Thursday, March 8, 2012


I taught my first 5-day "Learning to Design" workshop February 22-26th with 25 ladies attending. I had all levels of quilters from confident beginners to students had a teacher who was thrilled to be there but was doing this particular workshop for the first time.

By the second day it was obvious that many of my students were waaay out of their comfort zone. I could feel it and wasn't quite sure how to "fix it" other than to talk about it as a group which helped immensely. By day three many were more comfortable and venturing forth into new and uncharted territory...others were very comfortable taking smaller baby steps on smaller projects. Overall I think every person in that room, including myself, had gone through some sort of change but didn't understand what...until Sunday (our last day).

Marti Zenker has been a student of mine for a couple of years now and is one of my favorites (don't tell the others!). She is a 3rd grade teacher at a special academy for gifted children and she has her hands full keeping up with them. Sunday morning she spoke to me about the concept of "Disequilibrium" and it touched me so deeply I asked her to share it with the entire class...and she did. You could have heard a pin drop in the room while she was speaking as each and every person in the room could relate to this word and it perfectly described what they had gone through during the included.

"Disequilibrium" is being out of balance...teetering uncomfortably while you are carefully making your way across the top of that old picket fence in your yard...trying to make it safely across without falling.

Most of us go through life trying to stay in balance. We are very happy in our comfort zone. We have our routines, our friends, our jobs, etc. Life isn't like that though...we are constantly being offered new challenges and things that make us uncomfortable. It might be learning a new skill, starting a new job, having to speak before a large group. More often than not we will "beat around the bush" trying to avoid having to do this new thing...we might find a million other things to do before addressing having to do this new and uncomfortable task. We may find ourselves getting agitated, angry and uncomfortable. We could find ourselves going shopping, eating or taking a walk. It can be a hundred different things we do to avoid doing this "new and challenging thing".

Once we take the bull by the horns and dive in and actually conquer that "new and uncomfortable thing", we are Marti put it, "you will be given wings and fly". There will be no stopping you. This is exactly what happened during the workshop and it happened to each and every single person and each in their own way. We were all out of our comfort zone...we all got uncomfortable...and we all worked our way thru it...and we are off and flying.

Hugs, Cindy


regan said...

I think everyone can definitely relate to that feeling, especially in a quilting class! I can imagine after the 1st day, how awkward some felt with what they were trying to do. New techniques in quilting aren't that easy to 'get' sometimes. What a blessing your friend could some it up so well, and put everyone at ease, and now they are flying! Sweet!

Thanks for sharing this!

Linda said...

Thank you so much for this post. I now have a word to describe what I've been feeling lately!

Terri said...

Disequilibrium is state your brain is in when it is learning something brand new and different. You feel a little off kilter, uncomfortable, unsure, and lots of other "uns". If you don't feel that disequilibrium then your brain isn't actively learning. My disequilibrium manifested itself in me sitting quietly at my table staring at my project. I realized after the fact that my braing was attempting to distill what I had just learned into what my next step would be.

mimi said...

How very true!