It only takes a moment to change the whole world.
A sudden change can rearrange our mental and emotional landscape, raise new things into focus, shed different light on the familiar, move earlier preoccupations into the background and force us to re-evaluate our lives, values and priorities.
It can feel exciting, alarming and disorientating.
My Dad had a stroke 2 weeks ago. Suddenly, we were confronted with challenges of communication, especially over the phone at a distance. Dad’s health that we had taken so much for granted was suddenly threatened. Even a few slurred words felt miraculous.
Our central heating broke down last week. Suddenly we were confronted with the challenges of staying warm in the freezing weather. The heating system we had paid no attention to became the centre of attention and concern - and rejoicing when it was repaired.
In Gestalt psychology, this phenomenon is about changes in perspective, alterations in what we notice (figure) and what lies in the background, out of awareness (ground). It’s about paradigm shifts, a marked transition in what we perceive and experience.
Advent draws our attention to a moment, a cosmic kairos, a world changing event, the arrival of Christ. An encounter with him is deep impact, reeling drama, a healing crisis. It can shake, disorientate and re-orientate our whole lives.
May God grant you a special encounter, an inspiring Christmas and a Spirit-filled new year.
Nick Wright is a coach and consultant, specialising in reflective practice.