oCoC: Peace and change

Jürgen von der Lippe: Guten Morgen, liebe Sorgen

On the complexity of change

Hey, Friend,

I woke up this morning and the first four lines of a song played in my mind.

Guten Morgen, liebe Sorgen
Seid ihr auch schon alle da?
Habt ihr auch so gut geschlafen?
Na dann ist ja alles klar.

Good morning, my dear worries. Are you all here already? Did you sleep as well as I did? Alright then, everything is clear.

What are we doing with the complexity of change, if it is not just any problem, but we are right in the middle of it? Maybe we see ourselves as the problem? We are one of the actors in this nonlinear process of complex change? And using technical terms does not make it better. We suffer. We feel the process is out of control. Maybe we are not the problem? Maybe somebody else is behind it? Maybe everybody else is behind it? We are overwhelmed. Nothing we do makes it better. Perhaps we get angry, perhaps we get anxious. It’s all too much. Nothing makes sense anymore. We keep trying to react. And react frantically. Our energy is draining. Exhausted. Tired. Low, low energy. We force ourselves to go back to the problem, to tackle it one more time. Or not. We ignore. We avoid. We give up. No end and no solution in sight. 

What a bleak picture. I have been in pictures like that. Pictures like that are imprinted on my mind. And the problem-solving I began to describe – the overcoming of a hurdle between the current state and the goal state – just does not seem to work. In a picture like that, it feels like problem-solving does not even apply. We feel we were treated poorly and unfairly at work, and it hurts. A loved one is in silent or loud pain. We have seen the pain too late and feel we have a part in it. We drive on a busy road. Somebody cuts in right in front of us. We brake. And feel like nobody his ever seen or heard us. No end and no solution in sight?

What am I going to do? With all these problems I have described so vaguely? The answer surprised me. Nothing. Now. Do nothing now. I have looked at the problem. I have tackled the problem. The problem didn’t budge, did not change for the better, didn’t just disappear. I cannot avoid it. What am I going to is the wrong question at this moment. What am I going to be is the better question. The problem is complex and my being overwhelmed does not help me control the process. Looking back, my being overwhelmed made it worse. 

It’s a matter of perception. You have looked outward. At the problem. At the others who are part of it. At yourself from the outside. Now is the time to look inward. Give your mind the peace it needs. Calm. Rest. Rhythm. Perceive the calm energy we all have. Breathe. Feel your breath. Feel your heart. Feel your body. Relax. Focus on your breath.

And when you return from your meditation, the problems – or do you have just one? – were waiting for you. Problems tend to be persistent and patient. And so can you be. With your peaceful mind, you can change the problem. You can change the world. Calmly. One problem at the time.

oCoC: Perception of change

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

On the complexity of change

Hey, Friend,

Change the lane. Change your life. Work for change. Change is the only constant. 

In your head, have you been adding more lines with the word change? Did you hear them? They are used so often and sound like clichés, phrases hollowed out by frequent use. Everything changes; we change everything. I believe that little and large change events are more frequent than the tiny events of talking about change. Maybe that’s why I am writing the blog on the complexity of change?

This imbalance between how very often change happens, is initiated, affects our life at different levels and how less often we talk about change, reflect on it, are mindful of it looks like a problem of perception to me, among other equally important perspectives. So, what are we looking at? Change. The activist and author adrienne maree brown sees two types of change: shocks and slides. She says we should deal with shocks differently than with slides. I believe we perceive them differently, too. Of course, change happens at different levels and strata. Changes in the body, in each of our personal lives, in our close circle, in our community, in society, in this world, and in the universe. As I am writing this in March 2022, rockets with celebreties are shot into near space and some folk book their dwelling lot on Mars, the war in Ukraine has been added to the many atrocities in this world before the pandemic subsided, people of different camps and echo chambers in the US are divided over yesterday’s battles and uncooperation is one factor that drives up prices, traffic density is clogging the streets of San Diego again and people either fear masks or masklessness, relationships in the family are redefined, there is a backlog of work for me not only from COVID, and my hair is getting grayer and thinner and grows more slowly. Do we – do I – perceive change as negative? Not really. We have a negativity bias; we remember negative events, change that we perceive as negative, more and better. Psychologists tell me it is an evolutionary feature we have. It used to help us survive. When we perceive the shocks and slides we perceive them as positive or negative. I often judge – immediately when perceiving. When I take the time to reflect on my perception on a change of a smaller or larger scale, I realize the change itself is neither positive nor negative in and of itself. For me. Buddhists say it is empty. Change – as anything else and both the shocks and slides – is just a container that our mind fills with our individual positive or negative meaning instantaneously when we perceive it. Change does not have such meaning in and of itself. Does this sound strange? It did to me for a long time and it still happens at times. Why? Perceiving of change and filling it with positivity or negativity is such a quick succession, it feels like the change has had that meaning from the very time we noticed it. But it did not. We perceive change first and then our mind imbues it, fills it with meaning. One happens very soon after the other, but there is a short break, a little crack in time. We can use that crack to let the light in, reflect. If you need more time, you can widen the crack by postponing giving any meaning to the change you perceived. And that brings us back to shocks and slides and to how they are perceived differently.

In the next post …

pre: The homepage

I have updated Panta Rhei‘s homepage … and thought let me send it out also.


Thank you for coming by. Is it the blog that got you interested? Where you googling Panta Rhei? Are you thinking a lot about complexity and change? Have a look ’round and feel free to get in touch.

Chris and I started this site and blog in late 2019. We both like writing, and talking, about the complexities and simplicities of life, about working in groups and leadership, and about learning and teaching both in the chaotic and the virtual worlds. We both have years of experience in language and communication, education and training, management and leadership. We wanted to share our ideas, our expertise, and our insight with a wider audience. Worth a try, we thought. A lot has happened since then. Both of us are working full time. Chris started dedicating his time to narrating audio books. I have put more emphasis on my writing per se. Learning new things, joining writing groups and courses, …

What is happening here?

Years of learning, reading, listening, experiencing, doing, reflecting, leading, following, smiling, crying, talking, writing, … Then it was time to share, time for this site, time for this blog:

On the complexity of change

Most of nature is complex. Most of society is complex. Human behavior is complex. And, as the cliché has it, the only constant is change. And this change is not linear. Sometimes it seems we soar ahead, sometimes it feels like we walk ’round in circles, and sometimes we are taken for a ride. On a rollercoaster. It is this complexity of change that I am exploring, that I am relfecting on. One blog post at the time. Thinking about it, learning about Chaos Theory, Complexity Science, Dynamic Systems Theory, I have now done for 15 years.

Under this topic, I blog about timely concepts, practices, and reflections, which I believe to be relevant to trainers, teachers, coaches, mentors, and, of course, learners.

RoLL: Research on learning and language

Look around a bit more. Or why not join the growing group of people who follow the Panta Rhei Blog? [In case you are wondering, the relevant button is in the top-right corner of each page or underneath the text and comment box, if you are reading this on your phone.]

The posts Chris wrote on the BASE model are also still available.

Get in Touch

If you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, comment right on the page or post or send a quick email to matschulze7980@gmail.com. I live and work in Southern California. If you happen to be in the area and would like to meet, again an email is good.

Find the contact details and social media handles on a separate page.

Panta Rhei – everything flows and changes, and so does this site. Come back again. Wishing you a wonderful day.

Connected forest lake in Algonquin Park
Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada
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