Letting Our Eyes Adjust

March 23, 2011 Leave a comment

|Photo by diveofficer|http://www.flickr.com/photos/diveofficer/2224496557|

Metaphors can be very useful in helping us grasp and work with otherwise complex issues and difficult circumstances.  I’ve been working with one particular image lately as I’ve been doing change work on both personal and professional fronts.  As we all know, it can be very difficult to move from where we are, even when we know change would likely bring something better.  Of course, there are many different sources of resistance, and something I’ve been thinking about lately is how the reality of our current situation, while being an impetus for change, can also become all-consuming in a way that obscures other possible paths forward.  I liken this to the image of standing under a bright streetlight at night.  Where we are is fully illuminated, and beyond that, the dark is that much more obscured in contrast to the brightness in which we are engulfed.  This can make any movement beyond that glow, as glaring and unpleasant as it may be, somewhat daunting.  We can’t see the alternatives!  But if we were to venture slowly out beyond the edges of the lamp’s light, what would we find?  Over time our eyes adjust.  Gradually, we are able to see more clearly that there are in fact viable alternative paths forward.  Perhaps thinking about and allowing for this adjustment will embolden our stepping into the shadows.

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  • Beth Tener says:

    Here’s a related metaphor I recently heard a colleague use:

    “Don’t get out ahead of your headlights.”

    In this case, she was coaching someone who was new in his role – to take things slowly at a pace he could handle (as he was coming up the learning curve.) Adding the element of motion to it feels more apt in a way: we are moving into a new future, leaving the past behind each day and only able to ‘see’ a short ways ahead,though we can set our direction toward a vision.

    For the daunting part or letting our eyes adjust…I think it’s about finding the questions we’re drawn to (that we don’t know the answers to yet.) As we seek new information/answers (in the darkness of the unknown) the path forward becomes clearer and more illuminated…and perhaps less daunting.

  • Curtis Ogden says:

    Thanks, Beth. I like your additions/enhancements. I would also say that part of what is helpful in moving us forward is to stay grounded in our core values, and be more willing to let go of beliefs that no longer serve us.

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