courage to change.

If you're anything like me, you have a love/hate relationship with change. I LOVE the idea of change because new and shiny things draw my attention. I'm a woman. Also, just a human.

New car, yes please. New yoga mat, of course. New apartment = new decor. New love, butterflies. You get the picture. AND I also hate it. Absolutely down to my core fear it. Because what hides behind the shininess of change? Discomfort. Unease. The great unknown. 

Change means stepping out of my comfort zone. Altering my schedule and routine. Compromising. Change often presents fresh challenges that make me question myself, my abilities and my needs. It's because of these scary things, I often avoid it at all costs. I play it safe and stay put, often longer than necessary because it's comfortable to me and I know it. I know I can do something so I stay in it longer than it continues to serve me, whether it be a relationship, a job, a friendship or a place I live. Anyone relate here?

See, what I've learned in my experiences, is staying in something simply out of comfort, can be a big problem. When something no longer serves me, I stop growing. My light tends to dim down inside and my sparkle fades. Once this happens, my mood and my belief in myself slowly start to diminish and I begin to question my self worth. Maybe I'm still in this because I'm not good enough for anything else. I can't leave because no one else will want me. I don't look like that person, so I wouldn't possibly get hired there. I know I'm really good at Power 1 Yoga, so I'll stay that way I don't look stupid and out of place at Power 2. This becomes viscous negative self talk and I feel defeated even before a decision is made. It's exhausting really. 

To play devil's advocate, I've also learned in my experience to pause before I make a change. Check my motives. I know right now my best friend is reading and smiling because just yesterday she said to me, "Kate, what are your motives?" I hate when she says that, but it's true. Pausing before leaping into change to make sure we aren't avoiding something, acting out of fear, putting our selfish needs before other's, is important to look at. Asking the question, does this serve the best version of myself? Not just making a change because it's easier to do or because it serves our own selfish needs. Asking these questions is hard because it reveals our true self behind the thick outer shell. It shows us our inner most selves, our "atman" in yogic philosophy, which isn't always pretty if we are being honest. A lot of my motives have shown self-serving and self-seeking behaviors, which I hate. It's also just human. AND by becoming aware of these behaviors, I am able to courageously look at myself and make a decision to make a change, or not make a change. The most I study myself, the more that it revealed, the purer my atman becomes, the lighter I become.

Rewined to 3.15 years ago. One thousand one hundred and fifty four days ago, 27,677 hours. This was the day I made the biggest decision of change I have even made, and possibly ever will have to make in my life. I avoided it for years probably after the initial thoughts arose in my mind that it needed to occur. (Side note: DO NOT let fear of change build this long. Letting things build for this long, makes it that much harder to change. Like, really fucking hard. Lesson learned.) OK back to the story, 37.83 months ago, I made a phone call of desperation. After 28 years of living, 13 of which I was actively drinking and using drugs, I picked up the phone, called my Dad and admitted defeat. Once I hung up the phone and told him I needed help to stop the cycle, I knew I had a long road ahead. Changing my entire life, my entire way of being from dawn to dusk, was going to need an entire brain rewire. To change my way of thinking about myself and the world around me was going to take a Gosh darn miracle. Changing my body back to a normal functioning human being's body, free from drugs and alcohol that ran it for so long, seemed nearly impossible. But, it happened. Change happened. And it took courage. It took dropping ego and asking for help. It took stepping WAY out of my comfort zone. It took tears and unease and a lot of compromise and willingness. Thank God for change. 

Today, when I am faced with a decision of change, I can look back at this time, at the hardest and best damn decision I ever made, and draw from it. Draw strength and courage and reminders for just how I did it. 

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So, what are some steps we can take to encourage healthy change? To take the leap and make it happen? Here are 6 easy steps I've thrown together to put your mind at ease about creating space for change to occur in your life: 

  1. Make a list of pro's and con's. List out the ways your situation is serving you in a healthy way, and ways it is no longer serving you as the best version of yourself. Weigh the pro's and con's.
  2. Talk with others. We are not alone! If I've learned anything in life it is that my situations that arise are NOT unique. Someone has walked the path before me. So I pick up the phone and dial a gal pal or family member and bounce ideas of them. Get different perspectives that could help you take the leap or shed some light on the situation. 
  3. Make a plan. You don't have to just throw your hands up in the air and say, "I'm done, I'm moving on!". That would just be a terrible idea (don't you just love those sometimes though...terrible ideas...<3). Make a strategy toward your next moves so you can make the change with ease in your heart.
  4. Trust the process. Connect with your higher power and turn it over. Believe that everything is going to work out just fine. 
  5. PAUSE. BREATHE. DO SOME YOGA. MEDITATE. 
  6. Take the leap. One of my favorite quotes: "What if I fall? Oh but my darling, what if you fly?"

What is holding you back? List it. Acknowledge it. Consider it. And change it if it no longer serves you. Who knows where the road could take you...