ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (part 1)
I often welcome change. I also can dread change. Sometimes I feel both at once.
When I was young, my mom tried to change me. I am an introvert and she is an extrovert. She didn’t see introversion as a plus. She thought that signing me up for a lot group interactions would help me be more like her.
She put me into a lot of situations that felt strange and unnatural. It wasn’t always fun, but it was interesting. It had some pluses. I didn’t become the extrovert she hoped for, but I did learn to thrive on my own even when being repeatedly dipped into random situations.
When I was in middle school mom got serious about it. She signed me up for both square dancing and tap dance classes, as well as about 5 other activities. The square dancing was 98% adults, the tap dancing was 99% kindergarten girls. The square dance lessons ended in a masquerade dance – where my preteen partner and I dressed as giant hats with faces on our bellies (I’m pretty sure that wasn’t my idea!). Like learning to square dance wasn’t mortifying enough at that age!
Thankfully there are no pictures that I’m aware of.
As for the tap class, it was actually fun to learn, but then we had a recital. That was brutal. I was tall for my age. My natural dislike of being in the spotlight was much worse as a giant ‘Gulliver’ among adorable little people. Luckily they never toppled me. I survived and I still remember part of what I learned in that class – how to shuffle ~~ball ~~ change!
I have a lot of variety in my life by choice these days. My job has me moving to different locations and working with different people daily and I do like that. But I also do pretty much the same actual work every day. I like the repetition too. I like to keep some stability and rituals while staying open to new options and new ways of thinking.
I often make changes in a cycle – cyclical improvements. When I try something like camping, travel, cooking etc. I pay attention to what works and doesn’t work. Afterward I’ll evaluate what went right or wrong and what could could be left out or added next time to improve things. Long before I became orchestrator I would write down notes about my week after camp with ideas to improve my next camp. I still do that, but now I have a personal list and an orchestrator list.
(Now that I have this blog I’ll probably share that orchestrator list here after camp.)
Hopefully my experiments with camp are less impromptu and less painful.
I am curious, but that’s not all. When I make a change at camp I always have a reason. I’m hopeful and idealistic. As orchestrator I’ve done some experiments and tweaks based on my own observations and my vision for camp.
I’m an observer and a puzzle solver. Camp is one big beautiful puzzle. I love camp the way it is, and I love to imagine it blossoming. We can become better as the years pass, more vibrant and inclusive and meaningful.
What is your relationship to change?
Do you notice and worry about each change at camp (or in your life), or do you love the changes?
Of the changes at camp, you’ve probably missed some, whether you were at camp the last few years or not. This is the first of a series of blog entries about change – what changed and why and what changes come next. Stay tuned for more.
Hang out with people who are capable of making a commitment to you and your life, and who require that you make a commitment to theirs. Hang out with people who care about you, with people who need you to develop and who say so. Make such a commitment and don’t break that bond until you and all beings are perfect.
—Reb Anderson, “In It Together”