Recently it was my birthday and since I grew up (practically) an only child and so of the ‘it’s my party and i’ll cry if I want to’ type, it was a HUGE opportunity to practise being mature. And no, I didn’t cry.
Change is in the air people!
It’s a happy new year and a happy new day. You know, why leave it all up to till January first to make a change or be bummed out because we screwed up again? Every day we get to wake up and practise being a little different. As Tonya Leigh says, everyday is rehearsal day. There is no screwing up, just tweaking here and there and course correcting when you feel you’ve strayed or gotton out of the flow. The message from all the gurus is the same :
PERSISTENCE IS EVERYTHING!!
And you don’t have to persist all the time, just a lot of the time.
It must be the time of year, but I’ve been reading so much about change lately. I’ve been seeing this Gabrielle Bernstein and her book ‘May Cause Miracles’ every where I look (yes, it’s because I’ve been looking). She advocates subtle shifts for radical change. This is how she’s gotten off drugs and drinks and even coffee and become a Spiritual Junkie.
So, she says we just have to focus on the day and be present. We don’t have to swear off our drug of choice forever, we just have to be willing to go without it today. These are subtle shifts. When I started writing my novel, my only goal was to write for one hour a day. Then it became two hours, then three and sometimes even four at the end (home stretches will do that). After 4 years I’d written a novel.
But maybe you just want your life to be different like I do. How can we make this change? Now I’m not claiming to be one of these gurus, but I have become quite a devoted disciple of late. First, we have to get really grateful about what we already have and make it a daily practice. Things come to us easily when we have an energy of positive vibes. Then, maybe you already know what it is you want to change, but you have to get really clear on what exactly you desire. Like, how do you want to feel? So feel it already.
As a youngster in Perth, I often dreamt of living in Europe. What I didn’t realise at the time is that what I wanted was to feel Europe inside of me. I wanted to feel sophisticated and cultured, fully alive and energised by the streets – feelings that were only available in Europe, I thought. And I would get that feeling when I rode my bike to get to the shops or sat at a cafe and people watched or walked through London Court. I didn’t know that these fantasies were helping me to get where I wanted or that perhaps they were just making my life really cool anyway.
And what I’ve realised now is that what gets me down is not feeling free. What I want to feel most is freedom. So I can partake in freedom on a daily basis. I don’t have to wait till the big day. Some of the things that make me feel free are going for a walk in the countryside around my school (free to climb fences and fall over in the snow), going to sit in a coffee shop on a weekday afternoon, train journeys and easy mornings at home. See, all these little acts add up to a whole lot of freedom.
The last lesson on change must come from Evan Almighty. Morgan Freeman, as God, says,
“Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”
This is big. It’s not like we’ll ask for change and then one day wake up with discipline or will-power or confidence. Each day we get the opportunity to practise being the person we want to be. It’s in those moments of difficulty that we can be the most proud of ourselves. Like on my birthday, when everything was not perfect but I got to practise being mature (and believe me, I was not perfect at that either). We take each day and each situation as it comes. You may not be able to resist the second slice of cake forever, but you can do it right now. You might just be able to not smoke today and face tomorrow when it comes. Making a few phone calls is manageable and it sets in motion something bigger. Backing down from a fight, switching off, tuning in, reading, studying, moving…whatever you think is holding you back or helping you is achievable in the present. We get to rehearse every single day. And then do it again tomorrow.
Question : How do you want to feel this year? Any tips on being a changer?