By Amy Stewart, LMFT


If you’ve been in Spark Chicago’s suite over the past month, you’ve surely noticed we’ve done a bit of our own cake walk, with each of us moving our office one giant step to the right. And most things are off just enough to keep us on our toes. I walk into my old office only 50% of the time now (thank you for your patience, Rachel,) though I still lose sight of my clock at least once per session.

Couples have settled into new sides of the couch, accidentally gesturing off tissue boxes and water glasses that are suddenly propped to their right instead of left. Clients search for the new location of their favorite buildings and book spines,* worry stones that were unconscious until they went missing. The light seems brighter, the sounds seem louder. Together, we startle at hallway noises that weren’t noticed before. The previous routine and natural cadence of our therapy hour is disrupted.

And. It. Is. Amazing!  In some good-old-fashioned, hike-your-pants-up, lean-forward and drop-a-bomb-in-the-system, marriage-and-family-therapist-pioneer kind of way, the change is a’ changing things. Our conversations, our goals, our lenses and our progress.

Change can be serious business with powers that can be harnessed for good or for evil. When we move things around, whether physically, emotionally or cognitively, no matter how slightly, it can throw us off our game. It’s impossible to function on autopilot. We can take one step out of our routines and find that we are forced to be more mindful, present and aware to what’s happening around us, allowing us space to pause and even grow.  Or, on the other end of the spectrum, we can be so thrown that it’s hard for us to recognize a safe space to land.

Change isn’t always comfortable and being uncomfortable doesn’t feel good. As I say, probably way too often to clients, my job is to push you out of your comfort zone and not off a cliff. Is that edge as close as you think it is?

What happens if we simply tune in to notice where and how staying comfortable is serving us?

What parts of us no longer show up, for ourselves or in our relationships, because we are on autopilot?

What is one small way you can challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone or show up differently?

*If you haven’t yet located your favorite book’s new home, let’s chat!  I’m all for the visual go-to and let’s not have you Where’s Waldo-ing it every session.