Dancing This Big Arc of Change

What does change require of us? I feel wobbly when all the pieces on the game board seem to be in motion. Change happens on the body level. Even when new directions are perfectly in order, when we have to move our cells, muscles, and the collective mind into a common action…well…it demands a lot from us. Want change? Yes. Want to do the work? Hmmmmmm…

Hey, I have an idea… I’ll dream up changes and you do the work. Naaaaaa. I know that you are not going to go for that idea. We’re in this together.

Those who improvise know that an improvisation appears to arise in an instant. Yet, this is an illusion. Every moment is a culmination of forces, generations, intentional and unintentional habits, future dreams, and life’s endless matrix of relationships. The laws of physics, morality, and human neurology are never absent.  There is great momentum in what appears to be a whim. A dance magically manifests out of the joyous rigor of consistent practice, of consistent practioners.

The arc of change for creating and sustaining embodied, free people arises from devotion. What keeps us at the task of co-creating? What and who are we devoted to?

When we make changes in life it requires everything of us: marry, start a job, have a child, move, begin a relationship, start a practice, begin an art, and I often say to myself, “See you in three years.” It takes that long for a body to make adjust. To make a family with a child every other year or so can easily require five to ten years of child raising. I release friends who are raising families to do that work. Those moving to a new area will give most of their energy to build relationships. Small businesses recognize that the first three years are often without profit. At five years, you’ll see if what you have is sustainable. The more changes you make the more patience is required to see results.

Developing mastery as an artist is a long-term affair. In Asia I have heard of artists who do not expect to see the results of their labors in their lifetime. They are devoted to an arc of creativity that far outlasts them. Watch mature artists and see the effortlessness of the hand to the bow, the brush on the paper, the words leaping off the page. This grace does not only rise from the effort they put into the art. It also arises from the studio, the familiar patterns, and the steadiness of showing up in a familiar place. The support they receive from those who love them. These can be overlooked as some of an artist’s greatest tools.

If we want to create something that will affect the larger world, a world where the pull of constant change and incessant media influence every waking hour, we need foundations to support us to keep showing up and acting on our devotion.

Twenty years of InterPlaying, thirty years of intentional partnering with Phil and my husband Stephen sustain my vision. I do not take dedication or ongoing resources for granted. Whatever we are called to create on a large scale will require the foundation, patience, connection to spirit, and collective wisdom of the body that exceeds any one person’s ken

Meanwhile, I glory in the beauty that we create right now, being just who we are. This moment is everything in the big arc of change.

Changes are afoot…an elbow, and more…

Glad we can play.


2 Responses to Dancing This Big Arc of Change

  1. Cynthia,
    You write of “artists who do not expect to see the results of their labors in their lifetime.” Thank you for passing along the wisdom that their “arc of creativity” outlasts them! This reminds me of the Jewish saying by Rabbi Tarfon, “It is not your responsibility to finish the work (of perfecting the world), but you are not free to desist from it.”
    I needed this reminder.
    Take care,

  2. Meri Walker says:


    Gretchen just forwarded this posting to me today and after meeting you, I’m so delighted to “hear” your voice in print, too. What a graceful stroke you’ve made here on the big subject of change! It nourishes me today to hear your humor and, at the same time, to hear the tenor of seriousness in your message.

    Namaste. All elbows and ankles for me right now…

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