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Federal Government Manager
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author, A Theory of Everything

How to Thrive by Tuning In to the Ever-Changing Pace of your Life

By Mara Grbenick

When you want to feel more ease and joy in your life or work, I’ll help you become more of who you need to be to make the change you seek. Whether it’s changing a job or career, initiating a project or enterprise, or reevaluating life as a new parent, I’ll help you know your next move and make it confidently. While working in financial services, I began a years-long process of discovering and creating the work I feel alive doing. I launched my coaching practice as I became a mother for the first time. I’m Mara (she/her/hers); I’m here to support the rise of the feminine through my work as a coach, birth doula and mother. I live in the unceded territory of the Wabanaki Confederacy in Portland, Maine with my husband, daughter and son. More about my work at: www.maragrbenick.com.

I’m practicing getting from here to there in my own time. Taking time to rest, to wander, to reconnect is non-negotiable in my life even though modern life can leave us feeling like there are few opportunities to slow down, to detour, to get lost.

I’m following life’s cues to know when to change pace, because while high energy times can be outwardly productive and gratifying, the slower, less directed phases of my life have a vital purpose too.

By following your life’s cues—the subtle ones that are like whispers or nudges, not just the ones that knock you flat—and through the questions I’ll share with you in this article, you can identify the phase you’re in and gain clarity about how to move ahead. 

In our Integral Coaching® Method, one of the things we provide is a model of how all things cycle over time through static and dynamic ways of operating. Both static and dynamic have distinct qualities, energies and outputs that we can associate with what is occurring in our lives.

Static phases share the qualities of consistency, equilibrium, and stasis. They help us feel grounded and allow us to mature and deepen our root structures. Static is the home of stable schedules and solid routines. When a static phase is nearing completion, a tension arises that attracts or calls for its counterpoint. If consistency and routine have become stagnant, moving toward a dynamic phase is in order.

Dynamic phases help us feel free and actively contribute to the world. They are recognizable by their liveliness and a drive to awaken, grow and explore. When a dynamic state is nearing completion, it can begin to feel frantic and unmoored, and there can be a corresponding urge to seek stability through a static phase. This static-dynamic tension exists at every moment we seek change or to create something new.

In my early twenties, I started my career as an analyst on Wall Street on a sustainability-focused initiative; it was good, interesting work, but when I put on my skirt suit and swiped my badge to enter the elevator bank each day, I felt like I was putting on a costume. I wanted my work and the rest of life to complement each other in ways that made me inspired, generative, and impactful.

For me, I had predictability and work I could count on but felt bored, stifled, and ready for something else. My life felt pulled to more space and freedom to explore—to a more dynamic phase. Using static-dynamic operating patterns, we can determine where we are, appreciate the challenges and benefits of that place, and clarify the kinds of actions that will move us in our intended direction.

I took time to just be, traveled for a few months and followed my curiosity freely. This could have been a wildly destabilizing period, but it wasn’t—and that’s key. Making an informed choice about what kind of action you need to take next builds potential in a way that going ahead in your usual operating mode won’t.

My static time to “just be” was distinct from the dynamic period just before it. As the cadence of my days slowed, there was less urgency to produce. I naturally began to process accumulated experience and take in new wisdom. Fresh ideas emerged and I had time to gather and gestate them.  

And then at some point I was ready to move, to bring something into form, at which point I felt myself moving into a dynamic phase.

Cycling between static and dynamic phases is needed because ideas, change, growth and results are born of varying energy and intensity.

The tension between static and dynamic creates the momentum you want to feel across a day and in your life, coaching topics, and creative endeavors. Like seasons—we live through each one to begin again.

Your Turn: Are you feeling the call to something new in your life? Try out this static-dynamic assessment to get clarity about the phase you’re in and what’s next that will ease your way.

Identifying your current phase

Use this assessment to determine whether your life (or project, or endeavor) is in static or dynamic—and the next action that is right for you.

To begin, think of something you’re engaged with that is meaningful or topical for you right now. With it in mind, use these criteria to assess and note the current phase and potentially arising phase that you’re moving towards:

Pace: Lately, have I been going about this endeavor in a slower or more meandering way (static); or am I moving more vigorously and quickly (dynamic)?

Visibility: Have my actions towards this endeavor been quieter, subtle, and internal (static); or bolder, more obvious, and predominantly external (dynamic)?

Outcome: Has my primary focus been on receiving input (static); or generating output (dynamic)?

Considering pace, visibility, and outcome, what phase are you in?

Noting your phase, you’ll now want to consider your next right action, which will either be to hold steady or to make a shift. To determine if your current way of operating is working in support of the change you want to bring about, ask yourself:

  • Do I want to deepen into where I am (static) or move forward in some way (dynamic)?
  • Do I want to gather and process some more (static) or bring things to fruition (dynamic)?
  • Are the actions I’m taking aligned with what I say I desire or want more of?
  • Knowing your current phase and your sense of how it is currently serving you, you can confidently be where you are and know what is needed to progress.What is one action you can take that would support the deepening, shift or change you desire?

How is your current phase sitting with you?

Remember, each phase has a purpose and is valuable. Rest into the ease of knowing that with this new awareness you have information to help you discern your next step. You might start by listing the actions, people and resources that will help you embrace the phase you’re in with understanding and self-acceptance.

My work hiatus confirmed that I can rely on my instinct about my own timing—and the value of strategic inaction—but first I had to make the next right decision.

I still embrace the times when I toil inwardly or below the surface, because these static phases lead eventually to realized outcomes and a more full, vibrant life. With expanded awareness of the interplay of static and dynamic, you too will feel more clear, confident and directed even when the discomfort of a coming phase change is surfacing.

We all have access to the generative power of static and dynamic phases in our evolution. Remembering this reconnects us to the inherent worthiness of each phase and the knowing that we can choose a path forward that includes and honors active living and gentle being.

Special thanks to Michael Lamberti for his generous coaching and insights which helped me refine my thinking and write with accuracy.

 
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