What or Who Calls You to Change?

It’s the start of the Days of Awe, the time from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, where Jews introspect. We reflect on our lives last year and consider how we might live better next year. We pray that God writes our names and then seals us in the book of life.

That’s all about change.

What I find so interesting is that we have a literal call—a sound—to change: the call of the Shofar. (If you’ve never heard a ram’s horn, listen to this video. If you want to skip all the talking, the blowing starts at 1:22.)

That call to change is a Foreign Element in the Satir Change Model.

The shofar is just one example of a call to change. You might see some new reality (a call from yourself). Or realize that you no longer want to live or work the way you did (another internal call). Or someone might say something to you that helps you decide to explore alternatives (an external call).

Regardless of whether the call is internal or external, we all experience calls to change.

While I would love to be perfect, I admit, I often miss the first few calls to change. That’s why I like external triggers, especially if they have sound, such as the shofar. I can ignore my internal triggers, but loud sounds? Much more difficult to ignore.

How Do You Recognize Your Foreign Elements?

If you use an alarm clock to wake up, you use a Foreign Element (the sound of the alarm) to wake up. That’s the idea of the shofar, waking us up to examine our past lives.

Given my vertigo, I recognize plenty of physical foreign elements, such as dizziness, or stumbling over my feet.

But the foreign elements for how I live? I find it a little more difficult to recognize those.

Here’s an example: Along with other people who teach workshops, I abruptly went remote with the pandemic. But, a funny thing happened, something I did not expect. My clients experienced better results with the remote workshops. I didn’t expect that—I expected the clients to see worse results.

That’s when I investigated a little. Because the clients had time to practice between each meeting, they learned earlier. They didn’t even “fail fast.” Because they continued to learn after each session, they practiced and literally learned early. I could add more advanced topics and support them as they decided what to do next.

That’s when I learned (for the gazillionth time) that I needed to listen to the triggers of potential change.

I expect to reflect at Rosh Hashanah and see large triggers for change. I wish I was more aware of possibilities when it’s not this time of year. However, as many of us do, I get caught up in the present here-and-now, and planning for the future there-and-then.

Who or What Do You See or Hear?

One of the best ways I know to become more aware of foreign elements is to ask this question:

What do you see and hear?

I like that question because it grounds me in the here and now. Certainly not in the there-and-then, either in the past or anticipating the future.

Sensory details, such as the shofar sound, help us recognize what’s going on. Especially if what’s going on is a foreign element, inviting me to change.

If you celebrate the Jewish holidays, I hope you have a sweet and healthy new year, and enjoy another good year of life and health.

That’s the question of the week: What or who calls you to change?

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