…when we are ready to make a change in our lives. We need to listen to our own wisdom – rather than that of others. We will know when it is the right time to act. After all, we are the ones that must live with the consequences.
Recently while I was telling a friend about my solo backpacking trip to Ireland, she asked: “What advice do you have for a gal who is also making her way through this world? I have some changes and work to do on myself, and as yet have not taken the steps that I need to.”
Firstly, I told her that advice should be listened to – but not necessarily followed. Nonetheless, I am a person who always has advice to give. And what follows is my counsel…
Advice for Change
You know in your heart and soul what you need to do. You will do it when you are ready. Until then:
- Prepare yourself – for the decisions that you will need to make.
- Visualize the results that you would like to have.
- Know what outcomes you can control, and which will simply be thrust upon you as a consequence of your actions.
- Have a plan and enjoy making the decisions that will take you to a new life (career, project or trip – whatever).
The choice to change is yours to make
Every day, every minute, we make “choices”. Some propel us toward change and others help us maintain the status quo. The easy ones are those that keep us on our existing path. Usually the most satisfying, however, are those that take us in a new direction, and often out of our comfort zone.
There are usually two conditions that cause us to change:
- It is forced upon us, usually by external factors (some created by others e.g. divorce, and some by nature e.g. sickness); or
- We change when we are ready for it to happen.
Prepare yourself for change
There is a very old saying “When the student is ready, the teacher (or master) will appear. When the student is really ready, the teacher will disappear.”
Basically what this proverb teaches us is that when we have achieved readiness to make a specific change in our lives, we will find the guidance we need – be it from a spiritual leader or our friends and family. Most importantly you will find it from within, in the form of an inner strength that you probably didn’t even know you had. And when you have used your inner courage to initiate the change (remember it is your decision), you really don’t need as much help from others as you thought you would. You will find a Zen-like ability to cope. You will be comfortable because you will know that you made the right decision. You will feel good that you have finally made a choice – and can live in that moment without worry or fear.
Why you don’t change
Sometimes you make choices that maintain the status quo. A good example could be people that are no longer happy living in their residences. At some point, they made the decision to stay – for whatever reason – and now they feel stuck there, incapable of living the life they really want. Perhaps they are financially better off where they are; and they just cannot see themselves making a financial sacrifice for happiness.
Similarly, we might keep clothes we don’t wear because we spent good money on them, or they once looked good on us. We display gifts that do not give us pleasure because someone, who meant well, gave them to us. The status quo does not always equate to joy. But the status quo is easy to maintain.
As long as you understand that it is by choice that you are in your current circumstances, then you can begin to look for other ways to achieve Zen, while remaining where you are. Sometimes it is through a very small change that you want for yourself that you can achieve a new / different type of happiness – while maintaining continuity in your life.
You can change – if not now, then some day…
Make change one small step at a time – when it feels good. You’ll be one step closer to your goals or objectives when the time is right.
“When you’re ready, nothing can stop you. If something’s stopping you, you’re not ready.”
― , author of “Why You’re Still Stuck“
Change for me
I am of a lover of change because it allows me to redefine myself and sometimes even start afresh. I am currently in the process of making change once more. I have just retired and am downsizing (again). Every day as I dust my memorabilia (collected over a lifetime), I must decide – keep – or discard (and when)? I have choices to make about my wardrobe. What look do I want to achieve since I am no longer required to wear a business suit in the morning? Do I tuck the suits in the back of the closet – just in case – or make room for more casual gear? How long do I need to archive business files or should they be trashed, freeing disc space on my computer for photography and creative writing? How frequently can I travel now and do I really need to keep three (different-sized) suitcases, or just my new backpack?
Many days find me opting for the status quo. If I leave my favorite blown glass vase on the shelf, it will still be there tomorrow for me to dust. Maybe I can repurpose that business suit jacket so it looks good with jeans. And just in case I need to reference a business file again, I should probably archive the files on an external hard-disk-drive. Leaving things the way they are – and always have been – gives us a level of “comfort”.
Perhaps I have not accepted my retirement / semi-retirement and am not yet prepared for the change it will require. But when I am, I have every faith that the Master (teacher) and I will fully agree on just which possessions will find a better home. Until then, the choices I make every day are mine. And I live with them!
That’s why – for now – I dust the vase and put it back on the shelf. And, I wonder when the Master will tell me where it should go? I am sure it will happen some day – when “I am ready”…
What choices did you make today? Did they maintain the status quo or take you one tiny step closer to a change that you want to make in your life?