Category Archives: Change

Reflecting About Decisions Made and Progress Earned

6362838763_79c4c03f53_zThis is a repost from Grace-WorkinProgress from Letting Go-Finding Hope through Al-Anon: “My story–A moment of reflection–I am not afraid”:

“In my mind I have been on my own forever. The loss of my mother naturally left me to emotionally fend for myself and the loss of my father emotionally left me with only the person in the mirror to be the judge, jury and executioner.

I became hard as nails being on my own at such an early age. I didn’t have much empathy for others or myself because of the hand I felt I had been dealt. Life reflected my insides by giving me one harsh reality after another. I lived life preparing for the worst and I got it. Just to reinforce my idea that life was unfair.When I was at my lowest I surrendered just like Step One states I was broken and my way wasn’t working. I had met the alcoholic of my dreams and later my nightmares. I had trusted another to be my God and we all know how that works out.The program gave me the means to identify how I participated in creating this nightmarish life. I did everything they told me to do and in the beginning went to every meeting I could find. The transformation was remarkable and in six months I was able to turn things over and not worry so much or be so hard on myself or other people.

After three years I met someone and we merged our lives and I got an opportunity to practice these principles in all my affairs. In my effort to keep from repeating my past I worked hard to stay autonomous.I was happy for awhile but something was missing in the relationship, I think is was me. I thought what I had learned was live and let live but I took it too far and fell back into the being isolated emotionally and picked someone that was the same. There was no vulnerability or even emotion of any kind. Hey it felt good to me after living with the emotional roller coaster of a life with active alcoholism.

I did everything I thought I was suppose to do. That is an important sentence. I didn’t get any feedback so I just did what seemed like the logical thing to do. You can live a long time together when two people are happy without emotion. I had only known pain most of my life so it felt pretty good to coast.

But it did finally run it’s course and there I was left to deal with only myself. I didn’t lose myself in another person, but the other person filled my life so I didn’t have to grow emotionally anymore.

I feel that I orchestrate change subliminally in my life. I drown out the voice of my spirit with busyness but eventually when I stop to catch my breath the dullness and lack of joy in my life comes to the surface and a dramatic change takes place.

This is happening to me now. The difference is that it feels good to me. It doesn’t feel like it is a mountain I will have to climb it just feels life freedom to move my life from dullness to joy.

My spirit is at the wheel. It has silenced the logical side that requires me to always prepare for the worst. I can feel that peace once again the peace I felt when I entered the program but this time it isn’t from trusting the old man in the sky it is from trusting spirit of God within me. The one that has been waiting for me to listen and the one that isn’t afraid.’

Change is Just a Decision

3788025319_c7eee935cb_zChanging your life only takes a single, simple decision. When our lives appear to be out of control, taking small positive new beginnings takes courage. Learn to focus on choosing new small beginnings.

The following quote is reprinted from a website that I can no longer access. If anyone knows the author’s name or new website, please email me. I believe wholeheartedly in what he is saying.

“You see, I believe we can get past this thing called alcoholism and addiction. We can get past it by taking advantage of every opportunity for abstaining that we encounter. For most people that includes a period of time in a 12 Step Program. If it’s not AA right off the bat, almost ALL Treatment Centers refer clients to the 12 step programs anyway. So if you haven’t done it already, go ahead, bite the bullet and put a little time into AA.

One thing you’ll learn there is what Not to do if you really want to stop drinking. You will have many, many opportunities to study people as they stumble through the obstacles they place before themselves on the way to sober living. There are tricks to not falling prey to self-destruction while learning to not drink, and it’s less painful to learn those lessons second hand. I learned a lot of them there.

The bottom line for everyone is that if you really want to get sober, you will get sober. It doesn’t matter what your gig is, it could be the fishing cure, church, a hot new babe, 12 steps, or plain hard assed self-preservation. When the nickel drops and you know what you need to do to get the job done,,,, go ahead and do it. And do it like you never did anything before, because getting sober takes all the passion you’ll ever have. Staying sober, it gets a lot easier after the first 10 or 15 years.”

