Lasting Change

There have only been a few times in my life when I knew that some change I'd made was a true and lasting one. One was when I decided to go back to school at the age of 35 to earn a degree in music. The giveaway is when I hear myself thinking, "I'm dead bored with myself. I need a serious change."...
You see, I'm one of those people who think one is bored only when one is boring; the world is teaming with things to learn and experience, and it takes a really boring person not to see it.

The first time one of these life changes came upon me, I was just 23 and in an unhappy marriage with a man who, among other things, deliberately tried to keep me apart from my personal creative expression. One night while sampling some homemade wine at a friend's house, I started bemoaning my fate. With two small children and no real job skills I was understandably scared and didn't know what to do. I felt trapped. I didn't talk about my private life with other people, but that night, with help from the wine, I confided in my friend. His reply surprised and even hurt me a little.

"When you're tired of it enough, you'll change."

At the peak of my youthful self-sensitivity, I interpreted this as a scolding, but now that I'm older I know that he was giving me a gem of wisdom. And he was right. Within a year I realized I had the right to decide for myself. Because I was an active church-goer in those days, getting a divorce had never been a possibility. At last, I realized that I actually had a choice whether to leave or stay. It was one of those epiphanal realizations for me. "You mean I have a choice?" My programming really was that extensive.

I've felt this latest change coming for a long time. Years, perhaps. I've even struggled against it from time-to-time, but this time I've embraced it with all the fervor and determination I'm capable of. I know it's one of the "real" changes, one that will both challenge and color every facet of my future. But this change is internal rather than situational.

I've simply decided to be positive. To stop focusing on my various illnesses, disappointments, anxieties, and misdeeds enacted on my by other people. I'm practicing gratitude, and when I hear a negative thought flash through my mind, I counter it with three positives, three times. As an example, one night I heard a fear script in my head so I closed my eyes and thought about what I'd rather be feeling.

"Confidence, courage, and understanding.
Confidence, courage, and understanding.
Confidence, courage, and understanding."

I'm taking responsibility for my own happiness and am dealing with the bad mental habits I've developed. I'm already seeing results and it's already easier than it was a week ago, because I'm learning that being happy just feels better. Being healthy feels better. Being positive feels better. Focusing on the good feels better. Speaking positively feels better. I'm also letting people off the hook and I'm dropping all the expectations. I'm practicing the Art of Allowing.

See that ugly, thorny, fetid piece of crap over there? That's the chip I've carried on my shoulder for so many years. I feel much lighter without it and life is much more beautiful now that I'm no longer struggling beneath its weight.