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What You Need To Know About The Change Cycle: Stage 2 (Reformation)

{In previous posts I provided an overview of the cycle of change and looked at the first stage. Today we are diving into the SECOND STAGE of the change cycle.}

In its metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly, the caterpillar encloses itself in a chrysalis and dissolves completely. After becoming bug soup, something extraordinary happens. Specialized cells (called “imaginal cells”) utilize nutrients in the soup to generate new structures for the developing butterfly. Imaginal cells contain the blueprints from which wings, legs, antennae and all the other characteristic features of an adult butterfly are formed.

When you’ve been thrown into the change cycle, stage one feels like you’ve been sentenced to the pit of despair with no end in sight. So it may feel like a surprise (and a welcome relief) when you find yourself nudging your way into stage two.

After the pain and loss of the first stage, stage two feels like the first sign of spring after a long winter. On what looks like another cold grey day, you walk outside and discover a crocus peeking up toward the sky.

In stage one, you’ve been navigating the confusion and uncertain terrain of letting go of your old sense of who you are. Then one day, you begin to spontaneously imagine new ideas for your new life. You notice thoughts like “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” or “Maybe I could…”.

These glimpses appear without any effort on your part – they just start bubbling up. And then, hope returns.

Unlike stage one, where the future seemed incomprehensible, as you move into stage two you begin to open to a sense of possibility for the future.

You may notice one or more of the following happening:

  • You start smiling and laughing more. It feels authentic, rather than a forced or obligatory response.

  • You want to do things you’ve never done before. This is a period of self-discovery – you may get an urge to take a class or sign up for a new adventure.

  • You decide to change your clothes or your hair. Your old style feels wrong, like it doesn’t match who you are anymore.

  • You redecorate your living space. Our living spaces are a reflection of who we are and will, accordingly, change as you change.

Here are some ways you can nurture your growth in stage 2:

  • Engage your new ideas with curiosity and enthusiasm. They might not make sense to the old you, but they are like “imaginal cells” leading the development of the new you.

  • Let yourself daydream. Don’t censor or judge your imagination no matter how implausible it seems.

  • Martha Beck created a mantra for stage 2: There are no rules and that’s OK. Say it out loud. Repeat it often.

  • As your ideas take root, visualize the details. Pay attention as your dream becomes more solid.

  • Move from dreaming to scheming. Start to map the steps for how you will move forward to achieve what you’ve been imagining.

Over time, the glimpses of your new future crystallize into solid ideas. Without realizing it, the time you spend in stage two creates the blueprint for your new life. Your imagination conceives a vision of the world you wish to create for yourself. You are on your way to becoming the new you.

"To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly" – Henri Bergson

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