Utopia, by Wislawa Szymborska
It seems to me we are in an exciting moment of possibility when we have been forced to leave behind old truths and comfortable patterns. Individually, our habits upended, we live lives unimaginable just a few months ago. Collectively, systems and institutions are under pressure and bending to a new reality. Szymborska asks us to embrace such an “unfathomable life” and turn our backs on the island where “Unshakable Confidence” and a “cave of Meaning” are found.
Kurt Lewin, the great social psychologist, called this the first and most fundamental problem of change–“unfreezing” or finding a method of making it possible for people to let go of an old pattern that was counterproductive in some way. It often is where most change efforts fail, because we get stuck clinging to our “Tree of Understanding” and swimming in our “Lake of Deep Conviction.” Yet, we don’t grow or change unless we let go and take the plunge.
What thoughts, feelings or behaviors have you left behind? How might you move forward without your old landmarks of confidence and understanding? What new habits will emerge? What new norms, systems and institutions will spring up? And how will you “refreeze” into a new way of living and leading, so as not to backslide?
Lynne Waldera, San Francisco, California