A Blythe Coach

Change in the Air: Out of Ruts, Into Action

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes are happening, from the inauguration of a new president in the US, vaccinations coming out for the deadly pandemic that has swept the planet, a new calendar year, all of us having had to radically change our lives in some way, recently, if not in every way.

The change process is an area I’m glad to have become an expert in, over the course of the inevitable changes in my life as well as specific training I have  sought. Leaving home at 15 for ballet conservatory and a career in the performing arts, higher education and coaching, numerous moves (rooms, houses, states and countries), and many other life experiences have taught me how to navigate, even enjoy, change. 

Snowy train tracks in Cologne, Germany
Ready or not, here it comes

It can be uncomfortable, sometimes even harrowing, but an unavoidable part of life nonetheless. We are all faced with changes, involuntary and chosen. I would argue that unless we can learn to ride the waves of change, we can’t revel in the ups and downs of life.

Often change comes to greet us whether we like it or not, even tragically in the moment, and we have to summon all of our resources to get through. 

Sometimes we crave and need change, because we are stuck in a block of inaction or in a rut of ineffective action.

In either case, I am here to help you find clarity, powerful action, transformation and joy! Today I’m sharing about the process of change from the books Making Connections** by Peggy Hackney and The Creative Habit** by Twyla Tharp, and I also use tools from The Artist’s Way** and Accomplishment Coaching, among other sources. And, I offer coaching sessions with yours truly in order to launch these processes into action.

Achieving Goals is a Process of Change

I am struck by how in expounding on Bartenieff Movement Fundamentals, Hackney connects the process of changing our fundamental movement patterns with the process of change in life, especially in that we need to “Remember that achieving our goals is a process of change,” and there are a number of “Steps in the Change Process:” 

  1. Notice what you are already doing.
  2. Accept what you are doing and how it serves you.
  3. Know what it is that you want to do, your intent.
  4. Clarify your intent even further (use imagery, work from movement principles, let your whole body be involved in the movement, tune-in to your own emotional feelings as you move, work with the space around you)
  5. Give yourself a lot of time and many different situations in which to practice your new pattern.
  6. Know that change is a process. “It will be ongoing. Change may surprise you! Many times the first reaction to a new way of moving or an absence of tension is a kind of shock and a feeling of residual tensions in other body parts (sometimes even pain in the area which had been holding tension). This is often a part of the process. You might want to check with your Fundamentals Practitioner if you are concerned.” (Making Connections** p.24-6)

If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty of clarifying your intent, I go into those details in Podcast 036: Change Your Movement Patterns, Improve Your Technique.

Blocks, Ruts, & Grooves

Twyla Tharp explains the distinction between finding one’s groove and being stuck blocked or in a rut:

“A rut is when you’re spinning your wheels and staying in place; the only progress you make is in digging yourself a deeper rut. A groove is different. The wheels turn and you move forward effortlessly… A rut is not writer’s block (or any other creative block). When you’re in a rut, at least you know your motor is running. Writer’s block means your engine has shut down and the tank is empty. Being blocked is most often a failure of nerves, with only one solution: Do something–anything.” (The Creative Habit** p.185)

Tharp further distinguishes, “Dealing with ruts is a three-step process of seeing, believing, and repairing […] First you have to see the rut […] Second, admit you’re in a rut. This is harder than it sounds. It requires an admission that you’ve made a mistake […] The third step is getting out of the rut. This is the hard part. Knowing and admitting a problem are not the same as solving it. But executing a solution is also the fun part, because the solution saves you and gets you moving again.” (The Creative Habit** p.188-9)

Coaching to Catalyze Positive Change

So in order to create the positive changes we want for our lives, we need to see the reality of what has happened and will happen if we continue on the same course, and change our context and actions to create the change we wish for. This sort of transformation is possible through radical support. 

Coaching is a potent tool when you know you seek change and have some sense of what you want to create, but you would like support in the how of being who you need to be to do what it takes to make it happen. We can coach ourselves to a degree, an accountability buddy and awareness of our other personal resources goes a long way too, and working with a personal coach can also be a game-changer. Schedule a complimentary coaching session using my Calendly Calendar here to identify your powerful Essence, design a Project Plan, or recover from a Breakdown in one of your goals or projects. This can be a one-time session to help you understand coaching and make progress, or you may decide that ongoing coaching could be for you or someone you know. No pressurized sales here, I just want to be here to hear about what you dream of accomplishing and help it become real!

Related Resources
I implement intentional change in my life with the help of my bullet journal, and in this video I set up this year’s spreads and then walk through January

In a related A Blythe Coach Podcast from 2020, 019: Tourner – turning, rotation, & creative U-turns – Classical Ballet Technique in theory & practice, I also quote Julia Cameron, who in The Artist’s Way** explains, “In dealing with our creative U-turns, we must first of all extend ourselves some sympathy. Creativity is scary, and in all careers there are U-turns. Sometimes these U-turns are best viewed as recycling times. We come up to a creative jump, run out from it like a skittish horse, then circle the field a few times before trying the fence again…A successful creative career is always built on successful creative failures.”

Podcasts 009: Resilience, 031: Healthy Habit-Building, 032: Theme, Vision, and Project Planning for 2021, 034: Goal-Setting for Dancers (& Humans) and this week’s, 036: Change Your Movement Patterns, Improve Your Technique, also discuss related themes, as does the Healthy Habit-Building YouTube Video.

For a bit of fun, I also created a “Change in the Air Music” playlist on Spotify, with tracks where the music changes over the course of the song, and others around themes of change, lyrically or rhythmically. More to come on time in an upcoming blog about time as an Element of Dance!

What changes have you made and experienced so far this year? Send me a message or click over to the @ABlytheCoach on Facebook to share the transformation you’re creating.

Blythe Stephens
She/her or they/them
A Blythe Coach: 
move through life with balance, grace, & power

** This blog is not sponsored. Amazon Affiliate links potentially give me a percentage of the purchase price.

2 thoughts on “Change in the Air: Out of Ruts, Into Action

  1. Pingback: How I coach dancers & creatives through difficulty | A Blythe Coach

  2. Pingback: On Balance - Practicing the Process of Dancing with Equilibrium | A Blythe Coach

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