I love reading and writers who know how to use words to make me feel something. I don’t live in my head any longer. Nor do I allow my feelings to dictate the direction for my life. I was reading through my favorite blogs today and came upon this: Ragamuffin Ramblings: Seeing what God can do..

What really got my attention was part of one of his sentences:”the blasting cap that started the implosion of my old life, and the beginning of new life out of the rubble of the old.” I never tire of reading about new beginnings that lead people to change their lives in radical ways. William James reported over 100 years ago that college students are particularly prone to spiritual conversion. He recounts 2 types of conversion experiences. One is the sudden, immediate conversion which is what I experienced. The other is a slow growth into the spiritual direction of God leading a conversion experiences.

Lewis Rambo has attributed seven characteristics to conversion experiences. “Conversions 1) take place within a given personal and social context, including the symbolic; 2) are catalyzed by a crisis, which can assume many guises; 3) involve an active search or quest for an answer, provided the potential convert is intellectually, emotionally and religiously ready; and 4) are mediated by an encounter with an advocate for a particular resolution, whose strategy and methods must match the needs of the potential convert. Conversions also require 5) interaction with the community of faith and result in both 6) a commitment to the new faith in the form of experienced surrender to it and 7) significant personal consequences through the exercise of it.”

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If You Want to Change a Habit, Use Reframing

I.  Want to Lose Weight? Go on a Word Diet! by Karen Salmansohn:

Are you happy with your weight right now? If not, I recommend using this new vocabulary menu served up below.

1. I banned the word diet completely and renamed my actions as “do-it.” I wanted to ingrain into my brain that I was really going to do it – lose this weight!

2. I “appreci-eat” my food. This word is all about slowing down how you eat, which allows you to taste and appreciate food more, which leads you to eating less.

3. I now label foods as “forward” and “backward.”Every food I choose to eat helps me become more conscious of how it either moves me forward to my fab weight or backward to my flab weight.

4. I’ve relabeled my eating habits as “the old me” and “the new me.” All your habits in life come from your identity. If you think, “I always overeat late at night,” guess what? You do! If you think, “The old me used to overeat late at night, but the new me can resist pigging out – even on chocolate,” guess what? The new you will be very much going forward to a fab weight, instead of backward to your flab weight.

5. I swapped mere tiny willpower for “wall-power!”Nothing is able to break through my wall of commitment!

6. I began talking more about ways to “increase my appetite for life.”  After all, if you want to be a slim, healthy person, it’s essential you swap the pleasure of food with life’s multitudinous other delights. If you want to lose weight, you must make sure your appetite for life is far bigger than your appetite for merefood. How do you increase your appetite for life? Stop allowing yourself to focus on depressing life circumstances — including focusing on being depressed about your weight. All this negative focus will only lead you to feeling bummed and wanting to pig out. Instead, consciously focus on happy life circumstances you enjoy doing, and create more of them! Swap chips and salsa for salsa classes! Stop eating cake, and start painting fruit baskets! Recognize how the joy of taking photos lasts longer than the joy of ice cream!

7. I recognize when I’m “do-it-ing” to become my slimmest, I’m not merely looking to create “a better number on my scale.” I’m looking to permanently adjust my “masochistic equilibrium level.” What’s this and how does it work? Well, it’s as if each of us grew up feeling comfy with a certain level of happiness. When this happiness concentration shifts, even if it’s upward to feeling incredible big happiness, then a lot of us feel twitchy and overeat, thereby raising our weight upward so as to lower our self-love, so as to lower our happiness, which reverts us to our familiar “masochistic equilibrium level” leftover from childhood. Basically, if you want to get and stay at your slimmest weight, you must be ready to throw out these old childhood emotional  leftovers. When you’re truly ready to be happy in life, then you’re truly ready to be happy about your weight.

