I got up very early this morning, sat outside in the darkness looking at the stars with my coffee, and found myself thinking about sudden revelations, transformations, and profound inner change that can happen in the blink of an eye. When I came back inside, I found my old, worn copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and turned to the pages where Scrooge sees the error of his past thinking and behaviour, and begs the spirit for a chance to make things right.
He wakes up the next morning a changed man; a happy man. He doesn’t then try to figure out why he was so miserly or miserable, he steps into the new day as a new man and the actions that follow his epiphany show it.
Once we see……really see, what the error of our own past (thought and action or lack thereof) has created, we are finally free to move past it, and to change our futures for the better. There is a huge value in seeing our error but once seen, dwelling there (trying to figure out why we got there) just keeps us stuck.
Before I got sober, I suffered, and I caused pain and suffering to those around me. I went to therapy and figured out that I was acting just like the typical “adult child of an alcoholic”, could see how my childhood household was “highly dysfunctional”, thought a lot about the “emotional unavailability” of my parents…on and on…blah, blah. And one morning in July of 1986, I had a revelation that I was an alcoholic and that I needed help. I needed to change if I wanted to stop suffering.
My life did not instantly heal the day I stopped drinking, but much of it did. For one thing, I no longer had hang-overs so I could think clearer and I felt better physically. My behavior also became less erratic and unpredictable.
Today is a new day (for all of us) and it can be a radically different and better day if we stop trying to figure out whose fault it is (that we are in the mess we are in), stop blaming everyone (including ourselves), and make a decision to see this precious day with new eyes.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation…we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor Frankl