It’s the beginning of a New Year, and many of people are trying to change themselves and their habits. When people are really motivated, such change does work for a while. But if motivation falls away, people slip back into their old habits. New Year’s resolutions can get dropped into the background because they can’t fit into a busy life, which can make a person feel like a failure.
What is generally the root cause of this? There can be many reasons, but there are common themes present that we can help bring to the surface. The first concept to understand is the fundamental difference between change and transformation. Change (in this context) refers to implementing a small change in your life. Transformation is about altering your life to create an entirely new set of circumstances. Small changes over time can set the foundation to a transformation, and this article contains a brief outline of how to set yourself up for greater success in transformation.
With change, you can always change back. You can change your shoes, your clothes, your gym schedule, and your eating habits. However if the motivation wanes, then you can always revert to your previous habits. There is a pattern that was heavily established, but your New Year’s resolution brought to light your recognition that it is a habit not conducive to the lifestyle you want to live. What a lot of people really seek with their New Year’s resolution is in actuality: transformation. When the change doesn’t hold because it’s superficial and not delving into a deeper why-they-have-those-patterns-in-the-first-place, the person gets upset at themselves and marks their attempts (and ultimately themselves) as a failure. Many people internalize this failure and therefore stick harder to their original patterns that caused them to make the resolutions in the first place. The most common examples are diet and exercise regimens. Everyone knows they need to “eat better” or “exercise more”, but we slip into the habitual patterns that are unconscious and have evolved out of comfort – because it’s easy.
Transformation is not something benign that happens casually – it unfolds as beautifully as a lotus or flower blooming. Transformation is an accumulation of changes that happen over time, leading to a paradigm shift. The “settling in” of a paradigm shift will often feel like an “Ah-Ha” moment and things will finally “click into place”. A transformation is similar to a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. How does one metaphorically prepare themselves for the actual cocooning stage? There are several factors that help in the preparation of the “cocoon”. The structure of the cocoon begins with a self-realization that there are patterns in place that are holding you back. That awareness starts the process, and when you begin identifying these limitations you have set on yourself, you acknowledge the boundaries of the cocoon that you want to grow past. The steps and courses of actions you want to take help solidify the cocoon. The metamorphosis happens when the fuel of motivation encourages one to turn within and begin to change these patterns into something you grow beyond. Transformation is often a messy process, but when things finally solidify – it can be like a lightbulb going off in your head. When one grows beyond those old limitations and limiting beliefs, the butterfly no longer thinks of what it was like to be a caterpillar, and it cannot even fathom “changing back”. This brings about the “Ah-Ha” moment when one emerges from the cocoon.
Let’s break this process down. Awareness is generally going to be the first step whenever it comes to realizing unhealthy patterns. The problem is that our perspective of the world colors how we interact with it. Our perception is our reality, and sometimes the way we view ourselves or view our role in society can be problematic in our own healing as well as awareness. Today’s contemporary western culture promotes multi-tasking, which leads to a lack of conscious focus. It is hard for us to be fully present for something when our attention is split in many directions. This leads to a “superficiality” to some degree. While this can be good in some ways, we can easily get overwhelmed and thus fall back to the “easy” habits that are already strongly formed. Our society encourages change rather than transformation, and it can be hard to grasp that concept of understanding (especially if one is plugged into mainstream thinking). Once we become aware, we can begin to “heal” these aspects of ourselves so we can change and transform into who we want to become. I know this is a vastly abstract field of concepts for a lot of people, but here is a quote that summarizes energy healing and the power of awareness:
“Healing requires that we fundamentally change our story. That we change the life we are living. Those that have had miraculous healing have walked out of a life that logically resulted in that illness, and allowed it to change. For those that say they are willing to do anything to heal, but then they don’t get better – it’s because they don’t want to transform in order to change the relationship with their illness.” ~Christina Pratt
What this quote brings to light is our ability to see that everything builds on top of everything else. Say, for example, that someone is looking to change their diet. They know they should eat healthier things, but fast food is very easy to fit into their busy lifestyle. Everyone knows that fast food is full of a lot of not-good-for-you things, and we silently scold ourselves whenever we eat it. But the fact of the matter boils down to two things: time and convenience. A lot of people fall victim to that pattern because it’s comfortable, and they need to have some sort of food supplementation lest they fall over. They don’t prioritize how much their diet plays into their lifestyle and how much it affects their health. When such people make the resolution that they’re going to “eat healthier” for the new year, they might buy more groceries, create meal plans, and set aside time to cook. Unfortunately, if other things take priority besides their eating, then they ultimately begin sliding back to old habits of eating fast food or ordering take out because of time and convenience. They start to lose the value of cooking at home because the food that they bought frequently goes bad in the fridge and they get discouraged because they didn’t cook it in time. It becomes a downhill slide, and they lose the original reason why they made the resolution in the first place, because other priorities take precedence and they lose the value behind “starting the movement for change”.
