Transition and emotions

Transition and emotions

Over the years I've written over 200 Reach articles, and this will be my last one. My time at OCUUC is quickly coming to a close. This transition brings about lots of emotions for me - gratitude, sadness, nostalgia, and excitement - all rolled in one.

The famous therapist Virginia Satir created what we now refer to as the Satir Change Model:

  1. You start off with the Status Quo. Things are humming along predictably, everything is familiar.
  2. Then a Foreign Element appears. It could be a new thought, an incident, something you heard on the radio - literally anything that comes in to disrupt the Status Quo. In this case, the Foreign Element is turning in my resignation to pursue my work as an adoptive parent coach.
  3. The next stage is Chaos - which is the stage we are all in right now regarding the Music Director job. The search committee is searching for applicants, Susan S and Steve M are stepping in until one is found, and I am navigating a graceful exit. This stage is awkward and presents new difficulties than we are used to. But it's a very necessary part of Change.
  4. Awareness of Choice is the next stage. This is the fork in the road where some people revert back to the Status Quo, and others use their tool of Awareness to think of new solutions. We are all on the cusp of this stage relating to my job. We're each crafting a new paradigm - the church is redesigning their music ministries and I'm launching my new career. Things will be different - some things will be worse, some things will be better - and there are many choices along the way out of that Chaos stage that we can make. Let us conscientiously move forward with Courage and Wisdom.
  5. The next stage is Integration/Practice. The new changes need to be integrated through repetition and conscious intentions. This is where the rubber meets the road. This stage requires some flexibility, discipline, and hope. Without dedicated work in this stage, it's very easy to revert back to old behavior or to become resentful of the Foreign Element.
  6. And lastly, we come to a New Status Quo, which, after a while, will feel just as good or better than the previous Status Quo. We will become comfortable in our new situations until a new Foreign Element comes along. Perhaps when OCUUC's new music director is hired this whole cycle will repeat itself.

I find this Change Model to be very helpful when I'm in that uncomfortable Chaos phase. Knowing that it's a natural part of change gives me the drive to keep going forward.

I am so grateful for all the many wonderful experiences I've had here at OCUUC, the amazing people I've met here, the lessons I've learned, and the musical skills I've honed in this role. Whoever comes after me is very lucky, and I know you will all ride this wave of change like champions.

I will be keeping my distance from the church for a year, to allow time and space for the new leaders to find their footing. After my last day - September 10 - my church email will be re-routed to Steve M and Susan S. You are in very good hands with these two amazing musicians and leaders!

You will remain in my heart, and I hope you continue using music to drop down into your heart. I care deeply for this congregation, and I wish you all the best.

Musically Yours,
Beth Syverson, Director of Music Ministries

Beth Syverson was Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church's Director of Music Ministries for 22 years.

Wrapping Up