When we fight ‘what is’, we delay what can be. I strive to focus on moving forward. When things end, as they often do, I am quick to look for a way to reinvent myself. I have done this many times throughout my life. It is a scary process to reinvent ourselves. It is a scary process to start something new. It is a scary process to be a beginner.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
I believe the fear of starting something, is far greater, than the fear of doing something. Once I get started, and develop a level of comfort, then I often wonder what took me so long to get started to begin with. What happens then when I start a goal but do not finish it? If I get reward from the new habit then why don’t I stick with it perfectly? Why do I often stall and sputter or even devolve into full blown relapse?
It is often my impatience that sabotages my long term success. Once I begin a process, the new fear is that it will not take off as quickly as I would like. For instance, when I go to they gym and work out really hard it’s rather annoying the scale does not show the 10 pounds of effort I’m sure I put in and very much deserve losing on day one!
Discouragement kicks in when I believe my efforts are greater than my results. So if I believe I am working my butt off and not getting what I deserve then how can I keep hope alive? In the case of working out, I think about the health benefits even when the scale refuses to budge. In the case of my daughter who almost died and each day her condition did not improve, I thought of ways that I could connect with her in the spiritual realm. I believed she could hear me and so I spoke to her. I believed she needed rest and so I became I her advocate. This is how in the case of a 50/50 coin flip death or life I was able to take constructive action and keep hope alive.
If I want change I have to be focused. I have built in amnesia that forgets the pain of being stuck. I have built in amnesia that forgets the goals I’ve set and why I’ve set them. I lose focus and “I will do it tomorrow” turns into weeks, months, years and in some cases decades. Once I’ve mastered a habit I must not lose focus of the repeated actions which got me there and will keep me there.
I recently gave up nicotine AGAIN. I had quit for almost ten years, but stress triggered this old pattern.
Old patterns are always there. I believe that once my brain has chemically mapped out a path, that path will always be there. That is why it is so easy to fall back into old habits. The older I become and the more ‘hard wired’ my brain becomes then the more effort it takes my brain to map out new chemical pathways. When I revert back into old patterns it is because I have gone unconscious.
I must be present to create change in my life. It is easy to live an unconscious life. It takes mindful presence to live in a state of consciousness. This is why we can wish to be thin and turn around and cram three donuts in our mouths. We may not even be completely present as we stuff our faces. When we stay in this state of numbness, of mindless living, where old pathways in our brain take control of our actions, we live unconsciously.
Now is always the time to start! I used to have a defeatist attitude. Once I slipped back into old patterns then “f*uck it” and I was off to the races. In preschool my children were taught about the ‘reset’ button. At any time, when they were not playing well with others, they could take a break, calm down, and then resume play by mentally hitting the ‘reset button’. It was through my children’s preschool lesson, I learned how to ‘reset’ my days. I realized that I didn’t have to keep down a path that no longer serves me. I can stop now! I can change direction now! I can start a new path now! My brain had a hard time letting go of the death grip it had on the path it just committed to. It was not easy to train my mind how to be more nimble. How to change direction. How to let go of a thought, idea, plan, or unconscious way of thinking.
It does not have to be easy. I thought it had to be easy. If often is not easy. When I accept it may be very hard then it starts to become easy. The is the First Noble Truth in Buddhism. In summary, that tragedy exists but suffering is optional. I believe suffering is simply what meaning I chose to give an event. Suffering is not the same as sadness for me. To me suffering is a sort of mental illness. An addiction to feel bad. A story where I believe I am the victim and I have been wronged.
What change are you willing to make today? What scares you? What scary thing are you willing to embrace, to try, to share? Is it a phone call to say I am sorry? To walk up and say “I was wrong”.
I felt very wronged by a situation. Instead of focusing on how I was wronged, I focused on what I learned. I expressed my gratitude for those lessons in a hand written note. I did this without expectation. In fact, my ego was sure that I would not get a response from my note. As it turns out my ego got to be right! Before sending the note the thought in my mind is ‘why are you sending this when you know it will not be received’?
Here was the reply “Because I am responsible for how I choose to live my life. How I choose to live my life is not based on how others chose to live their life. I either believe or I do not. A belief is meaningless unless there is action behind it.”
I have done this many times throughout my life. Sometimes it has created instant positive results. Sometimes it has caused me to feel foolish to allow myself to be so vulnerable feeling strongly the other person was not capable of ‘getting it’. However, by staying focused on the change I desire, I have been able to do many great things in my life.
Perhaps the most powerful is to love those who do not know how to love themselves. And to allow others to love me when I have forgotten how to love myself.
If you liked this blog and want to make a change in your own life then contact Larina at 352.262.7462 or email Larina@AskLarina.com.