This book by Richard A. Heckler, subtitled “A New Psychology of the Unexpected”, is about change in a big way. It’s about those events that have the powert to totally transform your life. The events can be big or small, trivial or life-threatening, mystical or practical, but they fundamentally alter the people to whom they happen.
The strongest feature of the book is quite simply actual stories of this happening. Told partially in the words of the people involved and partially by the author, these stories are downright gripping. From Karl, a former drug dealer turned minister, to Rebecca who discovers her strengths and leadership abilities on board a small boat close to sinking in a ferocious storm.
The author breaks down the journey into five parts:
The slumber: This is the trance of erveryday life, before any change occurs.
The call: Some event intrudes on the slumber, and the adventure begins unexpectedly.
Incubation: You assimilate what has happened. Your attitude to many things may have changed, and this takes som adjustment.
Search for meaning: What happened? Why? Why to me? What should I do about it? In the face os such change, we want to know what it means.
The leap: This is when you act accordingly. This is when you make the decision that may turn your life around completely.
An integral part of this journey that I found very interesting is Isolation. It seems that a period of being alone and separated from your “normal” life is very important, and is either a part of the process or will happen as a result of it. An analogue example to this is found in various tribes who, as part of their manhood rituals, send the boys away to let them return as men.
Another interesting subject that pops up in the book is openness. Actually experiencing these events, and subsequently acting on it, requires openness. As you will know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, I like openness :o)
The idea of change on such a scale in human lives is interesting, and this book offers many interesting stories of it. The theory behind it is not very prevalent in the book, and I would suspect that very little science as yet exists in this area.
If you’d like to explore life-change on a smaller more day-to-day scale, I recommend the book “Change” by Paul Watzlawick. It examines when and why people change, and when they resist change.