Endings, beginnings and the Fertile Voids in between
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ~Maya Angelou
It’s not just a slight difference in the weather or the season that hints that a change is coming. Preparing for a new project, or sensing a job or relationship shift, makes you realize that change has already begun. Sometimes it may be change of flow or focus in your practice. August seems to be the time of year for just these sorts of signs, as many of us prepare for the end of summer with a vacation, the beginning of fall with a new school year, or the dawn of new opportunities. (Although many of us who live on Cape Cod resist this 'end of summer' reality, tooth and nail!) So an ending is also always a beginning, but there is always an interesting transition in between.
Times of transition are challenging, but I have grown to love them. They are an opportunity to pause, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new decisions or habits. When I went through Kripalu Yoga teacher training a few years ago, they taught us about the Cycle of Transformation. The stages are described below:
Normal: What you know to be the status quo at any particular point in your life.
Change/Challenge: Something is shifting...
Resistance: Who wants change that was not our idea?
Chaos: Result of impending change colliding with our resistance!
Fertile Void: This is the ‘hallway’ we all know too well. One door has closed, and another has not yet opened. In the Kripalu tradition, this is the place that all great saints pray for-because you have moved on from a situation that is no longer serving you, but the new opportunity has not yet been revealed. It is a place of great expectations, yet we usually experience it with fear and trepidation.
Integration: Your new situation has arrived and you move into a place of acceptance with it. You lean in, adapt, adjust and accommodate.
New Normal: The new situation now becomes the status quo, the norm. You become comfortable and complete...until the next wave crashes over your bow!
This paradigm has helped me tremendously when I find myself resisting some change in my life or environment.
I am writing this message about change and the fertile void as I am facing changes on many levels, professionally and personally. We all do. New jobs, aging parents, births and deaths. The greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote that “The only thing that is constant is change.” So true. Perhaps with tools to reframe change, like the Cycle of Transformation, we can embrace rather than resist. What tools have been helpful for you in leaning into change?
So what the heck does this have to do with the AMTA and the MA Chapter? Our profession and association has and continues to undergo some pretty substantial organizational changes. There has been a lot of streamlining and standardization. Some of the changes, like eliminating the Chapter fee, had far reaching consequences for some chapters, like MA, and for others, none at all-because they never had a chapter fee to begin with. Other changes, like standardizing the charts of accounts and having the National Accounting staff manage the chapter payables seem like a no-brainer. Some chapters in the AMTA had been operating in the past as independent entities. From financial practices to services that were offered to members, there was a huge discrepancy from state to state. For states that had a big budget and could offer ‘out of the box’ services, that seemed to be great. Yet other chapters were struggling to even send their delegates to the National Convention. So from a 10,000 foot view standardizing what benefits are offered to members, regardless of location, was a decision that was made and needed to be transitioned to. This caused a bit of chaos, as chapter leaders resisted the changes that have become reality. Truthfully, folks usually don’t think change is good idea if it is not THEIR idea.
Today, our chapter leadership is in the process of integration and pragmatism. And I'm very proud to say that we continue to embrace our mandate as found in the AMTA Bylaws:
The purpose of AMTA Chapters shall be to hold meetings and conduct the business of the Chapter; provide professional and social networking opportunities; organize educational, legislative, public relations, and membership programs on the state and local levels; provide various means of communication such as publications; and support the activities and programs of the National Association for the benefit of its members
Out of the Chaos and Fertile Void, our New Normal is simply to Inspire, Educate, Empower and Advocate. Our mission statement says it all. Consider joining us as a volunteer
I hope to see you at a Chapter educational event and meeting soon! And please dont hesitate to connect with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, text or call 617-797-7990 or find me on Facebook or Linkedin. Namaste