Invisible Loyalties

Some of the ways we may be tempted to limit our transition “for others”.

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Hidden Attachments to the past

Getting real with our own relocalization and “transition” can be difficult, even scary, for the people we care about. That's stressful for them and for you. Almost all folks transitioning to a more sustainable way of life face this conflict to some degree, and for many it's a prime limiting factor in what we allow ourselves to do. The result is our relocalization efforts take paralyzingly long to happen in a time when we don't have a great deal of time. Or its wings are clipped limiting our flight or stopping it altogether.

Here are some of the ways we may be tempted to limit our transition “for others”. Does any of this look familiar? 

  • We may resist change because we want to stay loyal to our spouses. They married us a particular way after all. If we change the status quo, will we be hurting them? Will they continue to love us? What will change do to the status quo in the home?
  • Most of us are still loyal to our parents, for good reason. We learned, and learned deep in our tissues, primary lessons about who and how to be from them when we were very young. It's what humans do. Loyalty to their ways, whether those ways were functional or not, underlies many or most behaviours that are resistant to change. Our allegiance to our parent's ways is so pervasive it's often, if not usually, difficult to see the bottom of it. It’s easy to “know” about this tendency while not recognizing how many of our behaviours and thinking are still connected to what we learned through the air when very young.
  • Relocalization and transition can feel like we're betraying our country too. Other citizens will see us as being unpatriotic, not respectful of the values of the past as they're understood today. The political stand-off in contemporary American politics hints at the fervour with which identity is tied up with patriotism. At the personal level we feel painfully the risks of being labelled a “bad” citizen. 
  • We're loyal to our kids and unspoken promises made to them. We want to give them the success that our society holds out for them and that they've come to expect. We're loathe to break the news, to them and ourselves, that this entitlement might not be forthcoming because of a changing economic, environmental, and political climate.
  • We're loyal to our jobs. We've formed a deep contract, often born of a literal contract, with the mores and culture of our jobs. As well we've formed deep alliances with our co-workers. Stepping outside of that feels like we're letting the team down.


There's a strong alliance to Team Family, Team Country, Team Workplace, to not letting the team down! These alliances sit in the background and we give them little conscious attention even as we bump up against them when we consider changing the status quo. They slow us down or stop us altogether. 


Up against that is our own perception, one that might be overwhelming, that real change is coming. I’m sure you know it! It's a perception that may be intellectual, formed by the inevitable mathematics of expanding resource use in a finite world, an intuitive hunch that’s become gobsmackingly obvious, the result of years of study - or just something that’s become self-evident in your own journey of understanding. However it comes, when you see it you see it and there's no going back to unseeing it.

This loyalty to those we love, seemingly pitted against being true to ourselves, is another way of describing the demands of the past up against those of the future.

What do you do with this?

In 2012 I’ll explore in detail my view of the territory as we explore the “inside job” of transition, including the “how to” as much as that can be said. Here enough to suggest that the challenges are very real, that it’s normal to have them, that they are individual in the way they show up, uniquely ours.

I’ll add that a friendly and curious attitude toward them helps too. So does “the key”, making our own actions when we must, for the good of the whole.


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