Realizing that we fall victims to these patterns is the first step. The second step is finding the motivation in order to create transformation instead of change. When people develop these patterns, as in the quote above – they are establishing a relationship with their illness, or their challenge. By realizing the fact that they have the power to change the relationship, they need to first acknowledge that this relationship is problematic in the first place. If one’s relationship with food has become so unimportant that they’ve valued all of the other things in their life over it, then how can they tip the scales to increase their motivation?
It comes from their “Why”. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, I recommend a great book for you called “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. There is also a great TED talk here by the author of the book. Once a person finds their motivation, it is about connecting to your true life’s purpose, what you really want to do in life. Your “Why” can be really small, or it can be really big. For a long time, my “Why” was about being a good mother to my son, which meant focusing on getting out of survival mode, and finding a safe place for us to live with a consistent paycheck. Now my “Why” is bigger and incorporates myself being a healthy, functioning member of society so I can bring about my gifts in service to the community – and in turn supporting my life so I can be a better mother for my son.
If your “Why” is strong enough, it can power your motivations, to help you transform yourself instead of just making a change. The first step is always about awareness, to realize the fact that you have these unhealthy patterns. When you decide to cut these patterns out of your life, you leave a void there. What tips the scale is being able to replace the patterns that no longer serve you with patterns that move you closer to what you want to do. If someone wants to concretely change their lifestyle and “eat healthier,” then they will have to evaluate their overall relationship with food and their eating habits. Once they begin prioritizing and making time in their schedule for it, this starts the avalanche of transformation that happens when they commit to the changes they make in their life.
There is one final principle of change versus transformation. That is the concept of “You are what you attune to.” This goes back to patterns that we have laid out, which help lead up to our decisions to how we act and interact in this world.Taking diet as an example again… If I were to stick to my old lifestyle of pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion and thinking about food only when I start getting stomach pains, how does that serve me? I’m not prioritizing the fact that I want nutrition to be more important in my life. The process of transformation lies in changing the way you think and behave, and in placing yourself near more people/situations/events that help you focus more on what want to you attune to. In response to my dietary restrictions, I started hanging around other people who had those qualities similar to mine. They cared about their health and they fit their nutrition into their lifestyle. As I hung around those people more and more, my patterns began changing, and since my patterns were changing, it became easier to accomplish transformation instead of merely change. In seeking transformation, you may need to alter your environment to help facilitate your success.
The power of attunement is also tied in with the power of manifestation. The power of manifestation is also powered by a person’s “Why”. Say, for example, that a person feels empowered to start a business. If that person is also feeling down, desperate, and run into the ground because of their finances, they will tend to build their business out of desperation. They must reflect on what that is going to draw into their practice. Occasionally we must focus on getting out of “survival mode” and healing what has caused us to get into this mode before we can focus on something else like starting our own business. If you approach an endeavor with a strong “Why” instead of with solely a need for survival, others will start to see that you genuinely care because there’s something deeper under the surface, not just dollar signs on top. It is not until our basic needs are met (housing, food, security, etc) that we are able to interact with people in a healthier way and really call forth our “Why” to help us power our motivation.
When a person dreams of earning “the big bucks”, and drawing material things into their life, ask where this dream is coming from. Often when one fantasizes about having material objects, the why is based on of wants instead of on needs. When there is a focus on material possessions, that is generally feeding a superficial need for security because society implies that is what people “should have”. When we want too many material objects, that can actually rob from the collective. There are other people out there that don’t have homes, that don’t have cars, and that don’t have the health care they need in life. For me, it seems selfish to want to manifest a fancy car for myself when there are people that have to scrape change in order to use public transportation. This isn’t meant to be a sermon about “pity” for another person who doesn’t have something that you’re trying to manifest, because we are not here to judge people while they walk their own path. I’m only asking that your “Why” be about more than just personal gain.
There is a beautiful thing that happens when a person is able to discover their “Why”. When people connect their bodies with their mind, their spirit, and their heart, they’re able to give birth to the true essence of why they are here: to express their own unique genius. There is a story that is being told here for the first time, and that is the story of this spirit living in communion with this body, during this lifetime – the body of someone who is currently reading this blog post.
Once we uncover our own unique genius and realize that we bring something to the table that no one else can bring, we begin to build confidence within ourselves. When we begin to build that confidence, we find ways of expressing ourselves that fit into a bigger picture. I’m not here to meet the needs of other people. I am here to express this unique gift that I have come into this world to bring. In expressing that, that gift begins to meet the needs of other people.
The Earth is in need of medicine. I’m not talking about just the “hippie version” of the “big green earth”, but everything. The community, the people, the plants, the trees, the environment, all of it. The Earth is in need of medicine. And you are the medicine. We all are the medicine. And this Earth is going to pull this medicine out of us no matter what state we are in. So what medicine are you going to give the earth and the greater web of life? Are you going to sit on your couch watching TV and eating cookies? Or are you going to go out there, find a vehicle to express your life’s purpose, and find a community of people who are also doing the same thing?
We all have the power of choice. The choice is up to you. Be the medicine, not the disease.