Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Resolutions - Creating Lasting Change

January 3, 2009

Happy Creation Time ….

New Year’s, for many, is a time to evaluate how life is going, a time of setting goals and making resolutions. Or for some, a time when they remember they’ve given up making resolutions, discouraged about lack of success in creating lasting change in their lives.

How can we create lasting change in our lives?

Basically, the only reason we don’t make a change that we say we want to make is that, at some level we’re more committed, either consciously or unconsciously, to what we’re already doing (or not doing). In other words, what we are currently doing—or not doing—is meeting more needs than the change we wish to make.

Often the needs that are being met by the experience we are already having are in the shadows of our consciousness -- are unknown or unacknowledged by ourselves at some level. By accepting ourselves, choosing to love ourselves and what we are currently experiencing (including actions/inactions, thoughts, feelings—all of it), we open to ourselves. Through unconditional self-love, we each open to our deepest self.

This self-love frees us from our aversion to what we are afraid to see, or know, about ourselves. We are free to wonder, “hmmmmm what beautiful quality am I attempting to fulfill by what I am currently doing/not doing?” “How can I appreciate my effort to fulfill this beautiful quality, however unhappy I may be that I’ve been doing it unconsciously?” “hmmmm what can I learn from this ….. I wonder how I can continue to fulfill this quality, maybe even more fully than I am currently experiencing AND make the change I’d like to make?” “hmmmmmmmmm, I wonder…..”

“I won’t look! I won’t see! No – that’s ugly, bad!” In my own experience with aversion to seeing a part of myself that I haven’t welcomed, or feeling feelings such as anger that I’ve been conditioned by our culture to believe are “inappropriate” or “bad”, I have an image of myself as a stubborn 2-year old, with my jaw clenched and my hands covering my eyes or my ears. She likes to hide under the covers, or stand up and stomp her foot. “NO” is her favorite word. I feel so grateful for her. She helps me set boundaries in my life. She’s a gift to me. I’m grateful that I’ve learned to know and love her, and that I get opportunities to choose to love her, and to play with her, again and again.

Knowing ourselves deeply equals power. Knowing why we do (or don’t do) whatever it is we are currently experiencing, is powerful. When we know and accept/welcome/love ourselves at that level, we touch ourselves right at the very place of choice and creativity. The place where we can make another choice, if we wish. A choice that arises not out of ‘against-ness’ to any part of us, but rather out of ‘with-ness’ of whatever it is that we would like to embody or experience.

To me, this is living life creatively. And the process of exploration into this deep inner place of power and wellspring of creativity, and back out into manifesting and embodying the change I want to be, is life’s greatest adventure, greatest promise, and greatest gift.

I’m reminded of a verse from the Upanishad’s, an ancient Yogic text, which I will paraphrase this way --- through practice (and it’s referring to the deep inner contemplation and practice such as I’m writing about, along with cultivating the steadiness of mind and nervous system that supports this deep inner work) it is possible to overcome any obstacle, and to achieve ‘almost’ anything your heart desires.

Happy Creation!

Note: I draw from processes of Compassionate Nonviolent Communication, Para Yoga, and Body Mind Vibrance to facilitate these changes in myself and others.