“How do I change?” a woman asked her friend. “HOW” the friend replied.
“Yes, that’s what I’m asking. How do I change?”
“I told you,” her friend said. “HOW is how you change. Honesty Openness.-Willingness to try.”
HOW isn’t new. It’s not groundbreaking. But some— times the best road to take is ground that’s been trod.
A friend called one day when I was struggling to take an action in my life that just wasn’t coming together. “Are you willing to try?” she asked.
“Right now I’m working on wanting to want to,” I said. “That’s the best I can do.”
Inventory Focus: Are you willing to take actions, small baby steps, even when those steps frel awkward and uncomfortable? If you ‘re not willing to take action to change, are you at least willing to become willing? That’s an action too. Willingness is a prerequisite to receive the power to act.
Acting as if is another recovery truism that’s been around for a long time. I still use it regularly in my life.
I know people who are not in recovery athletes, performers, artists -who use the technique too.
All it means is that if it’s time to act, we do— whether taking that action feels comfortable or not. Instead of doing nothing, or waiting for confidence, success, or inspiration to overtake and motivate us first, we go ahead and move forward with an action anyway and let the good feelings catch up to us. We act as if the desired change has already taken place.
Action: “I didn‘t pay my bills because I didn‘t have enough money to pay them off in full,” a man told me. “I had to learn that I could make payments and pay off the whole bill by paying a little at a time.”
Sometimes you can sabotage yourself by trying to do too much at once. If you can’t stop drinking or using drugs by yourself are you willing to ask for help? If you can’t accept everything about your life in one fell swoop, are you willing to accept where you are and how you feel today? If you can ‘t forgive someone, are you willing to start praying for that person and let go of the resentment you feel? Break whatever you are trying to do into small steps. Then take the first step first.
We all like to feel comfortable. But doing something new, especially taking an action to change, usually doesn’t feel comfortable. It feels awkward and strange.
Sometimes depression and anxiety can block us from taking the actions we want and need to take. Not taking these actions can increase our depression and anxiety, and we feel even less motivated to act. This cycle can keep us trapped.
If depression and anxiety are so severe they’re stopping you from taking actions to live your life, you may need to seek professional help and get those issues under control. That in itself is taking action.
Challenge: The hardest thing about taking positive steps to change can be having enough hope to believe that what we do matters and the steps we take will work.
I’ve heard it said that we never need to do anything that we won’t be given the power and strength to do. That’s true. But sometimes to get past our fear and nervousness, we need a little push.
Gratitude Focus: We can be grateful for all the pushes life gives us to change.
When I began practicing aikido—a martial art based on nonresistance and harmony —I discovered how much resistance I still had. The more I tried to relax and practice nonresistance, the more resistance I experienced. I lived, moved, breathed, worked, lived, and loved from a place that was not relaxed.
My immediate reaction to any feeling I had was, “Oh, no. I can’t feel that.”
My first reaction to any problem that arose was, “No, this can’t be taking place.”
If someone disagreed with me, I responded with an attack or by trying to force my will.
And if I had a task to do, I prepared myself by getting tense and afraid.
One of the biggest challenges and biggest rewards we can discover in our lives is to live in harmony with ourselves and the people in our world. We do this by learning to tell ours elves, “Just relax.” From that relaxed place, which some call surrender, we’ll tap into oar true power. We’ll know how to deal with our feelings. We’ll be guided into what to do next.
God, show me the areas of my life where I’m in resistance. Help me let go and learn to consciously relax as I go through my life.
Sometimes in life, no matter how deeply we intend to make the best decisions possible for ourselves, things happen. Marriages end, jobs turn sour, friends wane. For reasons outside our control or understanding, the situation twists and turns into something other than what we bargained for.
Have you been waiting for a situation to revert to what it originally was—or what you hoped it would be when you got in? Are you telling yourself that there’s something wrong with you, when the reality is, the situation has changed into something other than what you thought it was? Things often don’t go as smoothly as we planned. Sometimes, we need to endure and get through the rough spots. But I’m talking about those grindingly difficult moments when life suddenly twists on us.
These are the times we need to quit torturing ourselves. Let go of what you thought would happen. If life has twisted on you, don’t turn on yourself. Don’t try to make things be the way they were. Come up to speed. Return to now. Let yours elf accept the new situation at hand.
The road isn’t always a straight course. Sometimes, even a path with heart unexpectedly twists and turns.
God, help me relax and trust myself enough to deal with reality, not my fantasy of what I hoped it would
Attacks can come in many shapes and forms. They can be emotional attacks, where someone pelts us with anger and rage. We can be attacked physically, too.
Self-defense is important. But it’s easy to get confused, when we’re being attacked, about what it means to take care of and protect ourselves. It may be a boss, a spouse, a child, or a friend who turns on us in anger and rage. We might be dating someone, someone we don’t know well, who suddenly starts spewing venom and rage. Instinctively, we may attack back.
If someone yells at us in anger, says something mean, or physically hurts us, we usually don’t think twice. We tense up and fight back. Then the situation escalates. The other person’s fear and anger contaminate us. We become afraid, angry, and mean, too. Our intense and volatile emotions feed and fuel the situation. Things can easily get out of control.
Instead of escalating the situation into an all-out brawl, try harmonizing and restoring the situation to peace. You might be surprised with the results that learning to relax and harmonize brings. And you’ll be closer to connecting with your true power.
God, fill me up with so much peace that my presence neutralizes and deflects attacks, no matter where I might be.