August 14, 2013 at 8:04 am #40411
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Dan Millman
I came across this quote as I was checking my freewill astrology horoscope by Rob Brezsny. I know I am dreamy and all, looking at the stars for my fate : ). Actually his horoscopes provide lots of wisdom and meaning filled riddles. The quote really made me think about my long process of transformation. During this state of transition have I been focusing my energy on fighting the old? I wasn’t exactly sure. I think most of my energy has been spent doing that. So my question now is how do I build the new? How do I focus on the new, especially when it isn’t here yet? Is there really a secret or science to change? Also how do you handle that uncertain period of transition that squeezes every single drop of patience from your very being? Please feel free to give your own experiences with personal change and transformation and the ways in which you focus on building the new.
Thanks for your insight!
August 14, 2013 at 8:55 am #40419kayaParticipant
- This topic was modified 10 years, 6 months ago by Zenhen.
Hi Zenhen 🙂
I am going through the same thing–in fact, I am really learning a lot about myself through astrology, and it has been amazing! It is incredibly helpful for me and has allowed me to look at myself from a completely different perspective. The past couple of months have been extremely challenging as I have been going through a lot of changes, and learning to find my true self while letting go of old belief patterns that were limiting me in the past. It has been an intense roller coaster but I am working my way through it. I find myself beating myself up a lot for things I did in the past and have a lot of regrets. For many years I struggled with depression and anxiety and did a lot of self destructive things. My ego mind likes to remind me of this quite often and it can be very frustrating. When I think of the quote about the secret of change–I interpret it as focusing on who you want to be, or how you want to see yourself, and working toward that, rather than fighting your old ways/thought patterns and beliefs. For me, I have been focusing on where I would like to see myself a year from now–even a month from now. I try to envision where I want to be, how I would like to feel, and try to focus all of my energy on creating that, rather than thinking about the past and beating myself up. There is another quote I like that says : “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are”–unknown.
This transition has been really challenging for me but one thing I find that has been helping is to just have faith in myself, and believe that I can create a better future. I really believe that we create our own realities and can do anything we put our minds to. For the longest time I couldn’t see this, and my old belief patterns didn’t help. I am still struggling to let them go but it is getting a little easier with time. I have really been learning the importance of patience, because I tend to be very impatient by nature. Sometimes I feel that I will be stuck in this transition phase forever, because it feels like it will never end, and has been very painful. That’s when having faith helps me. I know that this won’t last forever and that it is happening for a reason. Hang in there, I hope you find everything you are looking for!
🙂 KayaAugust 14, 2013 at 9:20 am #40428
Thanks for sharing your experience! I am glad you decided to make changes. From your post I can tell you have moved far from the depression/anxious state of mind. I can see your hope and your determination. Way to go!
These words really stuck with me: “Sometimes I feel that I will be stuck in this transition phase forever, because it feels like it will never end, and has been very painful.”
I am highly impatient and really I have learned not to fight it but just laugh at it. I am finally getting professional help with healing from past abuse and my therapist told me to slowwwww down. Not everything has solutions or can be solved. I just wanted answers, fixes, solutions. I didn’t want to dive deep into the gray, into the unknown. I am learning to enjoy, who am I kidding, tolerate this transition. Because I have tried to rush the process, I have only delayed myself more. It’s kinda like when you rush in the morning because you woke up late and you end up spilling the coffee on yourself, then you have to change your clothes or you drive fast just to be stuck in traffic. I realized the reason I didn’t like waiting or being patient is because I am a doer. Patience is passive. I needed action, I needed to see something happening now. But like all of creation, it happens in the dark. Such as is the case with conception. Sperm meets egg in the dark. During these changes we are like an embryo in a dark womb. With time we will and can give birth to our new selves. In the meantime, lets just celebrate all of the small developments along the way!
ZenhenAugust 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm #40471DonnaParticipant
Zenhen and kaya: I can relate to what you are feeling–that impatience. I think in our society we are so conditioned to always be doing and achieving. Taking time to just sit and look within is not valued. You cannot change if you are constantly trying to advance, get somewhere, get better. If you are thinking–what do I need to do next to be the person I want to be next year, you will be caught in the anxiety of the future rather than the peace and clarity of the present. Change really only comes when you truly accept who you are RIGHT NOW. Then open yourself and allow the transformation to happen.
Actually we are always transforming and changing but we only really notice it when we feel uncomfortable. The key is to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable and love and honor yourself as you are today. Living in this state of awareness, peace and love you will be open to receiving insights and inspiration and you will naturally make the choices that are right for you, spontaneously, moment to moment. Remember that you are a wonderful, unique human being and there is nowhere to go, nothing to do. LOVE YOURSELF, BE AWARE, BE OPEN, TRUST.August 14, 2013 at 6:02 pm #40472MattParticipant
I love your question! What is the secret to change? Its actually kind of funny! The “fighting the old” makes perfect sense to me because pain inspires action. Growth does take time, however, and accepting that let’s us do something with our impatience.
For example, impatience is just agitation, ripples in the mind that are painful. Instead of not doing anything with them, we can feel how impatience hurts, and focus our will on repentance. “I’m sorry for being impatient with you mind and body, I will try to move away from that.” Then we can do some self nurturing (metta works well in my experience). The agitation settles, and is less likely to return.
With codependent patterns it is the same. They cause ripples in the mind which are painful. So when we catch one, we offer our repentance “I’m genuinely sorry for whatever harm was caused by my ignorance, and promise to be more gentle with myself and others.” Then move into a self nurturing activity.
The same is true if we burn our hand on the stove. “I’m sorry body for being mindless and causing a burn, I promise to be more careful in the future.” Then we self-nurture, by making space around the burn so it doesn’t become more agitated. Pressure just makes it hurt more, so we know to give it space to heal.
So in some ways, fighting the past is silly, and in others, there is real information and motivation there to become more skillful. What we can’t rush is the healing… either of the hand from a burn or the mind of a pattern. We can only be gentle with ourselves, keep applying the salve and let it heal on its own.
MattAugust 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm #40557
“impatience is just agitation, ripples in the mind that are painful.”
I never thought of impatience that way. In some ways I felt prideful that I was an impatient person. That meant I was a go-getter, doer, action taker, etc. Works well in the work realm. However, I realize I need to acquire patience, especially in my spiritual practices. The old does act like a fuel at times. I just have to be careful not to obsess about it. Acknowledge the old but focus on the now and where I want to be (without obsessing about the future either). Such a fine balance.
In regards to self nurturing and the salve, I really need to learn how to do this more. It feels odd or different or even wrong at times. Ironically, I love nurturing others but find it difficult to do the same for myself. I fret over others, remind others of appointments, inquire about their new activities, offer help, guidance, food, etc. At times, I want someone to just take care of me and nurture me too but I realize I really need to do this for myself.
Thanks for your insight Matt!
ZenhenAugust 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm #40558
“The key is to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable…there is nowhere to go, nothing to do”
I am slowly getting comfortable with discomfort. I am doing it with my body first, hoping that it will translate over to my mind. For example, I get cold frequently and I normally keep a light cardigan in my office or turn a space heater on. Now I have been waiting to turn the heat on or to put on a cardigan until I can’t bear it anymore. Slowly my body adapts. Our society is highly uncomfortable with being uncomfortable. The moment we feel pain, sadness, or anything else unpleasant there is something to numb it or make it go away. This transition at times has been very uncomfortable but it is exciting too. At times, the excitement turns into anxiety because I do fret about what next or what now or I was supposed to do this, etc. Now I am learning to just do what I can and to not come undone by the things that are left undone. Sunday I slept a little later than usual and I immediately felt guilty. How unproductive! But then I laughed it off because no one was expecting anything from me that day except for me. My expectations are all self imposed.
I am learning to trust! Paradoxically, I feel like I can trust more the deeper I go. Even though nothing is planned out or can be seen, I know deep down, it’s alright!
Thanks for the insight and inspiration!
ZenhenAugust 15, 2013 at 10:42 pm #40595kayaParticipant
I also want to thank everyone for their insight, I have been practicing being comfortable with the uncomfortable. It was a really big challenge for me today, I have been feeling severely depressed and anxious. I spent the day in Santa Cruz (Ca), by the ocean and it was so beautiful. At first I felt frustrated because I was in such a gorgeous place, and all I could feel was discomfort because of thoughts and emotions that kept arising, but instead of trying to fight them off, I let them be there (without trying to attach myself to them). I have heard that the more you fight away anxiety and depression, the more they persist. I am really working on being patient, because I do feel so miserable and just want to feel better, but I know it’s a process and I have to accept that. I just keep trying to focus on being in the present moment, especially when it’s uncomfortable.
Zenhen, I completely know what you mean about learning to nurture yourself. I’m the same way–it is easy for me to nurture others and I am really learning to nurture myself, and become my own best friend. I wish you good luck with your journey!