I was trying to catch up on my Richard Rohr blog posts or at least place the new sub-theme this week in context. Rohr takes a theme for an entire year and builds it out in sub-themes that he tackles each week or every couple weeks. This week’s theme is “Connecting with Universal Meaning.” I was intrigued enough to read on.
After reading his post, I decided to listen to his 8 minute video introducing the theme for the year (2017) which is “From the Bottom Up.” There were several things he said during that video that inspired me to blog. Yes, I know it’s been a while. I did have a vacation in there to Scotland…which is where my feature picture came from for today’s SWOG blog entry. Eilean Donan Castle is my favorite spot in the Highlands of Scotland and we were fortunate to have the sun come out just before we got there.
But, I digress…
Back to Rohr. So back in the late 1990’s all the world was talking about “paradigm shifts.” It was becoming an overused phrase and many CEO business leaders would suffer a gag reflex when someone in their HR or OD areas would use it. So swallow hard, because I’m about to pontificate on our own personal “paradigm shifts!”
Rohr quotes the author Thomas Kuhn who popularized the phrase, and it goes like this:
A paradigm shift becomes necessary when the plausibility structure of the previous paradigm becomes so full of holes and patchwork “fixes” that a complete overhaul, which once looked utterly threatening, now appears as a lifeline.
That quote really hit me as important in the journey of life. We all create our own stories. We create our own paradigms as we go through life. Our stories are written initially by early influencers like parents, relatives, teachers, coaches and those who teach us and mold us according to their stories for navigating life. Our stories help us choose and then rationalize actions and behaviors in accordance to our story. We practice our politics and our religion according to the story we’ve adopted. We choose our friends, our mates, our homes, our jobs according to the story we’ve crafted for ourselves.
And here’s the thing that nobody tells you early on in your story creation: The story changes. Yes, it does. The story changes because something usually happens to us that makes us question our neatly created and well-maintained story. And, as the author says above, “when the plausibility structure of the previous paradigm (read here: story) becomes so full of holes and patchwork ‘fixes’ (read here: when we can no longer fit current events into our old story)… a complete overhaul now appears as a lifeline.”
This seemed to be saying to me: Grab the lifeline. Be flexible with your story. Stay open to a different way of looking at things–including yourself. Stay open to a different way of being. Stay open to listening to the cues that prompt you to a different way of relating…to yourself…to others…to your spirituality.
I think this is the underpinning of vertical adult stage development. When your way of making meaning in life is no longer working for you; when it “becomes so full of holes;” it may be time for a personal paradigm shift. There’s a quote that goes, “Change your story, change your life.” I know that can work, too. But, sometimes your life changes first and then your story doesn’t seem quite right.
Is it time to update the edition of your story? I wonder how many editions we will write until it’s all said and done?