance on the other side.

© Aviv Shahar

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