The enso. A circle.
The symbol is taken from Zen Buddhism, and is interpreted as “absolute enlightenment,” “strength,” or “elegance.”
It may be drawn so that the circle is closed, or open; my preference–as shown here–is the latter. A closed circle is a symbol of perfection, and I don’t believe any of us ever achieves that. Open, it reflects the possibility of continuing movement and development. I do believe that possibility exists for each of us.
This week I posted a version of this essay on my Change Mentor blog; it was my last posting there. It is also a time of new beginnings; with this essay I begin my posting here. The enso perfectly represents that for me as well.
I graduated with a BA in cultural anthropology; my area of study was Native American cultures. It was here that I first learned the symbolism of the circle: the sun, the moon, the cycle of the seasons, birth-life-death-birth.
As a graduate student, I once received this assignment: draw my “life line,” figuratively illustrating key moments in my life. The life line I drew was conical in shape, starting at the bottom with my birth and spiraling upward and outward. I realized even then that my life is not a line, but an ever-spiraling circle.
I think that is true for all of us. As we grow, we tend to become more expansive. We change. At times, we even transform. And as we do, the “I” that we become both contains all that we contained before, and has become something more. The “I” who was a student then is not the “I” who is a student now and still lives within us; both the past and the present student live on that life spiral, but in very different places and in very different ways. The same can be said for the “I” as a professional, the “I” as a friend, the “I” in relationship, and so forth.
Clearly, there was something about this symbolism that resonated with me back in the early 1970’s…and it still does today. For me, the circles left by the brush as the enso is drawn reflect that life spiral. It grows wider and fuller and richer. But it isn’t complete. There is still room for movement and development, for further enlightenment, for greater strength, for more discernment and elegance in our lives.
Over the past year I have trained, and am now an ICF (International Coach Federation) Certified Professional Coach. For many years I worked as a change consultant, and then as a change mentor. Now, I am serving as a change coach. My clients are facing major change–transformational change–for themselves and, sometimes, for the organizations they lead. I am excited about the work that I have already done as a coach. And, I am excited to now step more fully and publicly into this role. In doing so, I have launched this website. Here you will find more information on my coaching, the public change workshops and webinars that I am offering. and a download of my first eBook, providing an overview of the Universal Change Journey that we each take many times in our lives.
Coaching is one change journey I am on…and there is another. When I began my exploration of change, there was no change management profession; there was very little understanding of the psychology of humans in response to major disruptions in their lives. Today, the world abounds with principles, and methodologies, and tools. We are learning more by the hour from experts not only in change management, but in such diverse fields as neuroscience, organizational development, and coaching. And for me, one of the most important lessons of all this research is all change is personal. There is no possibility of meaningful and lasting organizational change without personal change. There is no meaningful and lasting social change without personal change. All change is personal. I have recently become a contributor to Change Management Review. My work there is through a lens of all change is personal. How do change practitioners–no matter their field, no matter whether they are working with a small business or driving massive social change–take all that we know at the personal level, and apply it in these broader contexts? I will be posting my Change Management Review articles, and links to my other work for them, here as well.
Thank you for joining me on this TransformingLives.Coach journey!