Tag Archive | change

small steps

a light on our staircase

a light on our staircase

One thing that I’ve learned from observing myself over the years is this: when I’m in the mood to bad-mouth someone or when I can’t wait to hear some “juicy little tidbit” (about someone else of course), it is a sure sign that I’m not doing too well, and my first order of business is to observe my own thoughts, and correct them.

I’ve also seen that it doesn’t help to berate myself or become discouraged with thoughts like, “I’ll never change!” or “What is wrong with me?!”….I am a human being in the process of waking up. I will make mistakes in my thinking (everyday) but I can become more aware, and make them less frequently. I can move, one step at a time, toward becoming the person that I want to be….and that small thought, gives me great hope.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Change today

Fred (who was named after Scrooge's nephew in A Christmas Carol)and the bunny

Fred (who was named after Scrooge’s nephew in A Christmas Carol) and the bunny

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

 

A new chapter

Bodhi on the bed

Good Sunday morning everyone! A couple of days ago I wrote a post about our search for a new home, and a member of our community (thank you Patte) recommended listening to the Mary Chapin Carpenter song, Another Home. I pulled it up on YouTube and immediately the tears started. It talks about new ways of seeing, possibilities, starting over, and new beginnings. (the link to the song is below the lyrics). Have a perfectly wonderful day!

“Another Home”

There’s another home somewhere

There’s another glimpse of sky

There’s another place unlearned

And a face not memorized

There’s another quilt of green

Where the trees throw down their shade

There’s another way to lean

Into the wind unafraid

There’s another life out there

Beyond your quiet room

Use dead reckoning

The sky, the stars and the moon

There’s another storm to chase

There’s another bridge to burn

There’s nothing perfect here

Another lesson to learn

There were days I gave into losing

Empty spaces of my own choosing

There were nights I forgot to hold on

So I let go, I had to let go

There’s another home somewhere

That I close my eyes to see

I will find you there

You will know it’s me

By my shield and sword

By my soldier’s heart

We made it through the war

We made another start

Just beyond the trees

Not so far I swear

There’s another turn that leads

Towards another home somewhere

Feeling my way along: defining new comfort zones

Judi Dench…love that hair, and greatly admire her

 

I’ve decided to get my hair cut really short before we leave for Mexico. Since my initial leap last fall into the world of short hair, every cut has gotten shorter. The idea came to me yesterday while I was driving home from the grocery store and it was followed by the thought, “Do I dare do this?” What if I don’t like it? What if I am not comfortable with the way I look?

I know that I will love the way it will feel.  I once had this fun idea once about clothes. I thought, “What if i invited a bunch of women over for a clothing exchange, and the only condition would be that all of the items of clothing had to be super-comfortable and lovely to feel but we would choose by feel rather than sight” (we’d be blindfolded or something like that). What different choices I would make!

So much about how I look, when I’m really honest with myself,  has less to do with personal preference and comfort, and is more about how I will appear to others. When does this switch happen…Turning our vision away from what feels good to us, and directing it outward, watching the eyes of others for approval or disapproval. When did my “comfort zone” begin to be dictated by what I thought others wanted or approved of for me?

For years I wore under-wire bras because I thought they looked better. I tried one on the other day, and felt like I was in a medieval garment of torture. …it did however make me look a little more shapely….but who cares? I am not trying to find a mate to procreate, and even if I was single and hoping to find a partner by “fixing things up a little”, he would have every right to claim, “false advertising” when the “naked truth” was revealed. Hopefully, at this stage of life, someone would be attracted to the woman who I am underneath the baggier, wrinkled skin and flesh and we would connect at a deeper, (feeling) level.

Maybe it’s time to consider feeling my way through life, and honoring myself by making decisions that feel good!

“A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown”. Denis Waitley

Change

Sleeping owl*

I grew up going to the horse races at Saratoga with my father. I truly loved this as a child but by my late 30’s I didn’t like going at all anymore. The few times that I tried to go; to join in what others thought was fun, and to squelch my inner discomfort, by the end of the day, I felt like I’d been ripped up inside.

I’ve  found myself leaving behind a number of activities, that my family still participates in, as I’ve grown and changed. For many years, I was uncomfortable with this. I questioned myself. It made no sense that something that used to be so enjoyable would no longer interest me, but it was almost as if I had no choice. I was in the process of finding out who I was, independent of those who raised me, my friends, or society.

There is a “knowing” inside of us all. It is always encouraging us to live the authentic lives that we came here to live. It speaks in whispers, it continues to challenge us in the softest way to look inside ourselves and see if we are being true to our deepest calling…to wake up.

Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.” Frank Herbert

*This incredible photograph of a screech-owl sleeping, was taken by Jack’s friend and wildlife photographer, Mark Cronin (MARK@ACTION-CRAFT.COM)

Time to hatch

Eleanor in one of her oddly uncomfortable sleeping poses

I really appreciate the funny and different positions that our cats assume. They get inside, on top of, or underneath almost everything in the house, and then contort themselves to fit and fall asleep like that. Almost on a daily basis, either Jack or I will call to each other, “You have to see this!” which means that someone is looking soooo cute! Babies and little kids tend to get in odd positions too.

It seems as we get older, we start talking, walking, sitting and even lying down in the same predictable patterns. I very rarely walk into a room and find Jack curled up under a chair, and I am OK with that, but I have noticed lately that we sit in the same chairs or on the same part of the couch, every evening when we “settle in”. There is a slow-creeping inertia that I can feel lurking around the corner, and it bothers me. It isn’t unusual to see a group of young kids on the playground skipping together, but I have never seen a couple of middle-aged women (or men) skipping up the street. We become almost afraid of moving in different patterns.

The element of surprise and change keeps life fresh, and calls new and fresh opportunity to us. It might be fun to change one thing today; sit in a different chair, wear 2 different socks, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are wonderful, skip up the street,….

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad”. C.S. Lewis

Shining a light, Inspirational movies

Beatrix Potter outside her farm

Jack and I rented the movie “Miss Potter” last night. We had seen it a few years ago, but as my friend Nancy talked about it the other day, I knew I wanted to see it again. When, at times, I wish that my life had been easier; that I had figured out more at an earlier age, hadn’t wasted so much time in petty family arguments, had focused my energies more, I need to remind myself that the people who really inspire me, are not the ones who had an easy life, they are the ones who overcame obstacles; who changed themselves in spite of the difficult situation that they were in (whether that limitation was placed on them by society or by their own negative behaviours).

In one of his books, Norman Vincent Peale talks about a man, a personal friend of his, who had a huge problem with anger and it was ruining his life. Peale said that this man had a revelation about himself and changed overnight. Everyone including his family, business associates and friends were stunned by his change. He went on to say that the man never reverted back to his old way of being and it was as if he began a new life overnight. I love this story of change, growth and bigger life…it shines a light, showing me possibilities for my own life.

P.S. If you have a favorite inspirational movie and would like to share it with us, please do!