You are today
where your thoughts have brought you;
you will be tomorrow
where your thoughts take you.
- James Allen
Change is certainly in the air here in Minnesota. It was 74* one day…then just a few days later, the wind chills were at zero and the flurries were flying! Much of the country either is or already has experienced fall. The changing leaves are a good analogy for emotional changes in our lives..... Looking at what does and does not work for us…and allowing those things that are not serving us to change or to fall away….just as the leaves do.
For the last couple of months we have been talking about becoming aware and identifying those areas of your life that are causing you stress and that you wish to experience differently. Some changes are simple….you acquire new information, integrate it into your understanding…and move on. For example, before a child learns addition, they may say 2+2=22 or 2+2=fish for that matter (my boys went through a time when they thought this was hysterical!) At some point a teacher shows the child 2 pieces of candy, adds 2 more to them. The child counts them and learns that 2+2=4!
Sometimes the changes come simply like the child learning mathematics. It is like you are hearing things you always knew, but had forgotten for a while. When you hear them, they resonate as truth. That information is easy to integrate and implement. The child has little or no fear, identification or emotional attachment to 2+2=22, so it is relatively simple to integrate that information. Change is more challenging when you do have some sort of fear, identification or attachment to what it is that you are trying to change. We discussed identification in more detail in November‘s post. As always, on this blog, my intention will be to keep my suggestions “simple,” understandable and do-able.
It is important to understand that the only person you can really effect lasting change on, is yourself. You might be able to change a situation, or may be able convince someone that they need to change for a while….but in the end, the only person you have any real control over is yourself. That really is the good news as it opens up a world of possibilities to you about how you experience your life!
You know I like to keep it “simple,” so for an example, I am going to use concerns over writing a blog. The same process can be applied to just about any situation that is causing you stress, such as beginning any other new endeavor, changing jobs, dealing with a difficult co-worker or family member, managing your finances, or preparing for the holidays.
The first thing I would suggest is to pause your mental “I-pod/tape” and see what is going on in your head about the situation. What are you telling yourself about the new endeavor? Sometimes these types of things are more difficult to hear. They happen so rapidly and so automatically that it is challenging to slow down to a point that it is discernible. [This is another example of how meditation and awareness can help.]
I use a method that I call
The Why? Process….
- Start asking yourself why? In the example: Why am I hesitant to start a blog? Are you saying things like, “I can’t learn something new,” or “I’m not up to date on technology," or "I am not a good writer.”
- It is useful to be as specific as possible. Ask why? a number of times. It helps to clarify what is really going on. If you say you don't like new things….ask why again? Try to clarify further. Is it because it is unknown? Or is it because it is tiring to learn something new? Or some other reason. The question is….. why is it that way FOR YOU vs. why it might be that way for me. Nearly everyone would agree that new things may be scary and may create stress in your life, but the reasons why it would be considered stressful, would be as numerous as there are people! Continuing the example of the blog, some may think they are not up to date on technology, others may think they don’t have anything to say, or that they are not good with grammar. Other reasons might be that no one will read it, no one cares what they think or that they are not smart enough.
- Continue until you seem to be saying the same answer to each why? Let’s say you get to a point where you say, you are afraid you won’t be successful at the new endeavor and that seems to be a recurring answer.
- The next step is to make a list of all the times your life that you have been successful. (After your why process, you may have a different word (fear) such as smart or won't be liked, or something similar. I use successful as it is a common theme and one that can be adapted to a variety of situations.) I like a written list so you can go back to it. List as many as possible. Have you completed high school or college? Have you moved? Changed jobs? Had sports accomplishments? Other accomplishments or awards at work, school or maybe in a club or an organization? Other personal achievements?… brag on yourself until you can’t think of anything more. No one is listening but you! Everyone has at least a few things that can put on this list. Graduating high school, raising a child, taking a new job, dealing with a challenging situation like an illness or death of a loved one, or other loss such as a divorce, going through a hurricane or other natural disaster, learning something new, such as karate, a new language or playing the trombone. I suspect that once you get started, you may be surprised at how many successful accomplishments you will have on your list.
- Is there one on the list that is similar to the new challenge you are facing now? Is there one that you found particularly challenging...but had success at it anyway? Is there one thing that you feel particular proud of? Is there one that beforehand felt impossible or that you were concerned about your ability to handle it....but did it anyway? Put that into your words!
The bottom line....
Try to remember either one thing that stands out or a generalized feeling from the cumulative effect of all the things on your list.....sit with that feeling for a little while and focus your attention on the positive situations where you have been successful.
Try to put into your own words what that feels like.
Those are your True Colors!
I'll stop here for now......this next part of the process will be the topic for next month’s blog. Here are some lyrics to the song True Colors,
"I see your true colors shining through....
...so don't be afraid,
to let them show,
your true colors are beautiful,
like a rainbow."
If you would like to hear Cyndi sing it to you.... click here for a link….
To continue reading the next post, click here, for True Colors.
I would love to hear your feedback as well as any questions you may have or topics you may be interested in for the future. You may send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment at the bottom of the blog. All posts will be archived on my blog along with other useful information at:
Simply Spirituality or
Until next month....
Here's hoping you keep your spirituality simple!
Picture of the month:
I can do it! Florida, July 2003