Living our change

Today my heart is heavy with a break-up, not mine but my sons.

I wanted to post about sharing a gift for the Holiday Season, the beautiful gift of noticing, but I just can’t find my place with it, for now.

His relationship with his girlfriend is coming to an ending. They had been going out for nearly a year from GCSE’s through a long, loved-up summer break and into A-Levels. They gave to each other so generously, beautifully, and fully and they will always be each other’s first loves.

That special place in each other’s hearts will never change.

I have been thinking about how I can help him process and talk about what is going on for him. He seems to be carrying some rules of living that are preventing him from opening up about these things with me and his Mum for the time being.

But then I notice that, as his father, I need to take care of my own system and patterns first and get in touch with and acknowledge my own emotions in this situation…. and open up about where I am with this ending too.

I need to honestly live the change I want to see.

Anais Nin once said:

“I was always ashamed to take. So I gave. It was not a virtue. It was a disguise.”

So for me, the change I need to live is not starting with giving but with noticing and maybe asking for what I need from others. In so doing, I can share this pattern with my son as well. 

How often do we as family members, leaders or colleagues ask others to do that which we ignore or reject ourselves?

It’s an easy trap to fall into. We may ask for transparency yet keep things secret. Maybe we ask for collaboration but act as a lone leader. Alternatively, we might give of ourselves as coaches and yet resist resourcing ourselves and working with our own coach, just as I ask for openness and space for emotions but neglect to share my own.

Both our families were irreversibly altered by their relationship, their learning, their love, their kindness, their presence. Both of them are first born children so this was a first for both of our families not just them.

So for our families this is a time for firsts, for endings, for learning and for transitions as we all process this change.

A new member in a family system, much like a team in work, whether temporary or permanent, adds a new relationship and role for everyone in the family. It changes your calendar, it changes your personal space, it changes meal-times, it changes your thinking on taxi-services and it changes the relationship dynamic amongst siblings and parents.

It changes the unspoken rules of belonging in the system.

Through all of our lives we join, belong in and leave many relationship systems, whether familial, organisational or cultural. Some we will alter forever and some will change us more deeply than we can imagine. To varying extents we carry all of these systems with us and share our lessons in our future systems.

When we notice and acknowledge what is going on for us in these systems and create space for these emotions, we can consciously learn from them, recognise our patterns and move on with clarity as we learn to join, belong and leave well, acknowledging all that we gained and what belonging might have cost us along the way.

As I now reflect on endings and noticing in my own life, I come back to the gift of noticing and sitting with what is going in my systems and recognising where in my life and systems I am in flow and where I might be stuck and what the impact of this might be.

And this was to be my holiday seasons gift to share with you. The gift of noticing and awareness, available to us all in any moment.

So as we all approach our ending of 2022 and the new beginning of 2023, what are you noticing in your systems?

What beginnings or endings are emerging for you?

How are you belonging in your systems? 

Where are you sensing flow or stuckness?

What awareness might you invite into your systems?

Happy Holidays.