The power to make changes...

When I was younger, I thought I was dependent on external things to shape my life...

- the type of job I would have and how much money I would make.
- which boy liked me.
- good or bad things that happened to me.

As a grown up I've learned that I have the power to make changes in my life.  But it isn't like I thought it would be.

In my immature view, I thought of change a bit like a magic wand.  I blame Disney. Things would be bad, then some external force would come and make them good.  But change works nothing like that. And if you think it does, then you might find yourself resentful that your fairy godmother (or God) hasn't stepped in to make things like you want them to be.

Effective self-directed change is incremental and it takes time. 

Let me say that again.

Effective self-directed change is incremental and it takes time.

We live in the age of information.  For any change we want to make, be it physical, financial, work-related, emotional or spiritual, we have access to resources. We can find people who have done what we want to do and follow their plan or learn the things we want to do and make a plan of our own. None of us are stuck.

Here's the thing though.  The only person we have control over is ourselves.  We can't make our lives better, we can only make ourselves better. Which in turn, will change our lives, but it is an important distinction to make.  We have no control over the external.  We have total control over the internal.

How we think. What we feel. What we put in our mouths. How we spend our time.  All of this is in our power. We choose.

But to make any kind of lasting change we have to be willing to let some things go...

We have to let go the need to be right.
We have to let go of how we've seen ourselves in the past.
We have to let go of trying to control the externals.

That last one I believe is the big key to lasting change. The day we let go of trying to control the externals is the day we become free to make real change in ourselves. Of course, I believe this is far easier when we believe in a God who loves us and is taking care of the externals, but even if we don't, a certain amount of surrender is required in order to make internal change.

All of those things about "beginners mind" and "being like a child" are true. Exploring, trying, and discovering are the path.  It is about possibility. Could you do what you really want to do? Who would you need to become to make that happen? What internal change could you make to move yourself closer to the person you want to become?
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall