“Change only takes place through action, not through meditation and prayer alone” – The Dalai Lama
A new year always brings hope of making small or even bigger changes in our lives, maybe changes we have been thinking about for some time, but haven’t had the energy or courage to really focus on during the months that have passed. We may be longing for a new job, or a new relationship, maybe we truly wish to have more quality time with our partners or family. It could be we want to get fitter, lose weight, or just simply take a little more care of ourselves.
For many, change can be scary or unsettling, dipping ones toes into the unknown can throw us out of our comfort zone and even fill us with fear. For others change is seen as an exciting adventure, something to embrace and actually trust in. Many of us are in fact creatures of habit, and although we long for areas of change in our lives, we stick with something we may not necessarily be happy with, simply because it has become our routine, an existence that we have actually accepted as being part of our life, it’s just the way it is.
Write a positive change list – At the beginning of each year, I actually like to take a moment to reflect on the year just gone, as well as creating a moment of positive focus on the year ahead. During a period of ‘quiet time’, I’ll put on some beautiful music, light some candles and simply meditate. This helps me become grounded, calm and peaceful, a beautiful and perfect state to be in, when you wish to make positive change within your life. After which, I will sit down and write a list of all the life changes I wish to make during the next 12 months ahead. Writing them down, for me, re-enforces not only my desire to make those things happen, but also helps me truly focus on the things that really matter.
Take positive action, small steps at a time – Two years ago I saw the Dalai Lama speak in London, it was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life. During his talk he spoke of how change can only come through positive action. Manifesting the changes we wish to see within ourselves, our lives or the world in which we live, can only come through each and everyone of us taking sole responsibility for those changes to occur. We cannot rely on areas of our lives to alter, if we simply think our desire, or our deep longing for something to happen, will in fact, make it happen. If you truly wish for change to occur in some area of your life, then you alone, need to find the courage to start acting upon that wish and take full responsibility for that change.
Face your fears and let go – Sometimes, inviting change into our life, actually means facing our fears. We may be too scared to leave a job we really hate, because we are fearful of not being able to find another one or pay our bills. We may be frightened to leave a unhealthy relationship behind us, as we are deeply fearful of being alone. So instead we choose to live in a bubble of happiness, because it’s easier to give in to our fears, fears that we have in fact created for ourselves inside our own little heads. What we have to acknowledge is, that in certain situations, the life we are actually hoping for, actually exists outside the edge of our comfort zone, and unless we have the courage to leap into the unknown, we become a victim of our own fears and subsequent unhappiness.
Imagine the happiness you wish to experience and feel it deep within your soul – I strongly believe that our own thoughts and actions have a huge affect on life that we experience. The sacred law of karmic return, or the law of cause and effect. If one is mindful of every thought and action one has, as well as keeping a positive mindset surrounding the type of life one wishes to experience, then one is actually inviting this type of experience into their own reality. This doesn’t mean to say, you won’t experience challenges, disappointment or sadness in your life, these things are always present to teach us, but keeping your mind focused on love, positivity and kindness, actually re-enforces the love, positivity and kindness that you will in turn experience within your own world. Positive thought creates positive action.
Share the changes you wish to create – Sitting down with friends or family and sharing details of the changes we wish to create in our lives can actually help us keep focused on the task ahead. It can also provide an unexpected support network of people, all of whom wish to encourage you to reach your goals. A few years ago I was really unhappy in my job, and I was desperate for a change. I was so unhappy, that every morning was literally filled with dread about the day ahead. It was a well paid and very secure job, one that I had been in for 13 years, and the thought of leaving actually filled me with fear and anxiety, but I was knew it was beginning to impact other areas of my life. Once I had told my friends how unhappy I was, I was overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I received. It felt as though I was no longer facing the dilemma alone, and I eventually found the courage to leave and search for a much happier existence.
Don’t Give Up – Change generally doesn’t happen over night, often it’s something that we have to continue to strive for. Even when the light may seem a very distant glimmer at the end of a long tunnel, don’t lose focus of that feeling of happiness you know you deserve. Re-visit the list of positive change you wrote. Go into meditation and ask yourself for guidance of how to can implement these changes. Spend some quality time with a positive person that you may know, someone who will inspire you to reconnect with your own desire to make the change at hand. Trust in yourself that you can succeed and remind yourself that it will happen when you have learned everything you need to from the experience.
Don’t hide behind excuses you create within your own mind, take complete responsibility – When we are anxious of making a change in our life, it’s very easy to hide behind excuses of why we believe we cannot change that situation. Instead of creating excuses of why you can’t do something, start to focus your attention of creating solutions to those challenges. An excuse, is often manifested in our heads as a direct result of an emotion, an emotion which is usually fear.
Trust in the fact that sometimes the journey is the lesson, not the change itself – Looking back at my own career change, it was, without a doubt, a very long, difficult and exceptionally challenging path (I wrote a post about it last year, as it had such an impact in my life). But on reflection, even though it was really hard at times, I can see that journey itself actually taught me a great deal about myself and my ability to let go and trust. The life lessons I learned from having the courage to truly acknowledge, that I was the only person in charge of my own happiness is a teaching I will always be grateful for.