The joke goes like this: A politician walks into a rally and approaches the podium. Upbeat music blares over the PA system, the crowd cheers. The song ends with the candidate enthusiastically beginning his stump, “WHO WANTS CHANGE????!!!!” The gathered crowd cheers again, hands in the air, signs waving. The candidate speaks again, “Who wants TO change?????”
So many of us are seeking change in our lives. We may be seeking it in our health, finances, mental well being, emotional experiences, spiritual connection, etc. The list is as vast and as varied as humanity itself. What separates those who are able to successfully instigate and navigate the currents and eddies of transition from those who flounder and fight to keep themselves from being caught by the undertow?
I ask this question to myself as I am now on a very swift river of change. This change and transition is in all levels of my being, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual. This rapid pace of change has become the norm for me over the last few years, but how did I get here?
I could start a listing here of the different practices I explored and used, and I will get to some of those in later posts; but before I could use any of the techniques I had to lay a foundation. For me, it turned out to be a simple philosophy. If I desire to have change in my world, I have to be the one changing.
This statement becomes obvious, to the point of trite, when applied to the physical world. If you want better health; eat better foods, exercise, etc. If you want a different job; study, apply, etc. Like I said, painfully obvious; but this obviousness is deceitful when applied to anything other than the physical world; and some would argue the deceitfulness is equally applied to the physical world. That aside, how does one change things not rooted in the physical? How does one change the emotional, mental, and spiritual realms. How does one begin to change the non-tangible, how does one work with the subtle energies that make up the non-physical reality of personal experience?
By deciding what each experience means to you.
Define your moments.
“Define your moments, or they will define you.”
This was first postulated to me at a conference I attended shortly after my life completely imploded in my early thirties. I was attempting to figure out who I was underneath the labels that were placed on me by others and myself, and this simple play of words echoed in my head. I began to backtrack the prior three years of experience. The uncertainty of a divorce, the pain of separation from my children, the (now-dismissed) felony charges I had endured, the unknown future I was facing… and all of this led up to the big question.
When all of this turmoil and pain and unpleasant experience is over & this time of tribulation passes… who will I be on the other side? Will I be bitter and angry from it? Will I decide to cut everyone off and just be alone? Will I ever be able to trust again? Do I even give a fuck?
This is the beauty and work-ability of the above statement. YOU DECIDE!!!
Through each and every experience you go through, you get to decide the lesson you learn. You get to decide your own take-away from every moment.
Does your personal pain teach you anger or compassion? Are you choosing to learn frustration or patience when delayed? Will you develop hate or pity as a result of mistreatment? Will loss drive you to defeat or determination? Will death make you afraid of living or will it propel you to live? Will loss of support make you fall over or learn to balance yourself?
It is really this simple. You must decide what you want out of each moment. Many positive and negative outcomes are all ready there, co-existing in every moment. You get to decide which you will experience.
As I work with individuals I hear this statement time and again as they are working to facilitate a desired change in their lives, “I’ll try.”
My answer is always, “Please don’t try. Trying automatically opens up failure as an acceptable and possible option in outcome. Instead practice.”
Something as simple as changing the definition of ones efforts can change the outcome. Trying is a pass/fail thought, and holds within it the acceptance of failure; this dichotomy can only lead to division within oneself and risks feeding the wolves of fear, anxiety, and self-worth.
Instead practice. In that practice, hold the same support and patience as one would for a child learning to play an instrument or learning to read. Patience, gentleness, kindness… how often does one use these tools with others?
Use these with yourself, first and foremost.