The new year is a reminder of the choice we have in every moment. We can choose to start our day over; to start a new chapter in our life; to shift our perception. We don’t have to wait for “the new year” to make those choices. We can decide, right now, we can make different choices.
Choices are about a state of mind. We can choose to stay stuck in old patterns, old ways of thinking, old ideas about ourselves and everyday will be the same. The days can stretch into weeks and even decades where we realize that not much has changed. Change has to come from a decision. A decision, that right now, is the right time to make a change. Right now we can start those resolutions. We can start by asking “what would my life look like if I let go of all those negative thoughts?” Thoughts like “I’m not good enough, I don’t have enough money, I’m going to fail, life never works out the way I hope it will.”
We can flip those thoughts. We may think our thoughts control us. In reality, we have the power to change our thoughts. We can start by writing down everything in our life that is going well. We are alive. We are in one of the greatest countries in the world. We have food. We have shelter. We have people that care about us. We have a chance to build a better life. These are all benefits we take for granted when we’ve never gone hungry, had to sleep on a pile of trash, had to watch our children suffer because poverty precludes their basic health care. There are billions of people that live under these conditions ever day. We don’t think about them. We are too busy thinking about what we are not getting.
Service work. When we volunteer at St. Francis House and feed families with little children that have no food, and no home, it brings into focus how fortunate we are. When we volunteer at Ronald McDonald’s House, we meet terminally ill children that are going to die, it reminds us to appreciate our own children. When we help someone that is less fortunate than we are, it reminds us that we have something to offer the world. When we are able to get out of our thinking mind, into the greatness of who we really are, the creative life force that is capable of anything, we can shift our state.
We can remember that anything is possible in this state. If we had a bad childhood, we can choose to let go of that pain and recognize that everyone had life events to overcome and those of us that do can be a beacon of hope for those that are still stuck in the past. If we are stuck in the past, we can recognize that today, right now, we have the power to create a new future. Reminders like a New Year can give us the resolve to do things differently.
We are afraid of change. We are afraid. Stepping outside our comfort zone is scary. Many of us are content staying in a negative state because it’s familiar and that’s less scary than the unknown. The unknown is where all things are possible. So maybe we are afraid of possibilities more than we are afraid of change. What change are you willing to have the courage to make right now? Then who in your life can help you support that change?
If you want your life to have purpose then volunteer. I have an organization that I volunteer my time to. People thank me but it is really I who am thankful. I get more by having the opportunity to help them, then the benefit they receive from my help. When we teach; we learn. We learn that by teaching we are keeping our message alive. We are putting our teachings into practice. Keeping our vision alive is the challenge we all face. Our vision can be eroded by disappointment; failure; others negativity. Our commitment to our vision; to keep it alive; is what manifests change in our own lives.
Thoughts, beliefs, philosophies are just ideas. They do not translate into real meaning in our life until we put them into action. Today is 1/1/2014 and it’s no different than any other day. What can make this day, and every moment of our life different, is what we are willing to put into action. Can we stand behind those convictions? I want to be thin is an idea; a dream; a fantasy. The question is am I willing to work for it? What am I willing to do with my actions that can change my overweight state? Those are the questions, that bring into focus, the action, we must take to obtain our wants. If we want it, really want it, then we will bring it into our life. We have done this before; so we know we can do it.
What do you want? Write it down. How can you get what you want? If you don’t know, then who can you ask that does know? Then write it down. Follow the directions. There is a formula to a joyful life, but we have to be wiling to take action. We have to get out of our own way. We have to let go of those limiting beliefs that keep us stuck. If you say “I don’t know what I want” then I say ‘what would you say if you did know?”. Do you want to be healthy, happy, to have connection in your life, to know love?
We all know what we want. Now what do we have to do? What action do we have to take? To be healthy, we have to change eating habits and exercise. To be joyful, we have to decide to be joyful. Before we take an action we can ask ourselves “will this thought or this choice lead to those things I say I want?” If the answer is NO then we can ask ourselves “what thought; what action will lead to my want”? Then whatever ‘that’ is, we make a choice to do it. Then we do it again and again and again. We know how to do things over and over. Think of all those negative thoughts you think over and over and over. Think of all those poor choices you make over and over and over.
The secret; what the masters know; is to put in place an action or thought that serves your wants. If every time you have any thought, you say “I want to be joyful. If I was joyful what would I do right now? I choose joy. Let me dwll on a joyful thought in place of this negative thought?” If we do this during ever negative thought, we will be amazed at how our focus changes. At first we may be depressed, or feel overwhelmed, because we may start to realize how unhappy we’ve been and just how many negative thoughts and actions we live with every day. That’s ok. Telling ourselves it’s not ok is how we got stuck in the first place.
We didn’t realize that it was ok to be uncomfortable. No one told us “this may not feel good” and that’s ok, just be with those uncomfortable feelings. We are taught to fake them; stuff them; hide them; fix them. And did any of that work? So why not try something new; learn to recognize the feeling without reacting to it. “Wow this is uncomfortable; isn’t that interesting.” Then go back to focusing on being joyful. Recognize the uncomfortable feelings. There is nothing we need to do other than just be a witness to our thoughts. Then we can focus our attention back to what will bring us joy.
As those uncomfortable feelings crop up we simply witness them; like people watching at the mall. No judgment about them. No need to change them. No need to react to them. Just simply watch as they pass by. We don’t push them down, hide from them or medicate them. We just register them and then go back to doing what will bring us joy. As we do this, we begin to experience more joy in our lives. Our outlook on life will look different. This is a process. It will take time. It will be easy to become distracted. We will need to constantly remind ourselves to stay focused on our want; for me the want of joy in my life.
We will learn to let go of those thoughts that keep us stuck. We will learn to embrace those thoughts that bring us joy. We will learn to change those actions that create negative cycles in our life and we will start to make better choices. As we make better choices, we will feel stronger in our resolve. As we feel more confident in our new way of life, then it will be easier to keep our focus on things that bring us joy. Happy New Year! Remember any moment is a good place to start your ‘new’ year!