The Power to Change (Part 2)

Change is a process.  Like waves, a wise old friend once told me – a constant backward-forward motion bringing in the changing of the tide.

The Wave

The Wave, by Albert Bierstadt c. 1880

Last week, I explained how a university’s Positive Education Program revealed my surprising lack of pep when it comes to life change. Being in need of a major attitude overhaul, I decided to try out the idea of a gratitude journal.

It can feel kind of sucky sitting in bed at night writing a list of all the good things that happened in your day.  When I started, three was an achievement.

But slowly it became more natural, and the lists began to get longer.  My breathing eased.  Smiles came more regularly.  Yoga returned.

Then winter came, and everything stalled.

Tellingly, the final journal entry for 2012 was written on 19 June…

Freezing windy day. Got nowhere much…Survived the day.


Fast forward to 2013, and it’s the cyber community who I really have to thank for snapping me out of my winter induced inertia.

It began with a reminder from Bent People’s Adriana, of the power of yoga in dissolving psychic blocks.  Have you ever had a dream in the night that came true the next day?

That’s right, I said to self, I really need to take up yoga again.

But then the excuses started rolling in…

I can’t stand on my head before coffee.
Or after coffee.
After breakfast, ewww…no.
And by that time…

A few weeks later, still trying to combat my excuses, I read a post by Legionwriter’s Lucas, whose own gentle journey towards calm confirmed, again, the power of breath in rescuing our “beleaguered hypothalamus”.

The whole problem is Revenge, I told myself.
If I didn’t need that to put me to sleep,
I’d at least have time to meditate.

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté turned up the heat with Lies My Body Tells Me, forcing me acknowledge how much I let ‘pain’ tell me that ‘I can’t’.

It’s my lower back again, I whined.
No use starting ‘til I see the chiropractor.

Valerie then added her wisdom on meditation.  Apparently, it’s normal to fidget when you meditate.  And pain, like a child, will actually stop crying when it’s given some attention.

Interesting, I thought.  There goes that excuse…

But it was the question posed by Anna’s Wonder Woman post that finally got my attention.

What if, for two minutes a day,
instead of struggling with the concept of mind over matter,
we gave our bodies power to control our weak willed minds?

In that moment, my resistance faltered.  All the voices, pushing me forward, urging me on, rushed through, finally propelling me to act.

I struck a pose, and kicked the nightly Revenge habit in preference for yoga and meditation.

Water and Fire

Water and Fire, by Franz Stuck

Suddenly, it was no more The Prodigy’s “inhale, inhale, you’re the victim”.  I was exhaling, and it was like all that extra oxygen needed somewhere to go.

Afterburn’s guest post about jogging (of all things) gave me a radical idea.  Daniela Martinez talked about losing herself in the flow of the run, the importance (again) of breath – and of exercising to a playlist.

Honestly.  I’d never imagined jogging before, let alone to a playlist.  But the universe had just delivered a new album from Andrea, a loyal Twitter friend.

It was just the push I needed to finally break a sweat.

I swallowed yet another lame excuse – I don’t have an iP – and uploaded it to my old Nokia 6120.  Dusted off the old bicycle.

And I’ve been pedalling ever since.

Okay.  Winter’s still to come.  And the new tune is not exactly pumping.

But as I pedal, all I can hear is the rhythm of the breath, and the voices urging me to “make your desire’s reality”.

Sometimes, for forward momentum, all we need is persistent, gentle push.  So to all of you who got me there, thank you for giving me the power to change.

Ever had a moment that broke through your resistance?  What gets you There?

The Power to Change (Part 1)

Fourteen months ago I developed this terribly anti-social dry cough.

Thanks to digital media, you’re lucky enough not to hear it.  But for those in close proximity, it’s not exactly the most endearing habit on earth.

After much nagging, I eventually paid a visit to the specialist (paid being the operative word) – only to be told what I already knew.

There’s nothing wrong with me!

So I guess that makes me psychosomatically insane…

In search of answers, I did a little googling this morning.  And if what they say about Louise L. Hay’s theories is correct, I am apparently resisting change.  Either that, or it’s a blatant “world, look at me!” grab for attention.

My fear is that she’s right – on both counts.   At least, it seems like an effective strategy for continued unemployment…

From my childhood, I have far too many fond memories of being doted on when sick.  Mum, tending to me in the middle of the night, with alternate hot and cold compresses, vapour rubs and lemon ginger teas.

In my memory, I was never more loved than when I was unwell.

Fast forward a few years, and suddenly you realise there’s no Mum anymore.  What was once Mum’s love is now a matter of self-love.

And that’s where it gets tricky.

A couple of years ago, I was commissioned by a local university to develop some videos on Positive Education.

It’s strange, how the universe sends you subtle messages.  During the research phase, I filled out the online survey of character strengths developed by the Authentic Happiness Testing Centre at University of Pennsylvania.

The survey creates a rank of 24 core character strengths, highlighting your top five.  But what is most revealing are the strengths that fall at the bottom.

Among my bottom five were “Capacity to love and be loved” and “Zest, enthusiasm and energy”.

Put those two things together, and what you have is someone who doesn’t love you or themselves enough to get off their lazy ass and Exercise!!

Me. The last time I had Zest, Enthusiasm and Energy.

Me. The last time I had
Zest, Enthusiasm and Energy.

But now I have this pesky cough screaming at me.  A little tell tale hack drawing the world’s attention to my self neglect.

How to change?

If, like me, you suffer from “vague and general feelings of powerlessness”, then you need to read Girl in the Hat’s “Body Talk” series, starting with this post.  Now.

There’s a video as well.  You need to watch it.

In it, the science behind a simple posture is explained, made all the more compelling by the fact that it requires no real effort at all.

Basically, anyone who can sit still for two minutes and breathe can do it, so you can see why it appealed to yours truly.

The odd thing is, the day I read Anna Fonté’s post, something clicked.

Since then, I’ve reignited my stop-start relationship with yoga. I’ve started meditating again.  And as of today, I’ve broken through a personal record by cycling for the sixth day in a row!

It’s early days, of course.  I’m almost scared to say it in case I jinx the flow.  But that’s the old me talking.

The new me celebrates achievements as they happen.  And understands that change is a process.

Sometimes it happens imperceptibly.  Like staring at an optical illusion until, suddenly, you see it and you wonder why you never did before.

Next week, I’ll explore this theme more fully.  But in the meantime, I’m curious.

Does anybody out there struggle as I do with the power to change?