II. “What are You Waiting For” by Carolyn Rubinstein:

The action itself is not what we fear – it is our thoughts that are restraining. Break free from those thoughts and move towards action. Soon enough, small steps will become the equivalent of a giant leap toward the creative, the passionate, the driven, and the anew. Use these four steps to aid yourself in the process of revitalization.

1. Ask yourself tough questions. What is the cost of inaction? Create a “why not?” list and ask yourself if the benefits outweigh these negative thoughts. Think about the consequences of the status quo internally and externally.

2. Accept rational accountability. Decide to change your inaction and make yourself accountable for both your actions and inaction. I grew up learning that there are actions of commission and acts of omission. We are equally responsible for what we do and don’t do.

3. Follow your own advice.If a friend were in the same scenario, what advice would you give him or her? Taking a step back from the problem or scenario might help you gain objectivity. Sometimes being too entrenched can cloud our judgment.

4. Always listen to your intuition.Do a gut check and gauge what the heart and mind can’t. Remember that this requires little thinking… What’s your first reaction? How do you viscerally respond to what’s going on? If you have strong feelings, listen to them.

The bold action that you take doesn’t have to be anything grandiose; it can merely be a step away from ambivalence and inactivity. We may not always get our decisions “right,” but there is something both beautiful and powerful about taking action. What are you waiting for?

Are you stuck in a comfort zone? Or have you successfully overcome the strong magnetic pull of this place of inaction? Share your thoughts, questions, or sage advice below. (If you don’t typically leave comments, begin taking bold action by starting today!)

III. Jill Chivers writing for Illuminated Mind. Net posted “Three Ways to Deal With Difficult Emotions“:

The following excerpt is taken from her third way–transforming the emotions:

“a) Labelling — putting a label on the emotion. This works best when you are succinct — if you talk too much about or enter into a dialogue with your emotions, it tends to increase the level of painful emotions you experience. So short is better – sit with the emotion for a moment, give it a label, let it go. I was a conference call the other day and found myself getting agitated by what someone was saying. Instead of pushing that emotion down or trying to ignore it, I gave it a few seconds of attention, asking myself what is this emotion? When I found it – annoyed – I did a quick label “I’m feeling annoyed” then let it go – so much easier to do after I’d quickly labelled it. The other thing that works well with labelling is using a metaphor – “this emotion is like….” I’ve used this approach in corporate workshops for years and I can tell you it works. We did an exercise where we used metaphor cards to help identify emotions. This emotion is like a herd of zebras – there’s dark and light here. Or this emotion is like a garden path – it’s taking me somewhere. It doesn’t have to make logical sense (metaphors often don’t); your unconscious knows how it folds together. This is not a process you need to share – it is largely an internal process.”

“(b) Reframingputting a different interpretation onto the same set of circumstances (or “facts”). This is an effective “braking” mechanism – it puts the kybosh on your strong emotional pain in smart order. It’s a version of Shakespeare’s tenet that “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so”. How you sort and ‘file’ the event makes all the difference in the world to how you feel about it and how it affects you. You can label it horrible, bad, terrible….. Or you can print out a different label like “useful” or “I learned something important” or “the upside to this was…”. Even if you’re not sure if this possible or that there’ll be a single answer to those questions, try it. You’ll be amazed at how your unconscious will deliver an answer to you, if you only ask, be still, don’t judge and listen.”

“WARNING: Reframing painful events takes effort! Rock calls it “metabolically expensive”. That means you have to effectively delete the original scene and re-direct/script it into a better-serving scene. This is akin to a director re-shooting, re-editing (maybe even re-casting) and re-shaping the scene in a movie. Reframing takes time and energy but it is worth it because it is so powerful. The good news? The more you practice, the better you get at it and the easier it becomes. And the quicker you muscle in those poorly filed memories, the easier it is to reframe them in a way that helps you more effectively deal with that crazy thing called life.”

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